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Film room: What makes Tyler Adams so special

He’s the real deal.

Portugal vs USA - International Friendly Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Even though the United States did not qualify for the World Cup this summer, there’s a certain player who leaves up with a lot of optimism about the future. I know what you’re thinking...I’m talking about Christian Pulisic or Weston McKinnie, right? Nope. The player I’m talking about is the young midfielder for the New York Red Bulls, Tyler Adams.

Adams has burst onto the international scene after already having a lot of success with the Red Bulls in the MLS. The 19-year-old has played for the U.S. U-17s and U-20s, featuring in every match for the United States at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup and last year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup. He made his senior international debut in a friendly against Portugal in November. Most recently, he played a crucial role in the USMNT’s win over Paraguay last month, winning a penalty after making a surging run.

As the popular saying goes, it doesn’t matter how old you are...if you got it, you got it. Already by age 19, Adams has shown he can do it all on the field, even being a leader for both club and country. Here are some examples.

First, let's take a look at his passing. He’s a player who can pick out a pass from anywhere as well as control the game with the tempo of passing. Check out this pass:

Adams shows us two very good things here. First, look at how he fits the pass through four defenders, splitting two of them with pure precision. The pass by itself is crazy, but his work ethic is also demonstrated here. After he makes one of the best passes of the year, he makes a 50-yard dead sprint to follow the play. In one play you can see his passing and his work ethic on display.

Although this cross does not turn into anything, it shows the vision Adams has. He is able to pick out a player all the way across the box, a pass no one saw coming. It’s a shame it turned into nothing.

Now, let’s take a look at his finishing. Scoring two goals last season for the Red Bulls, we learned that he does not get the chance to score too often, but he has a clinical finish when the opportunity arises. Take a look at this beauty of a goal. His touch sets him up perfectly. Not many would attempt a touch like that at that moment, choosing instead to one time their hit. Adams does well, creates the space and slots the ball to the far post.

Now, the last thing that needs to be said about Adams is his game IQ, Below is a the penalty he drew last month during the USMNT’s win against Paraguay. The pass he received was delightful, but notice how Adams sees the space beforehand and makes the run allowing for the pass and giving himself a scoring opportunity. When you watch Adams you see a very smart player.

Another thing Adams does all the time is intercept passes and break up plays. Here he reads the game perfectly and breaks up the attack, triggering an attack of his own. His ability to read the game sets him up for success. He is a nuisance in the midfield.

Bottom line, Tyler Adams has all the skills a player should have. He is very well rounded and versatile, but what sets himself apart from the rest are the intangibles: his work ethic and the way he reads the game. He’s a smart player, a leader, and a player that at the age of 19, will be able to lead both the Red Bulls and the USMNT for years to come.