Tyler Adams celebrates his first international goal. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tyler Adams scored his first international goal, connecting in the 72nd minute to lift the United States to a 1-0 victory over archrival and 10-man Mexico at LP Stadium Tuesday night.
The Americans are unbeaten in 12 consecutive friendlies against Mexico since a loss in San Diego September 1999.
“We wanted to show our character and pride for the country, and we went out there and battled at times,” Adams said. “Maybe at the beginning the soccer wasn’t there completely, it got a little chippy at times, but we handled ourselves well.”
Under the direction of interim head coach Dave Sarachan, the U.S. deployed yet another young lineup in the Fall Kickoff Series. In fact, with an average of 23 years, 5 days, the Starting XI was the youngest the USMNT has put out against Mexico in the modern era (1990-present). The next youngest lineup against El Trí in that timespan came on March 12, 1991, a 2-2 draw in Los Angeles (23 years, 289 days).
Playing with a man advantage, Antonee Robinson penetrated deep into the El Tri on the left flank and fed an Adams as the 19-year-old Red Bulls midfielder powered a shot from the middle of the penalty area.
The Wappingers Fall, N.Y. native made a 35-yard through the middle of the field to get into position for Robinson’s pass.
“I just saw the defenders dropping really deep toward the goal so I cut it back across so hopefully someone could get on the end of it, and thankfully Tyler did,” Robinson said. “And it was a really great finish.
It was a perfect feed to Adams.
“So watching it was like in slo-mo, the ball just came to me and I was able to finish it,” he said.
Adams, 19, is expected to be transferred from the Red Bulls to RB Leipzig after the Major League Soccer season.
“He’s a winner this kid, and I think I’ve been really pleased in terms of his growth with the ball in tight spots,” Sarachan said. “We know that he can run and cover ground and win tackles and compete. But at the next level now can you do the next part? And that’s have a presence with the ball and picking your spots so it just keeps getting better.”
El Tri played the final 23 minutes a player short after Ángel Zaldívar was red carded for a studs-up foul on U.S. captain and midfielder Wil Trapp.
Goalkeeper Zach Steffen recorded the clean sheet.
Adams, who has seven caps to his credit, began with the Red Bulls Regional Development School as an Under-12 player. In 2015 he became the first player to progress from RDS through the Red Bulls Academy system to a professional contract, signing with NYRB II at 16. Adams has made 66 appearances for the Red Bulls across all competitions, with three goals and four assists.
Alongside Adams, Red Bulls Academy products Matt Miazga (Chelsea FC/Nantes) and Timothy Weah (Paris Saint-Germain) were also in the USMNT Starting XI. Current Red Bull Tim Parker was on the bench for the match, while Aaron Long was also called into camp for the USMNT.
The U.S. improved its record against Mexico to 19-34-15 and leads the series since 2000 with a 14-7-6 mark.
Midfielder Weston McKennie exited the match in the 40th minute with a left knee sprain.
The USMNT will continue to test itself against top international sides with a pair of Kickoff Series matches next month. The USA will host Colombia on Thursday, Oct. 11 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. (7:30 p.m. ET; FS1, UniMas, UDN), and follow that up with a match against Peru on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. (7:30 p.m. ET; ESPN2, UniMas, UDN).