USMNT’s Tyler Adams ‘ready to go’ against Mexico, says Gregg Berhalter
United States Men’s National Team manager Gregg Berhalter said midfielder Tyler Adams was “recovered and ready to go” for the CONCACAF Nations League final against Mexico on Sunday after s ‘recovering from a back injury.
Adams missed RB Leipzig’s last three league games of the Bundesliga season, as well as DFB Pokal’s final loss to Borussia Dortmund due to illness. He also didn’t see the pitch in Team USA’s friendly loss to Switzerland, nor in Thursday’s 1-0 victory over Honduras in the Nations League semi-finals.
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Berhalter previously said Adams is making progress, but now it looks like he’s healthy enough to see the pitch.
“[Adams] is recovered and ready to play, so for us it is a question of whether he will start the game or not, “said Berhalter.
The United States missed Adams’ reach and tackle against Honduras, but Berhalter offered a defense of his midfielder, saying the problems the United States had in transition against Los Catrachos went further than who was in the field.
“You would tend to say what you want [Adams] on the pitch, but I think the shortcomings were not due to the staff, “he said.” I think it was due to the structure, really. When you think of some of our attacks, some of our positions and some movements, we have been unbalanced. And it’s not just Tyler’s presence that will solve anything. It’s that we have to be better balanced as a team. “
The game against Honduras was a kind of baptism for players like Joshua Sargent and Giovanni Reyna as it was their first competitive game against a CONCACAF opponent at the senior level. Defenseman John Brooks, a veteran of such games, said there was not much he could tell his teammates in terms of preparation.
“I think talking about it is different from actually playing against teams like that,” he said. “After the game against Honduras, now I think everyone knows what it’s like to play against teams like that. It will never be easy. Every game is a battle. And that was the case against Honduras. All that matters is we won the game and we’re in the final against Mexico now we’re ready to go. “
Herculez Gomez reacts to the United States’ 1-0 victory over Honduras in the CONCACAF Nations League semi-final.
For his part, Mexican coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino said his team’s experience will be a key factor in the final in Denver. The Mexican team is on average 28 years old, 89 days old and 40 caps, while the US team has an average age of 23 years, 336 days and 18 caps.
“It will depend on which team can impose its game, we will do it our way, with experienced players who know how to handle these matches,” said Martino. “The United States will have its speed and its youth, and we hope to play a game that works in our favor.”
Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, whose heroism on penalties saved El Tri against Costa Rica in Thursday’s other semi-final after 90 minutes without a goal, said the team never wanted to lose to the United States.
“It’s the Classic in the region, it’s always a high intensity game, “said the Club America goalkeeper.” It’s a rivalry with quality players on both sides. “
Martino was also asked again about Mexico’s struggles as a striker amid Raul Jimenez’s absence since suffering a skull fracture in November and the exclusion of Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez from the ‘team.
“I think it is disrespectful to say that we have no [striker], we have two here [in Alan Pulido and Henry Martin]”said Martino.
On the anti-gay chant that briefly interrupted the game against Costa Rica in stoppage time with several fans ejected from the stadium, Martino and Ochoa asked fans to refrain from using it in Sunday’s game.
“It doesn’t help us,” Ochoa said. “The fans should encourage the players but also respect their rivals.”