One week after seeing a fellow Homegrown make his MLS debut, 17-year-old Tyler Adams got his shot.
Starting in a lineup that featured three Homegrown players, Adams impressed in a big way despite the final result.
Following an impressive 2015 season at the USL level, the Wappingers Falls, N.Y., native made the jump to the first team ahead of the current campaign. And on Wednesday night, Adams replaced captain Dax McCarty in a New York Red Bulls lineup that saw heavy squad rotation.
Even in a losing effort, head coach Jesse Marsch was impressed with his young midfielder’s composure and ability in his biggest test to date.
“He really grew into the game,” Marsch told reporters on Friday afternoon. “By end of half, he looked really good, really comfortable. We all believe in him in such a big way, and for me to make the decision to put him into a game where we needed a result says a lot.”
At such a young age, it would be understandable for the moment to overwhelm a player being thrust into a major spot. But Adams handled himself admirably, even if he did have to shake off some early nerves.
"Jesse told me on [Monday] that I would be starting so I got a little nervous,” he admitted. “But the nerves got through after the whistle blew.
"It was amazing to get the start obviously, for my first appearance and debut but more than anything it was a great atmosphere to play in in San Jose. Great facilities, but obviously its unfortunate to not get the win."
Finding themselves down at the half, Marsch elected to deploy a more experienced midfield into the match as the Red Bulls were forced to chase the game. The head coach later admitted that had the score remained level, he would have preferred to leave Adams in the match.
“I actually felt like, as the half went on, he really got himself going,” Marsch stated. “But we felt like we needed to make a couple changes at the half to really inject some guys who we thought could help the game so that was the decision that got made.”
With New York Red Bulls II also playing at the weekend, there was speculation as to whether or not he would return home to take part in the USL fixture. However, Marsch revealed that Adams would remain with the first team, and insisted that—despite his age—he will continue to have a role to play throughout the season.
“Tyler has a really bright future,” Marsch added. “It’s important for him to get some of these experiences under his belt so that he can continue to progress.”
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