US Soccer: CHICAGO (June 11, 2019) – U.S. Men’s National Team defender Tyler Adams has been forced to withdraw from the roster for the 2019 Gold Cup due to injury. Following further evaluation in New York City, the 20-year-old has been diagnosed with acute on chronic groin issues that will require a minimum of 6-8 weeks recovery period.
Well this sucks. No two ways about it. Tyler Adams is the best player* the US Men’s National Team has right now (*yes, better than Pulisic). Him not being at the Gold Cup is a significant loss that makes the US far less dynamic.
We’ve already seen how un-creative and un-dynamic the USMNT is when Adams, Pulisic, and Weston McKennie aren’t in the lineup. That’s now set to continue, to some degree, at the Gold Cup.
As is the case in international soccer, when a door closes for someone it opens for someone else. In this case that someone else is two people, Nick Lima and coach Gregg Berhalter.
Lima will now have a chance to win the job outright and Berhalter will get the chance to correct a mistake that he’s desperately trying to make.
Since taking over as manager of the national team, Berhalter has been dead set on playing Tyler Adams at right back. Not because Adams is the best right back the US has but because Adams has the versatility to do it.
With Adams going down, Lima will have the chance to win the right back position going forward. If he does that, Berhalter can then move Adams back to his natural center midfield position eliminating the need to play either Will Trapp or Michael Bradley.
Lima has been fine but unspectacular in his few appearances under Berhalter. The thing is, if you replace Trapp or Bradley with Adams in midfield, the dynamism the US has down the middle will give them the freedom to have a fine but unspectacular right back.
Maybe Berhalter will see this. I won’t get my hopes up about it though. The more likely scenario is Lima plays out of his mind this summer and then Berhalter replaces him with Adams the first chance he gets.