RB Leipzig’s Tyler Adams (top) eludes Stuttgart’s Andreas Beck before setting up teammate Yussuf Poulsen’s second goal. (EFE/Andreas Schaad)
Two days after celebrating his 20th birthday, RB Leipzig and U.S. men’s national team midfielder Tyler Adams picked up his first Bundesliga assist Saturday in a 3-1 win at Stuttgart.
The former New York Red Bulls standout was making just his fourth start in Germany since officially moving from the MLS club in December. Adams’ helper came in the 74th minute, on a strike that gave the visitors a two-goal cushion and effectively sealed the impressive away win.
Adams started the play when he won the ball deep in his own half and played a quick give-and-go with Leipzig left back Marcel Halstenberg. After turning upfield, Adams skipped over a desperate tackle from Alex Beck before playing a perfectly weighted, no-look through-ball for Danish striker Yussuf Poulsen. With a defender draped on his back, Poulsen slotted home his second goal of the game past Stuttgart goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler with the inside of his right foot:
Known mostly for his range and tireless running as a defensive midfielder, Adams has been working on his attacking game over the last two seasons. He almost doubled his assist count between the 2017 and ’18 MLS seasons, setting up seven New York goals last season, three more than the year before.
“Offensively I do feel that I need to improve,” Adams told Yahoo Sports in an exclusive interview last September, just days before his first international goal for the United States, a game-winner in a friendly match versus rival Mexico. “I feel that’s starting to click for me this year, finding that final pass and being a bit sharper in certain parts of the field.”
It remains to be seen if Adams’ performance will help the Wappingers Falls, New York, native keep his place in manager Ralf Rangnick’s lineup. The Bundesliga’s fourth-place team won’t play again for nine days, when it takes on Hoffenheim Feb. 25. Adams has started four of six games for Rangnick’s side since his arrival in Germany. He came off the bench for the final minute of last week’s scoreless draw against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Weston McKennie, Josh Sargent also make an impact
Adams wasn’t the only American making things happen in the Bundesliga on Saturday. Fellow 20-year-old Weston McKennie went 90 minutes — at right back no less — to help Schalke to a scoreless draw against Freiburg. Schalke played more than half the match down a man after Suat Serder was shown a red card for a gruesome 42nd-minute challenge. Freiburg’s Christian Gunter was sent off in second-half stoppage time after picking up a second yellow.
And Josh Sargent drew the free kick that resulted in Werder Bremen’s crazy-late equalizer — the goal came six minutes into stoppage time — away against Hertha Berlin. Not bad for a guy who won’t turn 19 until next week.
Doug McIntyre covers soccer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.
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