Tyler Adams Scores 1st Goal to Give US 1-0 Win Over Mexico
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Americans is testing young players to get the United States back to the World Cup in 2022. Tyler Adams, Antonee Robinson and goalkeeper Zack Steffen are giving glimpses they might be able to help.
Adams scored his first international goal, four minutes after Angel Zaldivar was ejected for a studs-up tackle, and the United States rebounded from a poor first half for a 1-0 victory over Mexico on Tuesday night, the Americans' first win over their rival in three years.
"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.
Adams, a 19-year-old who made his national team debut last November, scored after Kellyn Acosta passed to a sprinting Antonee Robinson on the left flank. Robinson crossed for Adams, who one-timed the ball from the penalty spot past goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez, who played his first match for El Tri at age 28.
"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," U.S. interim coach Dave 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."
The left-footed Robinson, burned by Douglas Costa with a cross that led to Brazil's opening goal in a 2-0 loss Friday, had replaced right-footed Eric Lichaj at left back in the 56th minute.
"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.
Adams called Robinson's cross good timing with the ball trickling right to him.
"So watching it was like in slo-mo, the ball just came to me and I was able to finish it," Adams said.
Mexico played a man short after Zaldivar took down U.S. captain Wil Trapp in the 67th minute, and the U.S. immediately surged in its attack.
U.S. midfielder Weston McKennie was replaced in the 40th minute after what appeared to be a non-contact injury to his left knee. McKennie will have a scan Wednesday.
The U.S. now has three wins, two losses and three draws under Sarachan, who took over last October after Bruce Arena quit when the Americans failed to qualify for the World Cup. New general manager Earnie Stewart plans to announce a permanent coach later this year.
The Americans had two losses and a tie in their previous three matches against Mexico, including a home defeat and a road draw in World Cup qualifying. Sarachan liked how his team kept their composure.
"This was a group that wasn't going to lose tonight, and I couldn't be more proud," Sarachan said.
Since opening the World Cup with wins over defending champion Germany and South Korea, Mexico has lost four straight games for the first time since 2001. Losses to Sweden and Brazil and the World Cup were followed by an exhibition defeat to Uruguay, with El Tri outscored 10-1 over the four matches.
There were few chances in the first half, when both teams showed little creative flair.
The match between the regional rivals became heated in the second half. Edson Alvarez was given a yellow card for bumping Matt Miazga after the 6-foot-4 American mocked Diego Lainez, who was defending him despite being nearly a foot shorter.
A crowd of 40,194 turned out for the game at Nissan Stadium, one of the sites on the proposed preliminary list for 2026 World Cup matches.
Sarachan made six changes from Friday and his lineup averaging 23 years, 5 days, the youngest starting lineup for the Americans against Mexico since at least 1990.
Mexico changed 10 starters from Friday and gave debuts to Gonzalez, defenders Jose Abella and Gerardo Arteago, and midfielder Erick Aguirre.