HANOVER, N.J. — After missing consecutive league matches and being forced to withdraw from a call-up to the U.S. men’s national team due to a back injury, midfielder Tyler Adams has returned to fully training with the New York Red Bulls and feels “fresh and ready to go” for the stretch drive of the 2018 MLS season.
The 19-year-old has been fortunate for most of his first two seasons with the Red Bulls and hadn’t missed time due to injuries until a fall on his tailbone against Toronto FC on Sept. 22 led to back spasms.
“I remember after that game just stiffening up,” Adams said after training Wednesday. “It just didn’t feel right when I was running and I had a tough time breathing.”
While many teammates earned needed time off during international breaks, Adams was called up each time by USMNT interim coach Dave Sarachan. Combined with the more than 2,000 minutes in league play and a couple hundred more between the Concacaf Champions League, the U.S. Open Cup and the USMNT, Adams logged a lot of miles, which also played a factor in his injury.
“I’m feeling good,” Adams said. “With that rest its helped me recoup a little bit. A lot of times I haven’t been able to find the right balance with getting a break. Sometimes I go away and guys get a five-day break and I haven’t really had that so it’s been nice to catch up on that.”
That said, Adams said it was difficult to watch the Red Bulls, especially in that pivotal match against Atlanta United, won by the Red Bulls, 2-0, as well as miss USMNT friendlies against Colombia and Peru. But Adams believes he’s accrued the right amount of rest to be able to ratchet things up in the final two games of the regular season as well as the MLS Cup playoffs.
“Obviously the game against Atlanta is one you want to play in, but what a performance by the team on that day,” Adams said. “San Jose as well and yeah, you can never take a national team call-up for granted, but I think my body comes first and to try to push and play well with the Red Bulls so I can get called for the next camp.”
Adams returned to full training this week and after not feeling any pain or discomfort, he’s a strong candidate to face the Philadelphia Union Sunday afternoon at Talen Energy Stadium.
“He looks like he hasn’t missed a beat,” coach Chris Armas said. “He’s really excited to be training again. We’ve seen him out here for the last days and his energy and enthusiasm he brings to the field in every way always adds to what we’re doing. It’s good to have him back on the field.”
The same isn’t quite true of Danny Royer, who also missed the 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Oct. 6. The winger has made positive steps, but he’s yet to fully train with the Red Bulls in two weeks.
“He’s close. He’s progressing really well,” Armas said. “We’ll just have to figure out if this is the game to use him from the start or not or even at all. He is progressing rather well and we’re excited about that because we know we’re much better when we have him in the team. He’s a guy who offers something different in the final third and even just having his presence on the field and leadership and the competitive will he brings.”