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Red Bulls coach Chris Armas miffed Tyler Adams, Aaron Long play 90 minutes vs. Italy

Sep 11, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; United States midfielder Tyler Adams (4) celebrates after scoring a goal against Mexico in the second half during an international friendly soccer match at Nissan Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

HANOVER, N.J. — Chris Armas had no problem with Tyler Adams and Aaron Long getting called into the U.S. men’s national team for European friendlies against England and Italy.

But the New York Red Bulls coach is a little miffed at how long both of his starters played in a 1-0 loss against the Azzurri Tuesday in Belgium.

Adams and Long, who didn’t play in the 3-0 loss to England last Thursday at Wembley Stadium, were both in the starting XI Tuesday in Genk and played the entire 90 minutes.

That, combined with an intercontinental flight home, is “not ideal” ahead of the first leg of the Eastern Conference finals against Atlanta United Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“Both guys are a little bit tired and a little bit sore so we got to manage that,” Armas said after training Friday. “It’s not ideal, not ideal the way it plays out.”

It was Adams’ ninth appearance, while Long earned his second start after making his debut in a 1-1 draw against Peru in East Hartford last month.

“When you go to the national team, you don’t pick and choose when you play. It’s an honor to get called in and you’ve got to take what you get some times,” Armas said. “However in the second game, yeah we’re hoping that they could be mindful of how many minutes those guys get.”

Although Adams had a late scare following a clash of heads, both players returned to New York  in relatively good health. Armas is hoping that experience could be beneficial for both players, in the short and long term.

“They’ll be flying and ready to go by Sunday,” Armas said. “But of course yeah they come back a little bit beat up.”

They weren’t the only Red Bulls players to play during the FIFA international window. Michael Amir Murillo and Fidel Escobar both played 90 minutes for Panama in a 2-1 loss to Ecuador in Panama City on Tuesday night.

In Concacaf Nations League qualifying on Saturday, Kemar Lawrence went the distance for Jamaica in a 2-1 win over Suriname in Montego Bay, while Derrick Etienne scored the insurance goal in Haiti’s 2-0 victory over Nicaragua.

Etienne was released from Haiti for a friendly against host El Salvador on Tuesday

Meanwhile, Kaku played the entire second half in Paraguay’s 1-1 draw against South Africa Tuesday in Durban. He played alongside Miguel Almiron, who went the entire 90 minutes. Hector Villalba played the final 25 minutes off the bench.

Kaku said he and Almiron shared some playful banter ahead of the anticipated two-legged showdown.

“It was a lot of fun,” Kaku said through a translator. “We made a lot of jokes with each other about who’s going to win. We’d always joke around like, oh we’re the ones who are going to win. But for the most part, he’s a great guy. We’re just hoping for a great match come Sunday.”

Kaku said the travel was challenging, but he was honored to represent Paraguay for the second time.

“It was a lot of travel so it was tough at first, but whenever you’re selected for the national team, you find whatever it is in you to play,” he said. “I feel good right now and I’m just ready for the game on Sunday.”

Kaku said he also had a good conversation with new Paraguay coach Juan Carlos Osorio, who guided the Red Bulls to their first-ever MLS Cup appearance in 2008.

“We talked a lot about his time when he was with [the Red Bulls] and the time he made it to the finals and didn’t get it,” Kaku said. “But he feels good about the club this year. For the most part it was good being with him and we’re learning all the things we need to learn and we’re going to be OK.”




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