Tyler Adams believes the United States' 'MMA' midfield is strong enough to 'dominate' and 'dictate' games.
Adams is one part of this exciting triumvirate in Gregg Berhalter's engine room, alongside Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah.
Together, they form arguably one of the most talented midfield trios the USA has ever produced, and none of them have yet hit their full potential. Adams has become a key figure at RB Leipzig under new head coach Dominico Tedesco, McKennie is scoring important goals for Juventus, and Musah has worked his way back into the starting XI at Valencia.
“Right now Weston is scoring goals for fun, so I'm going to hold him to it and put a little bit of extra pressure on him that he needs to score some goals now,” Adams said on Tuesday (via MLSsoccer.com) ahead of the USMNT's World Cup qualifying clash against El Salvador on Thursday.
“So every time we get a set-piece and there's a good delivery, I'm thinking that he's going to score. And as far as Yunus, obviously, he's had a great performance and a big game for his club, and to see him playing regularly now at Valencia is super important as well.
“I think form coming into competitions like this is always super important because you come in with this confidence and a little bit of swagger and you help dictate games at the end of the day. And being a young team, I think it's important that all of our players have confidence.”
There's still more to come and all three players will be pushed in their positions by other emerging talents like Gianluca Busio - currently plying his trade in Serie A with Venezia - and James Sands, who recently joined Rangers on loan from NYCFC.
But if they can stick together and keep on building the understanding that has served them well so far, the USMNT's 'MMA' midfield could fuel a period of untold success on the international stage.
“I think when the three of us are out on the field, we feel like we have a strong chemistry and we're able to dominate games and that's important,” Adams continued.
“We have great confidence in our group when we're playing at a high level and we're all focused on that one goal, and what we need to do, and not looking too far ahead is when we've always achieved our best results.”
Following their clash with El Salvador in Columbus, the USMNT face a critical trip to Canda, who remain unbeaten in World Cup qualifying so far, and a home tie against Honduras in Minnesota.