USMNT and RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams revealed what the Americans must do to compete in the final rounds of the FIFA World Cup, admitting that 'great talent' will only take them so far.
The U.S. men’s national team is in the midst of qualifiers for the 2022 tournament, standing in second place on the Concacaf table with 15 points in eight games. The American side had a rocky start, drawing twice before finally earning their first victory in a 4-1 win over Honduras.
But even with a positive record in the last five matches and an upward trajectory, Adams explains it takes time and consistency to reach greatness.
While on a recent episode of 90min’s Football Americana, Adams was asked how far away the USMNT are from being a serious contender for the World Cup.
“It takes a lot. I think that you need the right balance of youth and experience in your team. I think that if you have only experience, maybe you don't get the performances that you need at a high level. So you always need that right mixture and the right balance," he said.
“Then I think it's difficult to say when exactly we're going to be ready to compete for a semi-final or a final because, at the end of the day, right now, we have a great collective team and a lot of great talent, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to make it to a semi-final or a final.
"You have to understand what playing in a tournament format requires because it's not the same as playing one game and you win and it doesn't matter in a friendly, or it doesn't mean going through the qualifying process because that's not even a tournament format either. It's how do you make it out of the group, how do you win in pressure situations and knockout games?”
Adams went on to use Germany - where he has played his club soccer since 2019 - as the prime example of balance.
“You look at a team like Germany and you say they have the right balance of everything, and then how do you kind of structure your system based off of a team that has had success like that?" Adams added.
"And I think that they have a lot of good young leaders. They have a lot of good older leaders, a lot of experience. But these players, they don't miss games. They're always together. They always have a similar team together. And they've built this chemistry up over years. So, when you can say, 'We're going to make it to a semi-final or final,' I hope right away, but I think it takes a lot to build that caliber team.”
The USMNT face El Salvador and Canada in January as part of their World Cup qualifying campaign in hopes to reach Qatar in December 2022.