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Official: USMNT’s Adams off to the Bundesliga

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Tyler Adams is taking the next step, even if his new jersey is going to look mighty similar.

The New York Red Bulls have announced the transfer of its 19-year-old Homegrown midfielder to Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig, the culmination of months of speculation on Adams’ future.

[ MORE: Who is new USMNT boss Gregg Berhalter? ]

Adams will join RBL when the January transfer window opens, and be reunited with his former RBNY boss and current RBL assistant Jesse Marsch.

Here’s RBL boss Ralf Rangnick on Adams:

“We are convinced that Tyler is able to reinforce us in the central midfield immediately. We are very happy that he is joining us and we are sure that he will take the next step in his development in the Bundesliga.”

From NewYorkRedBulls.com:

“We’re genuinely happy for Tyler and his family and we know that he is ready for the next step,” said Red Bulls Head Coach Chris Armas. “In these last four years, I’ve learned that he is simply incredible. Tyler has a maturity, fearlessness, work ethic, and desire to win that make him unique.

‘Tyler is the gold standard for player development in this country and I think that our club and academy can feel very proud to have worked with him and influenced him along his path. We wish him the very best and look forward to watching him shine.”

Adams has a goal in eight caps for the national team, and has made 74 appearances with three goals and 10 assists for RBNY. The Red Bulls have one of, if not the best academy set-up in Major League Soccer.

RBL needs to beat Rosenborg and see Celtic lose to Red Bull Salzburg in order to advance in the Europa League. They beat second place Borussia Monchengladbach on Sunday to move third in the Bundesliga.

Adams joins Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Weston McKennie and Haji Wright (Schalke), Timothy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Alfredo Morales (Fortuna Dusseldorf), John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Aron Johannsson and Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen), and Jonathan Klinsmann (Hertha Berlin) as Americans in Bundesliga.

Atlanta 3-0 New York: Hosts decisive after VAR denies BWP

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For a moment, it appeared Atlanta was truly snake-bitten against the New York Red Bulls. After a dominant first half found them 1-0 up, it appeared Bradley Wright-Phillips had grabbed an away goal soon after the break and given New York life. VAR wiped off the goal, and the hosts went on to a deserved 3-0 victory.

The decision – a correct one by the letter of the law – was surely an enormous moment in this two-legged matchup, and paved the way for a 3-0 Atlanta victory that left Tata Martino with 90 minutes between he and a spot in the MLS playoff final.

Martinez struck just past the half-hour mark, as Tim Parker midjudged a ball into the box from Jeff Larentowicz, and as it floated over the head of the New York defender, it fell to Martinez who settled and finished calmly. Atlanta held over 60% possession in the first half, and held New York to just one shot, with Bradley Wright-Phillips neutralized.

After the break, New York proved far more threatening, and they looked to have drawn level. In the 54th minute, a free-kick flew into the box and eventually came to Wright-Phillips at the top of the box. BWP fired low and to the left, past a helpless Brad Guzan and into the back of the net. After a long delay, VAR ruled out the goal, and while it took some time deducing the reason for the call, it became clear that Alex Muyl was in an offside position and screening Guzan. While the Atlanta goalkeeper likely would not have reached the shot regardless of Muyl’s positioning, the rule was clear and the call was correct.

New York began to slowly work down the possessional advantage for the home side, but struggled to create more big chances. Midfield giveaways proved deadly, and Atlanta used a turnover to move two goals in front. Miguel Almiron threaded in a streaking Julian Gressel who came flying down the left flank, and his cutback across the space in the box was just behind Martinez but came to Franco Escobar who unleashed a howitzer into the top-right corner.

The hosts came close to a third on multiple occasions. Almiron fired across the face of goal wide on a breakaway with nine minutes remaining. Robles also had to make a near-post save in the 87th minute to deny substitute Hector Villalba. Then, the best chance just fell short as Villalba hit the post after toasting two defenders on the break. Finally, the third came in added time as Escobar fed a great through-ball to Villalba who struck with his left foot and slid it inside the left post.

It’s the first victory for Atlanta United in five tries all-time against New York, and a huge one as New York will need a massive comeback to find a way into the MLS final. The second leg will take place Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

WATCH: Josef Martinez puts Atlanta up on New York

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Atlanta United has never beaten the New York Red Bulls, but they have struck first at home in the 2018 Eastern Conference finals as Josef Martinez grabbed yet another goal, his 34th of the season.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: MLS conference finals ]

Despite Atlanta’s hefty possessional advantage through the first half-hour at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the goal came on a long cross into the box with only Martinez lurking. The ball from Jeff Larentowicz came in from the deep right flank, and Tim Parker midjudged the flight, letting it sneak over his head. There was Martinez waiting, and he collected with his chest before finishing past Luis Robles on an island.

The lead is the first Atlanta has enjoyed this season against New York, and gives Atlanta a significant advantage this season, with just one loss all season after scoring first. Atlanta took that lead into the break, owning 62% possession through the first 45 minutes and holding New York to just one shot, zero on target. Bradley Wright-Phillips was completely neutralized, with just six passes received, only two in the attacking third.

MLS preview, leg 2: Top seeds RBNY, SKC have work to do

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Three more places are set to be booked in the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs conference finals on Sunday. One home side leads, one trails and one enters the second leg on level footing…

[ MORE: Timbers top Sounders, in PKs, in epically insane 2nd leg ]

Sporting Kansas City (1*) vs. Real Salt Lake (1)

Conservative and defensive aren’t two descriptors typically, if ever, used to describe Peter Vermes’ Sporting KC side, yet the first leg saw the Western Conference’s top seed set out to frustrate and stifle the six-seed on their home patch — at least in the first half, until Albert Rusnak scored his stunning goal from just about nothing in the 51st minute. Sporting responded brilliantly, though, never panicking and hardly showing RSL another sight of goal until the game’s final few frantic minutes.

It was Diego Rubio — super-sub for most of the season, save for a two-month stretch where he was the only option to start at center forward, and he produced a goal or assist per game — who bagged Sporting’s equalizer right on the hour mark, seconds after coming on. While some will surely be clamoring for the Chilean to start the second leg, it’s important to remember that game states drastically affect an attacking player’s quantity and quality of chances. For the vast majority of Khiry Shelton’s shift, Sporting resorted to uncharacteristically long balls out of the back. Once RSL went ahead, Vermes did the right (and obvious) thing in swapping the two.

In the second leg, Sporting will be the possession-dominant side on their home field, which will play perfectly into the hands feet of Shelton, whose hold-up play and tireless movement will pull defenders out of deeper positions, thus opening up half-spaces for Johnny Russell and Daniel Salloi — the team’s two top scorers this season — in ways that Rubio just can’t. It’s vitally important that Sporting attack RSL through the center of the field and don’t fall into the trap and getting the ball wide and crossing it into the box more than 20 or 30 or — gasp — 40 times, as they’ve sometimes done in the past. Patience and persistence through the center will cause RSL problems they don’t want to deal with, and ultimately send Sporting through to the West finals.


Atlanta United (1*) vs. New York City FC (0)

Of the three higher-seeded sides hosting on Sunday, Atlanta United have the most straightforward path to victory: don’t lose at home, where they lost just twice all season and haven’t done so since dropping back-to-back games (against the no. 1 seeds from each conference) in May. There is no such thing as a lock in MLS, but this is as close as you’re going to find. [cue NYCFC winning 3-0 on Sunday]

Chances will be far more plentiful for both sides on Sunday, as opposed to the four combined shots on target (all by Atlanta, the visitors) on the postage-stamp field at Yankee Stadium.

The late-season return of Yangel Herrera from his season-ending long-term knee injury did wonders to strengthen NYCFC’s shoddy midfield down the stretch, but not even the 20-year-old Venezuelan destroyer (on loan from Manchester City) could grab hold of the first leg and coax the game in any particular direction, let alone one that was advantageous for his side. It’ll take a 10-out-of-10 performance from Herrera, and a couple of his teammates along the backline, to have any hopes of even slowing down Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron, Hector Villalba and Co.

Good luck.


New York Red Bulls (0) vs. Columbus Crew SC (1*)

The Supporters’ Shield-winning Red Bulls find themselves in a fairly precarious position heading into Sunday’s nightcap: trailing the side that conceded the second-fewest goals (24) away from home in the Eastern Conference and the fourth-fewest in the entire league.

The first leg saw yet another tally of just four shots between the two sides (split evenly this time) and only 14 combined efforts, period. The Red Bulls did everything they could have hoped to do ahead of kickoff, but were undone by a moment of pure magical and ingenuity from Federico Higuain, who just seems to do those things this time of year, every year.

Columbus is an interesting foil for New York, as their tendency to play the ball quickly and vertically often negates the Red Bulls’ relentless press. Like in the first leg, the midfield essentially turns into a pendulum shuttling back and forth constantly without ever really accomplishing anything for all the miles traversed. If the Red Bulls’ backline can play a little tighter to Columbus’s wingers and forward(s), making those long balls a tad tougher to see and play, that’s all the likes of Tyler Adams, Sean Davis, Daniel Royer and Alex Muyl will need to wreak havoc in Crew SC’s defensive half. That’s where the chances — and any likelihood of a comeback — will come from.

Columbus shocks Red Bulls with 1-0 first-leg win

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A Gyasi Zardes goal was the lone strike in a surprising result as the Major League Soccer playoffs get under way.

New York, fresh off its last-day Supporters’ Shield victory, was held goalless in the first leg of its matchup against Columbus on Sunday. Bradley Wright-Phillips nearly netted a last-gasp equalizer that would have completely changed the complexity of the matchup, but New York instead heads back home with work to do.

The lone goal came in the 67th minute as Milton Valenzuela threaded a pinpoint pass to Federico Higuain who had come off the bench at halftime. The Crew star produced a fabulous assist, back-heeling to a streaking Zardes who finished one-on-one.

There were two moments late that could have defined the match. First, Luis Robles was there to produce a stop on Pedro Santos in the 89th minute that would have left New York with even more ground to make up back home. Then, in the 93rd minute, Wright-Phillips got his head to a wonderful Kaku delivery into the box and flicked the ball towards the corner, but Zack Steffan made a brilliant diving save to turn the effort away and preserve the victory.

New York was a significant favorite in the two-legged match, having clipped Atlanta United on the final day of the regular season for the most points in the league. They collected 22 wins over the course of the season, but struggled against Columbus, earning just a single point in their two meetings, including a 1-1 road draw and a 3-2 loss at Red Bull Arena in late July.

Columbus kept New York at bay by holding 58% of the possession and conceding just nine total shots, two on target. The home side generated just six shots of its own, but managed to put one of its two on target into the back of the net.