Tyler Adams: Last-minute call-up to MLS All-Star squad ‘a whirlwind’
ATLANTA — Tyler Adams called his journey to the 2018 MLS All-Star team “a whirlwind” after he was added to the squad on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s All-Star Game against Juventus (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).
The New York Red Bulls midfielder was called in to replace New York City FC forward David Villa, who was forced to withdraw with a knee injury. The NYCFC captain isn’t the only star missing in Atlanta, with the LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic also pulling out, citing fatigue. Minnesota United attacker Darwin Quintero has been drafted in to replace his Western Conference colleague.
Adams said he found out he’d be joining up with the rest of Major League Soccer’s best on Sunday afternoon, and by Monday morning he was on his way to Atlanta.
“My sporting director Denis [Hamlett] called me and said, ‘Congrats, All-Star,’ and I said, ‘What do you mean?’,” Adams told media ahead of the All-Stars’ training session on Tuesday.
“He basically told me I’d be going to the All-Star Game so I had to catch a flight the next morning, which was interesting. It was all a bit of a whirlwind.”
Villa and Ibrahimovic won’t be the only marquee absentees from Wednesday’s match, however. Freshly minted Juventus No. 7 Cristiano Ronaldo also won’t be available, as he returns to fitness in Turin following his post-World Cup break.
While there will undoubtedly be countless fans in the U.S. longing for the likes of Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic and Villa, the latter two’s absences will allow U.S. fans to get a sense of how one of the country’s brightest prospects measures up against a world-class opponent like Juventus.
And the 19-year-old U.S. international is soaking up everything in his All-Star experience.
“It’s just nice to come here in a great environment with some great players and be able to step on the same field as them,” Adams said. “Watch some of the things that they do, how they train, stuff like that would be really cool.”