The last couple of months have been great for American soccer. The MLS is Back Tournament was a success and Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic broke out as a star in the Premier League. However, the ultimate moment happened today as RB Leipzig A midfielder Tyler Adams scored the game-winning goal in the quarterfinals over Atletico Madrid to lift them to the Champions League semifinals.
The first half was a slugfest as neither club could get into a rhythm or pose any real threat for either goalkeeper. The match went into halftime scoreless. The pace immediately picked up in the second half as in the 50th minute, Leipzig midfielder Marcel Sabitzer lofted a well-placed cross for Dani Olmo, who slotted it past Atletico goalkeeper, Jan Oblak, to give Leipzig a 1-0 lead.
In the 58th minute, young Atletico phenom Joao Felix was subbed on and he quickly made an impact. 13 minutes later, he drew a penalty after beating Leipzig’s backline. He would take the penalty kick and smashed it in to tie the match.
Right after the PK, Adams was subbed in, leading the way toward his shining moment in the 88th minute. Leipzig leftback Angelino found Adams open in the middle just outside the penalty box. Adams’s shot deflected off Atletico defender Stefan Savic and in to give Leipzig the win.
This is the biggest win in Leipzig’s short history. They are the first club to defeat Diego Simeone in the knockout round without Cristiano Ronaldo in the lineup. Their wing play and winning the possession were crucial in breaking through Atletico’s backline. Adams is the first American player ever to score a goal in the UCL quarterfinals or later. Also, Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann is the youngest manager in UCL history to win in the quarterfinals.
This is a disappointing result for Atletico and a major question must be asked: why didn’t Felix start the match? He clearly was the main playmaker for the club today and one must wonder if they would have scored in the first half with him. However, as he grows and develops, his future will be exciting to watch.
RB Leipzig will face Paris Saint-Germain next Tuesday in the first UCL semifinal match.