Alejandro Bedoya has seen Tyler Adams play more than enough times to know that the 19-year-old is worth all the hype he's gotten this year.
Adams is a midfield workhorse for the New York Red Bulls, and is one of the top prospects at the position in the U.S. national team pool. He can cover every inch of the field, and has the skill to get on the ball and move it fast.
Bedoya and Adams will cross paths again on Sunday when the Union host the Red Bulls at Talen Energy Stadium (3 p.m., 6ABC). They're likely to both play big roles in a game with big stakes in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
"He's always that guy that's almost like a mosquito — that little pest that's always around you," Bedoya said, and he meant it as a compliment. "When you get on the ball, you know that he's always going to close you down really quickly and be all over you. … He's a hungry player and I love his attitude."
Bedoya sees a bit of himself in Adams, as well he should: they both relish running their midfields' engine rooms, and are versatile enough to play other roles too.
The two men have played against each other often with their clubs, and played together with the U.S. national team last November. Adams missed this month's U.S. national team games due to back spasms, and Bedoya could tell the U.S. team missed him.
"They kind of missed that extra little bite in the middle, and he's got that," Bedoya said. "Tyler's got that edge where he can close that extra space down a lot quicker than anybody in the pool can."
Sunday's game might be Adams' last visit here for a while. He's reportedly set to move to Germany's Red Bull Leipzig this winter. Bedoya thinks Adams is ready for Europe's big stage.
"He's got that mentality, that attitude that he doesn't care who he's facing, who he's up against," Bedoya said. "I've got no reservations saying wherever he goes he's going to go, he's going to do well and leave an impression."
Reports have set the expected transfer at around $5 million. That might end up being a bargain if Adams fulfills his potential to be a longtime U.S. national team stalwart.
"He's a young kid who I hope is going to continue to develop, both tactically and technically," Bedoya said. "As his vision for the game gets better, that's just going to make him a key player, I think for the future of the national team and wherever he goes."
Union vs. New York Red Bulls
Sunday, 3 p.m. at Talen Energy Stadium
Union's record: 15-12-5, 50 points (4th in the East); 9-5-2 at home
Red Bulls' record: 20-7-5, 65 points (2nd in the East); 7-5-4 on the road
Series history: Union 6 wins, Red Bulls 12 wins, 5 ties
At Talen Energy Stadium: Union 5 wins, Red Bulls 5 wins, 2 ties
Red Bulls players to watch
F Bradley Wright-Phillips: Any scouting report starts with him, because so many attacks end with him. The Englishman has 20 goals this year, 106 in six seasons in MLS, and is the first player in league history to score 20 goals in three separate seasons.
M Alejandro "Kaku" Romero Gamarra: The Paraguayan playmaker isn't one of the league's biggest stars, but he's worth watching. He has five goals and 14 assists this year.
GK Luis Robles: Few players anywhere in MLS are as stalwart to their teams. He set the league's consecutive games record earlier this year at 183, and as the league keeps getting younger, he's likely to keep the record for a long time.