U.S. soccer players appearing in the late stages of the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s ultimate club competition, is rare. For one to score in a quarterfinal had never happened until Thursday, when Tyler Adams, a 21-year-old substitute, broke a deadlock on a deflected shot in the 88th minute as RB Leipzig surprised Atletico Madrid, 2-1, in Lisbon.

In the Champions League for the second time in its 11-year history, the German club advanced to Tuesday’s semifinal against Paris Saint-Germain.

The only American to play in a Champions League semifinal was DaMarcus Beasley in 2005 with PSV Eindhoven against AC Milan. Beasley (2005), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund, 2017) and Jermaine Jones (Schalke, 2013) have scored in round-of-16 matches.

Adams — who is from Wappingers Falls, N.Y., about an hour north of New York City — scored for the first time in any competition since arriving at Leipzig in a $3 million transfer from the New York Red Bulls in January 2019.

He had entered in the 72nd minute for just his second Champions League appearance. A groin injury sidelined him for the start of the competition last fall.

Adams controlled Angeliño’s cross and drove a low effort from 20 yards that caromed off defender Stefan Savic’s foot and past goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

“It’s a deflection, but it counts the same as a regular one, so I’ll take it,” said Adams, a defensive midfielder. “Getting your first goal is a little bit unexpected for me. I am not a typical goal scorer.”

Adams scored three times in his three-year MLS career (74 matches across all competitions) and once in 10 appearances with the U.S. national team, against Mexico in a September 2018 friendly in Nashville.

“Coming into this game, I was told I wasn’t going to start but I needed to be ready to come off the bench and make an impact,” Adams said. “I had to get into the right mind-set."

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