College Football & Soccer Analyst
AL RAYYAN, Qatar – It’s the story surrounding the U.S. males’s nationwide workforce that Gregg Berhalter needs would cease being talked about.
The curious case of Giovanni Reyna.
The 20-year-old winger has been a hot-button matter since earlier than the World Cup started, and never by his personal doing. Reyna – the closest factor to U.S. Soccer royalty as the son of two-time U.S. World Cup captain Claudio Reyna and former U.S. girls’s nationwide workforce participant Danielle Egan – is among the brightest younger stars on a workforce stuffed with vivid stars. He figured to play an enormous position for the Americans in Qatar, however has been principally absent from the sector up to now.
Reyna, who has 15 caps, 4 objectives and one help since his first call-up in 2020, didn’t play within the Americans’ first match in opposition to Wales and got here on within the 83rd minute in opposition to England.
As the U.S. faces World Cup elimination on Tuesday in its third and last group stage match in opposition to Iran at Al Thumama Stadium (2 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App), a question lingers: What’s the deal with Reyna?
USMNT’s Gio Reyna on his private journey to the 2022 FIFA World Cup
The Americans must win Tuesday to advance to the knockout stage of the match. Iran, then again, solely wants a tie to maneuver onto the spherical of 16 because of a 2-0 victory over Wales on Friday.
Berhalter’s beginning lineup has been principally the identical via two video games, besides at striker. Josh Sargent began in opposition to Wales and Haji Wright obtained the nod in opposition to England. There’s a perception that Jesus Ferreira, the third true striker on this squad, might begin in opposition to Iran.
Berhalter was requested on Monday how he would assess the play of his heart forwards up to now, and if he would take into account taking part in Reyna in that position to present Iran a distinct look. Berhalter responded by saying that Sargent had a very good likelihood within the close to publish in opposition to Wales and Wright was efficient in opposition to England. He acknowledged his workforce might have been higher within the penalty field, however “it’s up to the rest of the group to give them quality service so that they can finish off some opportunities.”
As far as Reyna goes, Berhalter had this to say: “I think in terms of alternatives at the striker position, we are comfortable with the three that we have. We haven’t necessarily thought about putting Gio in there or Christian [Pulisic] there or Timmy Weah there or Jordan Morris there. We’ve been extra centered on the three that we now have in camp.”
The 6-foot-1 Reyna is a harmful attacking participant when wholesome. He’s a sensible and technical ahead with good ball expertise and was the youngest American to seem within the UEFA Champions League in 2020 (then 17), breaking the report previously set by Pulisic. He’s extensively thought of to be one of many biggest skills that U.S. Soccer has ever had.
Over the previous yr, Reyna skilled accidents that restricted his availability for the nationwide workforce throughout qualifying and likewise for his Bundesliga membership, Borussia Dortmund. He performed in his membership’s last three video games earlier than the World Cup break and for all intents and functions, he was deemed a wholesome and match member of Berhalter’s 26-man roster.
Reyna instructed reporters that he felt “100% healthy” after the Wales recreation regardless of not taking part in. Berhalter determined to convey on substitutes Brenden Aaronson, Wright, DeAndre Yedlin and Kellyn Acosta whereas the U.S. led 1-0, after which Morris got here on within the 88th minute. Berhalter stated that very same evening that Reyna may need skilled “a little bit of tightness” from a scrimmage earlier within the week in opposition to Qatar membership workforce Al-Gharafa SC, and famous they had been “building him up and think he can play a big role in the tournament. The question is when.” Reyna then performed about 20 minutes within the second match in opposition to England.
Asking Berhalter about Reyna’s standing has now develop into A Thing. And the coach seems irritated by the road of questioning. But even former U.S. captain Landon Donovan needs to know what is going on on.
“He comes into this tournament, we’ve all got him penciled in for the starting lineup and all of a sudden, he doesn’t step on the field against Wales and we’re thinking, ‘What’s going on here?'” Donovan stated on FOX earlier than the England match. “I’m not sure what the reality is. He says one thing, Gregg says another. I don’t know, but we need this guy on the field if we’re going to be successful.”
Perhaps all questions will probably be answered on Tuesday evening in what’s arguably the most important recreation in U.S. Soccer historical past. Or maybe the thriller might proceed.
Iran vs. United States Preview: Will the USMNT make it out of the Group Stage?
Read extra from the World Cup:
Top tales from FOX Sports:
Laken Litman covers faculty soccer, faculty basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She beforehand wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the creator of “Strong Like a Woman,” printed in spring 2022 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @LakenLitman.
Get extra from FIFA World Cup 2022 Follow your favorites to get details about video games, information and extra