February 4, 2023

Rarely used Gio Reyna can help Team USA at the World Cup, coach Gregg Berhalter said Friday, adding that the 20-year-old midfielder’s lack of playing time is only due to “timing and circumstances.”

The son of former US national team captain Claudio, Reyna made just one group stage appearance in Qatar, playing seven minutes in the 0-0 draw with England. The talented 20-year-old remained on the bench as the US drew Wales 1-1 in the World Cup opener and as the Americans defeated Iran 1-0 in Tuesday’s Group B final.

Berhalter described Reyna as a “really talented player”, who “can undoubtedly help this team” and said he is waiting for “the right time” to deploy the Borussia Dortmund midfielder. That likely means that Reyna will continue to fill his reserve role, but Berhalter can be counted on when he needs an offensive boost.

Gregg Berhalter (pictured) described Gio Reyna as a ‘really talented player’ who can ‘no doubt help this team’. He said he is waiting for “the right time” to deploy the Borussia Dortmund midfielder. That likely means that Reyna will continue to play his backup role, but Berhalter can be counted on when he needs an offensive boost

“A lot comes down to timing and circumstances,” Berhalter said on Friday, ahead of Saturday’s round of 16 with Holland. “If you look at how the games went, we had the lead and we had to keep that lead later in the games. The one game where we didn’t have that scenario, we actually deployed it to get the win. So it’s just how we can use it most effectively.’

Reyna’s limited playing time is a story in Qatar, largely due to his reputation as one of the young stars in the US.

Highlights of several of his Bundesliga goals have gone viral with American soccer fans, many of whom were expecting Reyna to start on the wing in Berhalter’s 4-3-3 formation.

Berhalter insisted that Reyna was a valued member of the USMNT roster and can help the team

Instead, after struggling with hamstring problems for most of last year, Reyna has lost playing time in Qatar to Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, who scored the only goal in Tuesday’s victory over Iran, and Lille’s Tim Weah, who scored the first goal made in the game. sign with Wales. And when Pulisic was diagnosed with a bruise to the abdomen in the Group B final, it was Brenden Aaronson who came off the bench as the first sub – not Reyna.

There were claims by former American striker Eric Wynalda that Reyna and Berhalter had fallen out, but Wynalda has since reversed that statement.

Former Team USA defenseman and current Fox Soccer analyst Alexi Lalas backed Berhalter, saying, “Gregg must have his reasons.”

See also  We need to start taking our passwords seriously, come on

“I’m sure there’s a story…always like that,” Lalas tweeted. “Eventually we will learn the Gio Reyna World Cup story.

“It could be as simple as he’s not considered good enough at the moment, plus he’s been physically frail in the past.”

Reyna (right) came on against England and is expected to get more playing time against Iran