The Return of Gio Reyna: A New Beginning for the USMNT

The return of Borussia Dortmund attacker Gio Reyna under U.S. men’s national team manager Gregg Berhalter highlights the 23-player roster that will prepare for friendlies against Germany in Hartford, Connecticut, on Oct. 14, and Ghana in Nashville, Tennessee, three days later. The camp will mark the first time that Reyna and Berhalter have worked together since a feud between the Reyna and Berhalter families burst into public view in January.

Berhalter confirmed Thursday the first step in rebuilding the relationship took place “weeks ago,” with the two conversing over a Zoom call. While Berhalter acknowledges that it will take time for the relationship to fully heal, he believes that both parties are committed to working together for the team’s success. It is a difference between a Zoom call and being in person, but Berhalter believes that they are both prepared to put their differences aside for the sake of the team.

The incident initially revolved around Reyna’s lack of playing time at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and his subsequent poor behavior regarding his usage on the field. Berhalter disclosed at a leadership conference that he almost sent an unnamed player, later identified as Reyna, home due to a poor attitude. In response, Reyna’s mother, Danielle, revealed a domestic violence incident between Berhalter and his now-wife, Rosalind, to U.S. Soccer’s then-sporting director Earnie Stewart. This revelation led to an investigation by U.S. Soccer, which cleared the Berhalters of any wrongdoing, allowing Gregg Berhalter to be rehired as manager in June.

The U.S. Men’s National Team was managed by interim managers Anthony Hudson and B.J. Callaghan following Berhalter’s departure. However, a leg injury sustained by Reyna at the Concacaf Nations League final in June prevented him from working with Berhalter since the latter’s return. It was only recently that Reyna and Berhalter addressed what transpired after the World Cup, enabling them to “move forward.”

Reyna, who hasn’t played for club or country since his injury, will have an opportunity to showcase his talent during these friendlies. Berhalter intends to be creative with the minutes Reyna receives, experimenting with different positions for the young talent. The Germany game will provide insight into Reyna’s positioning, and the Ghana game will offer further experimentation throughout the camp.

Apart from Reyna, the rest of the roster includes several familiar faces who played in the Concacaf Nations League final in June. AC Milan’s Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah, as well as Juventus’s Weston McKennie and Tim Weah, are among the notable players.

Berhalter emphasizes the importance of selecting strong rosters and maintaining continuity for the team’s progression. These friendlies against world-class opponents present an opportunity to further develop the group of players in line with the long-term strategic approach toward the 2026 World Cup.

Unfortunately, Bournemouth midfielder Tyler Adams will miss the camp due to a recurring hamstring injury, which has kept him sidelined since March. Internacional’s Johnny Cardoso and Celta Vigo’s Luca de la Torre are potential replacements in the midfield. Fulham defender Antonee Robinson was also not called in, opening the door for Kristoffer Lund of Palermo and Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Joe Scally.

Berhalter acknowledges the significance of Tyler Adams to the team in terms of both his performance on the field and his influence off it. However, this absence provides an opportunity to test alternative strategies and evaluate other players in different positions.

The Rise of Yunus Musah

Yunus Musah has the potential to become an influential player for the USMNT. If he appears in either match during the October window, he would become only the fourth USMNT player to reach 30 caps before his 21st birthday, joining the ranks of Jozy Altidore, Christian Pulisic, and Landon Donovan.

Center-back Cameron Carter-Vickers will participate in his first camp since the 2022 World Cup. The U.S. has had a mixed record against Germany, with four wins, seven losses, and zero draws. However, they have won two of the past three encounters against the four-time World Cup champions, including a 2-1 victory in Cologne in 2015 courtesy of a late goal from Bobby Wood. The Americans’ record against Ghana stands at two wins, two losses, and zero draws, with the most recent meeting resulting in a 2-1 victory for the U.S. in 2017.

The return of Gio Reyna and his reconciliation with Gregg Berhalter mark the beginning of a new era for the USMNT. The team has the opportunity to face formidable opponents and continue their development as a cohesive unit. With a talented roster and a renewed sense of unity, this camp will serve as a crucial building block in the team’s long-term strategy leading up to the 2026 World Cup.

Soccer

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