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USMNT War of Words: The Gio Reyna Injury Confusion

gio reyna injury

Monday night. Ahmed bin Ali Stadium. Fulltime. United States 1, Wales 1. Gio Reyna sits on the bench, an unused substitute. The most dynamic attacking “solution” for the USMNT has just watched his team fail to close out a game in the final 20 minutes, unable to help. He and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter would go on to say potentially conflicting statements post game. What’s going on with this supposed Gio Reyna injury? Why wasn’t he played in this game? What does this mean for Friday’s match against England?

USMNT War of Words: The Gio Reyna Injury Confusion

With Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah starting this game, Reyna was the best attacking option on the bench. The second half was begging for quality in transition from the United States, which Reyna could have brought. Both goals were about individual moments, from Pulisic and Weah, then from Gareth Bale in drawing and scoring the penalty. If anyone was going to bring a world class moment of brilliance to win that game for the Americans, it would have been Reyna.

So why then was he not involved in the game? Berhalter and the player have since spoken about this and their answers don’t add up.

“In the phase of the game we were at, we went with Jordan who we felt could give us speed and power,” Berhalter said. The team did a “last minute check” on him and feel he’ll play in the tournament.

When asked, Reyna sad “I feel really good. I feel great. I feel fine. [Berhalter] doesn’t have to tell me why he didn’t put me in or why he does. But I’m 100 percent. I’m good to go.”

The player said he’s fit just hours after a game he could have played in, but didn’t. The coaching staff says they think he’ll play a role in the final two games. First off, there’s no direct contraction here. Berhalter did not say Reyna’s injured. Saying they think he’ll play in the tournament could be referring to situational fit. Reyna’s a great player, a star in the making, and surely the USMNT are better with him playing at some point this World Cup than not. Something doesn’t add up.

Reyne has struggled with injuries the last few years. Of the young star players on the US, he’s been the least available for club and country. There’s an argument for load management. Berhalter did something similar with Weston McKennie, starting him but subbing him after 66 minutes. The coaching staff could think Reyna’s a better matchup for England and/or Iran. If he plays in those two games, this is much ado about nothing.

If he’s actually healthy and not being played, something more has to be up. He commented that Berhalter does not need to explain to him why he did not play. At the surface level, that’s him trusting the coach that he’ll play if the coach thinks its best for the team. It’s hard to see Reyna not being what’s best for the team at some point in the Group Stage.

If he doesn’t play against England, is he actually hurt? Is there some rift between the two like we saw with John Anthony Brooks? Is he actually hurt and he’s saying he’s fit to throw off England to help the team? We’ll find out on Friday.

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