Several sources close to the United States men’s national team provided details to Athleticism which explain the lack of involvement of striker Gio Reyna world Cup.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, said Reyna showed an alarming lack of effort in training ahead of the match. USA Tournament Opener vs. Wales on November 21, including in a scrum against Qatari club Al Gharafa SC on November 17. Reyna’s lack of intensity in the scrum – sources described him walking around throughout his time on the pitch during what was otherwise an intense session – caused significant frustration within the club. crew. The lack of effort was so pronounced that it was unclear whether Reyna was protecting herself from injury or just frustrated at not being ready to start against Wales.
The drama surrounding Reyna crescendoed during the game against Wales, when Reyna threw away his shin guards after not being substituted, and then in a post-Wales training session in which the lack of Reyna’s effort continued again. This prompted several veteran players to speak with Reyna, including By Andre Yedlin and Aaron Longwho took him aside and urged him to try harder to move on.
The sources said the situation was becoming untenable and had to be addressed repeatedly, including with the technical staff, until finally Reyna stood up in front of a video session and apologized to her teammates. for its initial lack of intensity and declares understanding. he was part of a collective group. After the apology, several players on the team spoke up to hold Reyna accountable for her actions. Sources said the players believe the group and its culture will be able to overcome the issues after Reyna’s apology, and that the 20-year-old has reached a milestone in his training efforts. Within the squad, the problems with Reyna ended there, the sources say.
USA coach Gregg Berhalter appeared to reference Reyna’s situation without naming the player at the HOW Institute’s Moral Leadership Summit for Society in New York last Tuesday, comments that were published in a Charterworks newsletter this week.
“At this last World Cup, we had a player who clearly did not live up to expectations on and off the pitch,” Berhalter said. “One of 26 players, so that stood out. As staff, we sat together for hours thinking about what we were going to do with this player. We were ready to book a plane ticket home, it was so extreme. And ultimately, we’re going to have another conversation with him, and part of the conversation was about how we’re going to behave from now on. There will be no more violations.
“But the other thing we told him is that you’re going to have to apologize to the group, but you’re going to have to say why you’re apologizing. It’s going to have to go beyond just ‘Guys, I I’m sorry.” And I prepped the leadership group with that. I said, ‘OK, this guy is going to apologize to you as a group, to the whole team.’ And what was fantastic about all of this was that after he apologized, they stood up one by one and said, ‘Look, that hasn’t been good enough. didn’t meet our expectations of a teammate and we want to see change. They really took ownership of that process. And from that day on, there were no more issues with that player.
“As a coach, the most appropriate way to deal with things is to go back to your values. Because it’s difficult to send a player home. It was going to be a huge controversy. You would have read about it during five days in a row. But we were ready to do it, because it didn’t meet the band’s standards, and the band was also ready to do it.
Several attempts to reach Reyna’s agent were not immediately successful.
Some of the issues with Reyna were revealed to the public during the tournament after Reyna didn’t play against Wales.
Berhalter used his first four substitutes as USA led the game 1-0, then opted to bring in the winger Jordan Morris on for Tim Wea after Wales equalized in the 82nd minute. After the game, Berhalter explained his decision to go with Morris over Reyna, saying that “in the phase of the game we were in, we went with Jordan, who we thought could give us something with speed and power”. He noted that the team had done a ‘last minute check’ on Reyna, deemed him ‘OK’ and said he imagined her playing a role against England in the second match of the United States group stage.
Asked to clarify what the last-minute check was for, Berhalter said “you could see there was a bit of tightness” during the scrum with Al Gharafa a few days before that the team had “built it ” and that ” we think he can play a big role in this tournament – the question is when, and hopefully on Friday (against England) he will have a head start.
Minutes later, Reyna told reporters in the mixed zone that he was completely healthy.
“I felt good, I felt ready to go,” Reyna said. “But it was just his decision.”
On the day of the England game, former US national team striker Eric Wynalda opened up about Reyna’s lack of playing time during a Twitter Spaces with LA Times columnist Dylan Hernandez. Wynalda claimed there were “internal disputes” within the squad over Berhalter’s decision not to play with Reyna. He also alleged that Berhalter lied to the media when he told reporters after the Wales match that he had dropped Reyna from that game due to injury. Wynalda claimed he spoke with Gio’s father, Claudio, the former United States captain and Berhalter’s childhood friend and teammate at several World Cups.
“With Gio Reyna out of the line-up at the moment which has been a huge controversy within the team – even his own teammates want him on the pitch and it seems to (cause) internal conflicts with (the team ) and manager Gregg Berhalter,” Wynalda said. “I don’t know how much I should comment on this, but I’ve been trying to console Gio’s dad, Claudio, for the last few hours, well, the last few days with everything going on. He was fit to play, Berhalter lied to the media and said it was an injury, asked the player to follow this story which caused a rift between the two of them and now he is on the bench which is really unfortunate The situation should have been handled very differently.
Wynalda backed off their initial comments slightly in a tweet posted to his account the day after his first comments.
Berhalter was not asked about Wynalda’s claims in his press conferences before or after the game against England, although he clarified in a response that it was a “coach’s decision” of not playing Reyna against Wales. Reyna played seven minutes against England. Berhalter was then asked before the game against Iran if there was a rift between him and Gio Reyna and if he had, as Wynalda alleged, lied to the media and asked Reyna to tell reporters that he was injured after the game against Wales.
“Speaking of the four-year trip, okay, there’s also been four years of interaction with you guys (the press contingent). And what I would say is I let you decide if I asked Gio to lie about it,” Berhalter said. “It’s just not who I am. It’s not what I stand for. So, you know, if you have to believe the word from Eric or mine or whatever, feel free but I know what happened, that’s not what I represent Like anyone else, Gio is a member of this team that we care about deeply and we know he can help the team. It’s a question of when he can help us and how he can help us.
Shortly after this response, Wynalda went back even further on his initial statement on his SiriusXM show.
— SiriusXM FC 157 ⚽️📻 (@SiriusXMFC) November 28, 2022
Reyna didn’t end up playing against Iran on November 29 as the United States spent the second half protecting a narrow 1-0 lead.
“I think a lot depends on the moment and the circumstances,” Berhalter said before facing the Netherlands in the round of 16. “If you look at how the games went, we took the lead and had to hold it later in the games. The one game where we didn’t have that scenario, we actually put it in to help get the win. So that’s just how we can use it in the most effective way. Really talented player, and we are looking for the right moment. But he can, without a doubt, help his team.
Berhalter used Reyna more significantly in the USA’s loss to the Netherlands on December 3. Trailing 2-0 at halftime, he brought the Borussia Dortmund the striker for the second half, then moved him to the wing when he inserted the centre-forward Hadji Wright. Reyna largely failed to make an impact in the contest, ending her first World Cup after playing a total of 52 minutes as the United were knocked out after scoring just three goals in four matches .
Reina scored for Dortmund in a shortened 60-minute friendly against Rapid Bucharest, the fourth-placed team in the Romanian SuperLiga on Saturday in the “Christmas Cup” in Bucharest.
(Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images; Design: Eamonn Dalton)