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One of the biggest mysteries of the U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup run was how little Gio Reyna played.
Reyna has been performing exceptionally well at a major European club team in one of the world’s best leagues.
The U.S. has struggled to produce players of this caliber seemingly forever, and fans were rightfully excited about his potential. Despite some pre-tournament injuries, he seemed potentially healthy in November.
The USMNT was one of the youngest teams at the World Cup, with Reyna helping lead the youth movement.
At least that was the assumption.
But Reyna never played in the first group stage match against Wales, and came on for just a few minutes against England.
Now we might have a possible explanation for why he was so rarely used.
Coach Gregg Berhalter discussed the World Cup, and made a surprising statement about a significant problem with one of the players.
Reyna a Problem during World Cup?
While he obviously didn’t mention anyone specific by name, it seems to make some sense.
Two lines in particular seem to hint that Reyna might have been the subject of his explanation.
“As a staff, we sat together for hours deliberating what we were going to do with this player. We were ready to book a plane ticket home, that’s how extreme it was.”
That certainly could line up with what happened with Reyna during the World Cup.
Early on, Berhalter encouraged speculation that Reyna was too hurt to play.
But then news broke that a former U.S. soccer star claimed he was healthy and Berhalter had asked him to lie about it.
If Reyna was causing problems, or was frustrated what he assumed would be a lack of playing time, Berhalter’s comments make perfect sense.
Reyna might have been entirely healthy and ready to play, but internal disagreements kept him off the pitch.
Obviously we’ll never get confirmation of who he was referring to, but there aren’t a lot of other likely possibilities.
He didn’t start against the Netherlands, but did come on at halftime. If this was about Reyna, it certainly creates a lot of “what if” questions.
With Berhalter uncertain about his future with the team, there’s going to be a lot to keep track of with their relationship going forward.