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AL RAYYAN, Qatar – It is the story surrounding the U.S. males’s nationwide staff that Gregg Berhalter needs would cease being talked about. 

The curious case of Giovanni Reyna. 

The 20-year-old winger has been a hot-button matter since earlier than the World Cup started, and never by his personal doing. Reyna – the closest factor to U.S. Soccer royalty because the son of two-time U.S. World Cup captain Claudio Reyna and former U.S. girls’s nationwide staff participant Danielle Egan – is among the brightest younger stars on a staff filled with brilliant stars. He figured to play an enormous position for the Individuals in Qatar, however has been principally absent from the sector thus far. 

Reyna, who has 15 caps, 4 objectives and one help since his first call-up in 2020, didn’t play within the Individuals’ first match towards Wales and got here on within the 83rd minute towards England. 

Because the U.S. faces World Cup elimination on Tuesday in its third and last group stage match towards Iran at Al Thumama Stadium (2 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports activities App), a query lingers: What is the cope with Reyna? 

USMNT’s Gio Reyna on his private journey to the 2022 FIFA World Cup

USMNT's Gio Reyna on his personal journey to the 2022 FIFA World Cup

The Individuals need to win Tuesday to advance to the knockout stage of the match. Iran, alternatively, solely wants a tie to maneuver onto the spherical of 16 due to a 2-0 victory over Wales on Friday. 

[For the USMNT, the knockout round has arrived early]

Berhalter’s beginning lineup has been principally the identical via two video games, besides at striker. Josh Sargent began towards Wales and Haji Wright acquired the nod towards England. There is a perception that Jesus Ferreira, the third true striker on this squad, may begin towards Iran. 

Berhalter was requested on Monday how he would assess the play of his heart forwards thus far, and if he would contemplate enjoying Reyna in that position to present Iran a unique look. Berhalter responded by saying that Sargent had a very good probability within the close to publish towards Wales and Wright was efficient towards England. He acknowledged his staff may have been higher within the penalty field, however “it is as much as the remainder of the group to present them high quality service in order that they will end off some alternatives.” 

So far as Reyna goes, Berhalter had this to say: “I believe when it comes to options on the striker place, we’re comfy with the three that we’ve got. We have not essentially considered placing Gio in there or Christian [Pulisic] there or Timmy Weah there or Jordan Morris there. We have been extra centered on the three that we’ve got in camp.” 

[Forget tactics and lineups: For USMNT, it’s about having right mentality]

The 6-foot-1 Reyna is a harmful attacking participant when wholesome. He is a wise and technical ahead with sensible ball abilities and was the youngest American to look within the UEFA Champions League in 2020 (then 17), breaking the file previously set by Pulisic. He is extensively thought-about to be one of many biggest skills that U.S. Soccer has ever had. 

Over the previous yr, Reyna skilled accidents that restricted his availability for the nationwide staff throughout qualifying and likewise for his Bundesliga membership, Borussia Dortmund. He performed in his membership’s last three video games earlier than the World Cup break and for all intents and functions, he was deemed a wholesome and match member of Berhalter’s 26-man roster. 

Reyna instructed reporters that he felt “100% wholesome” after the Wales recreation regardless of not enjoying. Berhalter determined to convey on substitutes Brenden Aaronson, Wright, DeAndre Yedlin and Kellyn Acosta whereas the U.S. led 1-0, after which Morris got here on within the 88th minute. Berhalter stated that very same evening that Reyna might need skilled “slightly little bit of tightness” from a scrimmage earlier within the week towards Qatar membership staff Al-Gharafa SC, and famous they have been “constructing him up and suppose he can play a giant position within the match. The query is when.” Reyna then performed about 20 minutes within the second match towards England.

Asking Berhalter about Reyna’s standing has now grow to be A Factor. And the coach seems irritated by the road of questioning. However even former U.S. captain Landon Donovan needs to know what is going on on. 

“He comes into this match, we have all acquired him penciled in for the beginning lineup and rapidly, he does not step on the sector towards Wales and we’re considering, ‘What is going on on right here?'” Donovan stated on FOX earlier than the England match. “I am undecided what the fact is. He says one factor, Gregg says one other. I do not know, however we’d like this man on the sector if we will achieve success.” 

Maybe all questions will likely be answered on Tuesday evening in what’s arguably the largest recreation in U.S. Soccer historical past. Or maybe the thriller may proceed.

Iran vs. United States Preview: Will the USMNT make it out of the Group Stage?

Iran vs. United States Preview: Will the USMNT make it out of the Group Stage?

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Laken Litman covers faculty soccer, faculty basketball and soccer for FOX Sports activities. She beforehand wrote for Sports activities Illustrated, USA At the moment and The Indianapolis Star. She is the writer of “Robust Like a Lady,” revealed in spring 2022 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Title IX. Observe her on Twitter @LakenLitman.

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