Ahead of the World Cup, USMNT’s Gio Reyna is thriving

COLOGNE, Germany — If one had monitored Gio Reyna’s standing in Borussia Dortmund’s Bundesliga match Saturday strictly by the time of his entrance and exit, alarm bells would absolutely have gone off.

Dortmund’s terrific US teenager left in the 84th minute after getting into late in the first half. Substitutes aren’t substituted except they’re injured.

For greater than a yr, each time the clever attacker appeared to show the nook, muscular accidents stalled his can’t-miss profession — a profession that had rocketed out of the shadows of his father, Hall of Famer Claudio Reyna, and perforated the international scene.

Immensely proficient, sure. But sturdy?

With the World Cup quick approaching, any arduous fall, signal of discomfort or sudden absence has raised considerations in Dortmund and US nationwide staff circles. And so on Saturday, the field rating confirmed Reyna getting into in the thirty second minute and leaving earlier than the finish of Dortmund’s 1-0 victory over Schalke.

The substitution was not, nonetheless, as a result of of harm however fairly was half of his membership’s rigorously curated plan — a lot to US Coach Gregg Berhalter’s approval — of managing his minutes.

The USMNT, dealing with a good World Cup time-frame, begins camp in Germany

Reyna, 19, was advantageous. In truth, he was higher than advantageous, contributing to the build-up of Youssoufa Moukoko’s 78th-minute objective. Two days earlier than the US coaching camp opened, the viewers at Dortmund’s madhouse, Signal Iduna Park, included Berhalter and greater than two dozen US staffers.

“They have been all the method up there” behind the north objective, Reyna mentioned throughout an interview at the US staff resort Monday. “If they’d have requested me earlier than, I might have gotten them higher tickets.”

The group, he added, “could not have come to a greater recreation.”

It was a reference to the match itself, the Ruhr area rumble often called the Revierderby, however may’ve utilized to what the delegation witnessed from him.

After lacking most of Dortmund’s 2021-22 season and the bulk of the US World Cup marketing campaign, Reyna is getting nearer to full-time work. He has made 4 Bundesliga appearances as an alternative, recorded two assists in a sub’s position in opposition to FC Copenhagen in the UEFA Champions League and began in opposition to Manchester City in that continental competitors final week.

He is anticipated to see some motion in the final two US tuneups for the World Cup: vs. Japan on Friday in Düsseldorf, Germany, and Saudi Arabia subsequent Tuesday in Murcia, Spain.

Barring main setbacks in the subsequent seven weeks — and that is all the time a priority with him — Reyna is virtually sure of making the 26-man roster headed to Qatar.

“I’m getting there,” he mentioned. “I’m nonetheless a bit of bit letting issues include time. It will come. I’m fairly near being the place I need to be.”

The recurring setbacks offered as many psychological challenges as bodily assessments.

“I’ve gotten stronger via all of it,” Reyna mentioned. “It wasn’t simply the bodily points. I labored rather a lot on every thing over the summer season and thru the rehab course of.”

His US teammates say they’ve seen a happier and extra assured participant.

“When [the injuries] hold taking place and taking place, we have been all heartbroken for him,” winger Brenden Aaronson mentioned. “I used to be sending him messages, telling him to maintain going. To see his mentality now and to see him pushing via it, I believe it has solely made his character stronger.”

Reyna had been on the quick monitor since age 17, when he grew to become the youngest American to look in a Bundesliga match, breaking Christian Pulisic’s document by about two months. In 2020-21, he made 30 begins, together with 4 in the Champions League, and scored seven targets throughout all competitions.

The following season was interrupted early by a hamstring harm suffered in the World Cup qualifying opener in El Salvador. Multiple setbacks extended his absence.

This season, Dortmund has executed a deliberate plan, cautious to not rush him again. Late final month, as a last-minute precaution after Reyna mentioned he did not really feel fairly proper, the membership held him out of a match in opposition to Hertha Berlin.

“It would not make sense to danger the subsequent setback,” Coach Edin Terzic mentioned after the recreation. “We’ll proceed to construct him up cautiously in the hope that he’ll bounce again to full capability. We should be taught from the previous. We’d fairly go with out him for one or two matches than go with out him for months.”

Reyna praised the membership’s cautious strategy, though he mentioned he is “very desperate to play each recreation 90 minutes.” “Of course, it isn’t potential now,” he mentioned. “I’m engaged on it. I’m not distant.”

Consecutive appearances totaling 114 minutes over 5 days final week was “a great signal,” he mentioned.

Following Reyna’s influential efficiency in opposition to Copenhagen two weeks in the past, Terzic shared Dortmund’s happiness about Reyna.

“One may see the pleasure” in Reyna’s recreation, he mentioned. “It’s extremely good how he accelerates the recreation and brings his creativity.”

The subsequent step for Reyna is ramping up his enjoying time with Dortmund and staying injury-free earlier than the World Cup, which might be his first in soccer’s spectacle following his father’s look on 4 US rosters between 1994 and 2006.

The youthful Reyna remembers rising up in suburban New York and going via his father’s “massive bag of jerseys” that he had acquired through Premier League postgame swaps. The assortment consists of Steven Gerrard, Thierry Henry and Wayne Rooney.

Gio Reyna’s most prized jersey is from French celebrity Kylian Mbappe, secured after a Champions League round-of-16 recreation in 2020.

“It was with no followers, so it was fairly simple to speak to individuals,” he defined. “Our groups bought right into a battle. I used to be enjoying proper wing and he was left wing. We have been on the different facet from the battle. We did not actually run over and become involved. So I simply requested him throughout the battle, ‘Hey, can I’ve your shirt later?’ He mentioned, ‘Yeah, positive.’ “

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