Gregg Berhalter explains Gio Reyna's absence against Wales

Lizzy Becherano
USA head coach Gregg Berhalter explains Gio Reyna's omission from game vs. Wales.
USA head coach Gregg Berhalter explains Gio Reyna's omission from game vs. Wales. / Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/GettyImages

The US men’s national team kicked off their 2022 World Cup campaign with a 1-1 draw against Wales, as goals from Tim Weah and Gareth Bale earned each side one point in the Group B standings.

The USMNT opened up the scoring in the first half, after Weah connected with Christian Pulisic to find the back of the net. But the Americans' dominance came to a crashing halt in the second 45, seeing Wales come back. Ultimately, it was a foul by Walker Zimmerman on Bale inside the box that propelled the Welsh to get the equalizer through a penalty.

Head coach Gregg Berhalter featured several players that made little to no contribution to the USMNT during the Concacaf qualifying cycle, or months leading up to the tournament. Jordan Morris, Tim Ream and Josh Sargent all found time on the field, but Gio Reyna was nowhere to be found. 

The Borussia Dortmund figure, arguably one of the USMNT’s brightest young talents, remained on the bench for the entirety of the match. Injury rumors began to spread, but Reyna has since confirmed he is fit.

“[I feel] OK. A little bit of tightness over the last few days,” Reyna said. “But I played six weeks in a row with Dortmund before…I feel great. I feel really good…I felt ready to go. But it was just [Berhalter’s] decision.”

But Berhalter contradicted the player, citing “hamstring tightness” before explaining his decision to bench Reyna.

“We’re building him up,” Berhalter said. “And we think he can play a big role in this tournament. The question is, when. And hopefully, on Friday, he’ll be one further step ahead.”

During the match, former US women’s national team player Allie Long noted Reyna was seen “shaking his head” and “putting his hands over his face” while brushing off coaches that tried to console him when Berhalter opted to bring Morris into the match.

The USMNT still have two Group Stage matches ahead of them, facing England on Friday, November 25 and Iran on Tuesday, November 29.