Gio Reyna starts for USMNT in dominant victory over Grenada
Gio Reyna started in his first match with the U.S. after his parents disparaged then-coach Gregg Berhalter for his lack of playing time at the World Cup, a 7-1 rout of 173rd-ranked host Grenada in the CONCACAF Nations League on Friday night at St. George’s.
Ricardo Pepi and Weston McKennie had two goals each and Alejandro Zendejas scored his first international goal. Christian Pulisic and Brenden Aaronson also scored for the No. 13 Americans, who had never won by a 7-1 score.
Pepi ended a 10-match international scoreless streak when he put the U.S. ahead with a fourth-minute header off Pulisic’s cross. Pulisic and Luca de La Torre had two assists each for the Americans, who for the first time since Major League Soccer launched in 1996 failed to field at least one MLS player.
Berhalter used Reyna sparingly at the World Cup and the 20-year-old nearly was sent home by Berhalter for lack of hustle in training. The player’s parents, former U.S. captain Claudio Reyna and former women’s player Danielle Egan Reyna, notified the U.S. Soccer Federation of a 1992 domestic violence incident involving Berhalter and the woman he later married — Danielle Egan’s former college roommate.
The USSF commissioned a law firm to investigate and appointed Anthony Hudson interim coach after Berhalter’s contract expired Dec. 31. The law firm said there was no legal impediment to retaining Berhalter, who remains a candidate, and the USSF put off a coaching decision until after a new sporting director is hired, probably this summer.
In the first competitive U.S. match since the World Cup, Reyna started in central midfield rather than his wing role under Berhalter. He played until the 64th minute.
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Auston Trusty made his U.S. debut, paired in central defense with Mark McKenzie, who got his first start since October 2021. Forward Taylor Booth made his debut in the 64th.
Right back Bryan Reynolds made his first start since December 2021. The U.S. starting lineup included goalkeeper Matt Turner and left back Joe Scally, McKennie along with Luca de la Torre, Pulisic, Reyna and Aaronson in midfield, and Pepi at striker following his omission from the World Cup roster.
The U.S. improved to 5-0 against Grenada with a 22-3 goals advantage.