Gio Reyna scores a defiant goal amid USMNT drama in first game after World Cup


Gio Reyna celebrates after scoring a stunning winner for Borussia Dortmund in their first game since the World Cup. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

For well over a month, Gio Reyna has been in the eye of an American soccer storm. He had to address his immature behavior at the 2022 World Cup and then watch powerlessly as his helicopter parents turned a standard soccer saga into a sad, ugly, acrimonious soap opera.

There was only one thing he could do to pause the drama, draw public attention for a moment — and on Sunday he did it.

For a month and a half, with the German Bundesliga on winter break, he was unable to react on a football pitch. On Sunday, in Borussia Dortmund’s first game from the break, Reyna came off the bench and scored a world-class game winner.

After smacking a half-volley past Augsburg keeper Rafal Gikiewicz to put Dortmund 4-3 ahead, Reyna pranced towards the corner flag and nibbled his fingers in a speaking motion, an inescapable reference to all the chatter around him hereabouts.

He also brought a finger to his lips in one quiet motion.

He put a hand to his ear.

Then he put his index fingers in both ears.

Since December 3rd, Reyna has been the center of attention for everything but his ridiculous talent. In training before and during the World Cup group stage, in which he ultimately only played eight minutes, he admittedly showed an appalling lack of effort. Then, after the US men’s national team retired, head coach Gregg Berhalter told a leadership conference he almost sent home an unnamed Qatari player. That player, it soon turned out, was Reyna.

On December 11, the day these comments were erroneously published, Reyna’s parents, Danielle and Claudio, went to US Soccer Director Earnie Stewart, Berhalter’s boss, and briefed Stewart on an incident in the early 1990s involving Berhalter and his current Mrs. Rosalind were involved. Stewart felt compelled to report this. US Soccer launched an investigation that forced Gregg and Rosalind to speak publicly about the incident for the first time.

in a (n statement in early January, Gregg explained how he kicked Rosalind after an argument at a bar in North Carolina when they were teenagers. The couple have since reconciled and married; Rosalind had forgiven Gregg; the Reynas discovered Rosalind’s trauma some 31 years later.

It’s unclear if Gio Reyna knew of or was involved in his parents’ actions. He addressed his World Cup behavior in a December 12 statement but has not spoken publicly since.

Instead, he spoke at Signal Iduna Park on Sunday, just eight minutes after his first opportunity to do so.

Reyna revealed why he will be a key player for the USMNT going forward, whether Berhalter remains coach or not. He’s still only 20. He’s arguably the most technically gifted player America has ever produced. He will certainly continue to let these gifts speak.

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