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Why Gio Reina is the X Factor for the USMNT at the 2022 World Cup

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AL-RAYAN, QATAR – It’s no secret that the United States men’s national team he is going to World Cup 2022 Healthier than it has been in a long time.

Weston McKinneyAnd the Christian PulisicAnd the Tim Weah These key contributors have all missed significant time over the past year in addition to injuries. As it stands, they should each be available and ready to play when the Americans open their group stage slate on Monday vs. Wells (2 p.m. EST, the FOX app and the FOX Sports app).

So must another very important player: the 20-year-old striker John Rina. Perhaps the most naturally talented of any member of the 26-man US roster, Reina barely played through the World Cup Qualifiers due to a severe hamstring tear followed by a string of setbacks. But his return to something approaching full fitness after almost a full calendar year on the sidelines could spell the difference between success or failure for the USMNT in Qatar.

Pulisic, Champions League winner: “He’s a great player” Chelsea The American winger and leader said Wednesday that Reina, like Pulisic, is a product of German talent incubator Borussia Dortmund. “We need him in this team and when he’s healthy we’re even better.”

For starters, Reyna is one of the kings of American football. His father, Claudio Reyna, has played in three World Cup finals for the USMNT, captaining the team in two of them. His mother, Danielle Egan, is a former USA Women’s National Team player who won four national titles in four years with the University of North Carolina.

Geo, as he is known, is considered one of the best guys in the sport. He is the youngest American to appear in the UEFA Champions League. And now, with his seemingly unstoppable course slowed first by the pandemic and then by his own insane injuries, he has a chance to be… The Penetrating player for the youngest team in the World Cup.

And when asked by FOX Sports if he doubted he would return in time, Rina told reporters Wednesday after training the US national team at Al Gharafa Stadium on the outskirts of Doha, “I always knew I would be ready for this moment.” “I think it’s always been in my head too: make sure I’m ready for the World Cup.”

Giovanni Reyna: Youngest American to play in the Bundesliga

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Giovanni Reyna: Youngest American to play in the Bundesliga

Meet the youngest American to play in the Bundesliga, Giovanni Reyna. Dortmund has once again found a star on the rise.

Boasting his father’s silky touch, uncommon football intelligence and his mother’s all-around athleticism, Reyna offers a different dimension to USA coach Greg Berhalter – even if he’s still not quite capable of playing the 90 minutes of the Americans. Three matches from the first round. It’s a game changer. And his presence alone should give the USMNT a boost.

“He has this attitude about him: When he steps on the field, he changes,” said US goaltender Matt Turner. “For a young kid, it’s like a leader on a team. I don’t think he knows that yet, but I can see that in him.”

What you can’t see are nerves. Perhaps because of his lineage, Rina is unfazed. Not only was he upset by the enormity of playing in front of a world class crowd for the first time in his young career, he seemed to see it almost as his destiny.

“It’s something you dream about your whole life and it’s what you work for,” he said before quickly adding, “But now that you’re here, we gotta perform.”

Gio Reina scores the USMNT’s first career free kick goal, complicates matters with Panama, 1-1

Gio Reina scores the USMNT's first career free kick goal, complicates matters with Panama, 1-1
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It was his first USMNT goal and he became the USMNT’s third youngest all-time scorer.

Reina always expected to play in this World Cup doesn’t mean last year plus was easy. On two separate occasions last season, he returned to the Dortmund squad only to cut himself and walk off the field in tears. The second season ended his 2021-22 season and cost him the start of the season plus four All-American appearances in June.

Not wanting to risk anything, the Bundesliga have managed Reina’s minutes closely this season. That patience has paid off recently, as Reyna appeared in each of the Black & Yellow’s 10 matches before the World Cup break.

“I feel good, I feel strong,” said Reina, who will wear the same number 21 shirt his father wore at the 1998 World Cup. “Obviously he’s still managing a few things [and] It will take some time, but I’m ready to help the team here.”

Just getting to this point is a reward for his patience.

“The World Cups don’t come around very often,” he said. “It’s a special moment.”

It may be even more special for his mum and dad, who will arrive in Qatar two days before the Americans’ opener.

“They’ll probably cry when I play the first game,” said Reyna, who hasn’t seen his parents in months.

“I’m sure it would mean a lot to them.”

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Doug McIntyre is a football writer for FOX Sports. Prior to joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a writer for ESPN and Yahoo Sports and covered the United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cup tournaments. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.


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