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Coach says USA “believes in Gio Reina” as he’s shown flashes that he’s our biggest offensive threat


A win over El Salvador in Orlando on Monday night guarantees the United States a spot in the CONCACAF Nations League semi-finals on a busy summer.

The USMNT will be looking forward to their trip to Las Vegas with a 1-0 win thanks to a strike from Ricardo Pepe early in the second half.

The last two matches – including the 7-1 win over Grenada last Friday – have seen Borussia Dortmund winger Gio Reina start in both matches after he was sent off during the 2022 World Cup.

This decision to bench him—made by then USMNT manager Greg Berhalter—led to a scandal between his boss and Reina’s parents Claudio and Daniel that continues to embroil American football to this day.

But after the match, caretaker manager Anthony Hudson – who recently claimed he had not considered taking on a full-time role – said he was pleased with Reyna’s performance – adding that the winger needed more playing time to enjoy the rest of the squad. a team.

Gio Reina started both matches for the USMNT in CONCACAF Nations League matches

Gio Reina at the World Cup with Greg Berhalter

Claudio and Daniel Reina (Gio in the yellow jersey)

It was Geo’s first start since the scandal erupted between his parents (right) and former USAF manager Greg Berhalter (left) over his lack of playing time in the World Cup.

“Gio’s performance overall, I thought was really good. We didn’t have the best of the first half, but I thought he showed flashes of being our biggest attacking threat.

“Then the second half, same thing. … Those CONCACAF matches where you play in the opponent’s half and there isn’t much space between the back line and the midfield, can make it difficult.

But we believe in him, he clearly has talent and tonight you see some of the things he does.

Maybe he needs more matches under his belt. Not having Tyler Adams here affects that. He’s someone who would have been perfect there.

But listen, we’re happy with it. We are glad he did. We are very pleased with the way he has been going this week in training. And, you know, I think we’re all in a position where we just want to keep looking forward.

Interim USMNT head coach Anthony Hudson said Rina's performance

Interim USMNT head coach Anthony Hudson said Rina’s performance “was really good overall.”

Hudson said the Dortmund winger 'showed flashes of being our biggest attacking threat

Hudson said the Dortmund winger ‘showed flashes of being our biggest attacking threat’

Meanwhile, Hudson also paid tribute to Pepe – the striker who scored the match-winning goal that sealed Al Ittihad’s trip to the Nations League semi-finals.

Pepe was struggling to regain his fitness while he was in Dutch Groningen, as his team occupies 17 points out of 18 in the Eredivisie standings, with 17 points.

But his scoring tonight took him up to six goals in total for his career for his country at the age of 20 years and 77 days. Only Christian Pulisic and Jozy Altidore can claim to have scored the same amount at a younger age.

Hudson praised Pepe for being able to put his struggles behind him to produce the team tonight.

“Really happy with it, for him,” said Hudson. His club team is (unfortunately) not in a great place in the table. And sometimes it can be difficult when you’re there and you’re kind of at the end of the table.

“I think when you get out of that environment, you go back into your national team environment, it kind of gives you a break.

Which I think helped him in and of itself. … We as employees, really appreciate it. We love him as a person, as a character, we believe in him. … he’s had a good week. I’m really glad he came and took his chances.

And to be fair, in both matches he could score quite a few goals. He has a lot of opportunities.

Hudson also praised striker Riccardo Pepe for getting back into scoring form with the North American Soccer Federation.

Hudson also praised striker Riccardo Pepe for getting back into scoring form with the North American Soccer Federation.

Hudson later added, “There was a group of guys that we went to, as a staff, we went out and watched them play live. Rico is one of them. And we watched him live a few times. There was a kind of class of guys like Rico that we watched really a lot.”

We had a lot of intense discussions. … One of the things we notice in his games is that this guy never stops working, never stops running behind the line. Shows an incredible attitude.

And again, I think I’ve said this before about players abroad: It’s not easy. He had his adversity while he was there. But when you watch him play there, his attitude is top notch.

“We really, really know Rico…we’ve welcomed them with open arms and he’s done a really good job.”

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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