Forward Gio Reyna, the player at the center of a three-month soap opera that has engulfed and embarrassed the US federation, was called up to the national team on Wednesday for Nations League matches with Grenada and El Salvador.
The roster announcement comes two days after US Soccer released a report detailing friction between World Cup coach Gregg Berhalter and the Reyna family, which began at last fall’s tournament in Qatar and left the roster in doubt. future of both men with the national team.
The report cleared Berhalter of any wrongdoing, but the federation has not decided whether to offer the coach a new contract. Meanwhile, Anthony Hudson, the US assistant in Qatar, leads the team. Hudson visited Reyna last month in Germany, where he plays for Borussia Dortmund, and called him back to the national team for the first time since the World Cup.
“It clearly got a bit more complex in the months after the World Cup, but as far as we are concerned, Gio is part of our program,” Hudson said in a statement. “He is a good guy and a great talent and he is evaluated like any other player. We make roster decisions based on what gives the team the best chance to win these games and we brought him in because we think he can help us do that.”
Results in Grenada on March 24 and against El Salvador on March 27 in Orlando, Florida would take the US to the Nations League Final Four and qualify for this summer’s Gold Cup. The United States won both tournaments under Berhalter two years ago and then reached the round of 16 at the World Cup.
The 24-player roster Hudson called up for the two games includes 13 players from the World Cup team, including forward Christian Pulisic, midfielder Weston McKennie and goalkeeper Matt Turner. Also named were Club América forward Alex Zendejas, a double national who decided to play for the USA, and defender Miles Robinson and goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who had a big part in World Cup qualifying but didn’t they were on the team in Qatar.
Missing are captain Tyler Adams, who recently suffered a hamstring injury, as well as LAFC midfielder Kellyn Acosta and defender Aaron Long, both on the World Cup squad.
The list includes players from club teams in 10 countries and 17 players under the age of 25. Robinson, who plays for Atlanta United, is the only MLS player on the team.
“First and foremost, our goal is to win both games,” said Hudson, who helped the US beat Serbia and draw Colombia this winter in his first games as interim coach. “From there, we want to maintain the standards we have set and continue to build on the achievements of the last four years. We come away from the World Cup knowing that we are capable of more and we are excited to continue moving this group forward.”
Goalkeepers: Ethan Horvath (Luton Town), Zack Steffen (Middlesbrough), Matt Turner (Arsenal)
Defenders: Sergiño Dest (AC Milan), Mark McKenzie (Genk), Tim Ream (Fulham), Bryan Reynolds (Westerlo), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Joe Scally (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Auston Trusty (Birmingham City) ) )
Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Leeds United), Johnny Cardoso (International), Luca de la Torre (Celta de Vigo), Weston McKennie (Leeds United), Yunus Musah (Valencia), Alan Soñora (Juárez)
Forward: Taylor Booth (Utrecht), Daryl Dike (West Bromwich Albion), Ricardo Pepi (Groningen), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Tim Weah (Lille), Alex Zendejas (Club America)