Gio Reyna started his first game for the US after his parents belittled then-coach Gregg Berhalter for his lack of playing time in the World Cup, a 7-1 win over the world’s 173rd-ranked host, Grenada, in the CONCACAF Nations League on Friday night in San Jorge.
Ricardo Pepi and Weston McKennie each scored two goals 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 score of 7-1.
Pepi ended a 10-game international goalless streak when he put the USA ahead with a fourth-minute header off Pulisic’s cross. Pulisic and Luca de La Torre each had two assists 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 was almost sent home by Berhalter for lack of hustle in training. The player’s parents, former US captain Claudio Reyna and former women’s player Danielle Egan Reyna, notified the US Soccer Federation of a 1992 domestic violence incident involving Berhalter and the woman with the one he later married, Danielle Egan’s former college roommate.
The USSF commissioned a law firm to investigate and named Anthony Hudson interim coach after Berhalter’s contract expired on December 31. a new sports director is hired, probably this summer.
In the USA’s first competitive game since the World Cup, Reyna started in central midfield in lieu of his wing role under Berhalter. He played until the 64th minute.
Auston Trusty made his US debut, paired at center back with Mark McKenzie, who made his first start since October 2021. Forward Taylor Booth made his debut at 64.
Right back Bryan Reynolds made his first start since December 2021. The USA starting lineup included goaltender Matt Turner and left back Joe Scally, McKennie along with Luca de la Torre, Pulisic, Reyna and Aaronson in midfield , and Pepi as a striker after his omission from the World Cup roster.
The United States improved to 5-0 against Grenada with a 22-3 goal advantage.