USMNT players want Gio Reyna to start at the World Cup but he has FALLEN OUT with coach Gregg Berhalter after refusing to LIE about an injury for Wales game, claims ex-USA player Eric Wynalda
Former USMNT forward Eric Wynalda has claimed there is a ‘rift’ between Gio Reyna and Gregg Berhalter after the USA coach initially suggested an injury was the reason he didn’t feature vs. Wales.
Reyna didn’t fare much better vs. England, entering the match in the 83rd minute, and Wynalda claimed before that match that his absence from the XI has caused issues even within the USA camp.
‘With Gio Reyna out of the lineup right now, which has been a massive controversy within the team, even his own teammates are wanting him on the field and it seems to be some internal strife with the manager Gregg Berhalter,’ he said in a Twitter spaces with the LA Times.
Gregg Berhalter’s decision to bench Gio Reyna has left many confused
Eric Wynalda is seen taking part in FOX’s Champions League TV coverage in 2015
‘I don’t know how much I should comment on that but I have been trying to console Gio’s father [and former USMNT teammate] Claudio for the last couple of hours, and well, the last couple of days with everything going on.
‘He was fit to play, Berhalter did lie to the media and say that it was an injury, asked the player to kinda go along with that story which caused a rift between the two of them. And now he’s on the bench, which is really unfortunate, this situation should’ve been handled very differently.’
While Berhalter said there was a ‘last-minute check done’ on the oft-injured Reyna before the 1-1 draw with Wales, the winger said he felt ‘really good’ after the match.
Berhalter later clarified that Reyna’s absence vs. Wales was a ‘coach’s decision’ and he was available for the match.
Wynalda, who has held various coaching jobs, also had more general criticism for the USA boss.
He called Berhalter ‘extremely rigid’ and bemoaned the lack of the USMNT’s use of different systems in recent years.
‘My frustration with Gregg Berhalter is that he has implemented a system and he is very demanding within that system,’ he said. ‘You must play the way he wants you to play or you don’t play at all.’
To Berhalter’s credit, he surprised the Three Lions by employing a 4-4-2 setup that unsettled the favorites for the match.
Wynalda last coached the USL Championship’s Las Vegas Lights previously from 2018-20.
But despite the USA’s impressive result vs. England, it didn’t seem like Wynalda will be fully convinced by Berhalter any time soon.
‘It’s not really about teaching them how to play soccer… it’s not about the player profile that the manager wants, he said before the game.
‘It’s the player profile that you’re given, and then you gotta figure out a way to put that puzzle together. And that’s what he’s really struggling with, that’sjust not something he seemingly understands.’