U.S. soccer should fireplace Gregg Berhalter in an effort to save Gio Reyna

When Joe Torre was accountable for the Dodgers greater than a decade in the past, he greater than as soon as joked that Matt Kemp was the form of participant who might get a supervisor fired.

Kemp was an unproven 23-year-old on the time. Primarily a basketball participant by highschool, he hadn’t performed as a lot baseball as different main leaguers his age, however his expertise was simple. Torre’s light-hearted comment was acknowledgement of the supervisor’s duty to assist Kemp understand his potential.

U.S. nationwide soccer staff coach Gregg Berhalter has his personal Matt Kemp and his identify is Giovanni Reyna.

Like Kemp then, Reyna has huge upside, greater than any attacking U.S. participant earlier than him.

Like Kemp then, the 20-year-old winger is temperamental.

⚽ 2022 Qatar World Cup

Like Kemp on the Dodgers then, how Reyna develops may have a major influence on the U.S. nationwide staff’s future, solely Berhalter doesn’t have the choice of buying and selling him.

Now, with Berhalter out of contract, it’s apparent what U.S. Soccer should do subsequent.

The federation has to search for a brand new coach.

Greater than per week faraway from USA’s World Cup elimination, Reyna’s restricted position within the match continues to be a topic of controversy, however this isn’t about what transpired in Qatar or who was accountable. That is in regards to the World Cup this nation will co-host with Mexico and Canada in 4 years and the truth that the U.S. may have nearly no likelihood of advancing into the latter levels of the knockout rounds with out Reyna on board.

Reyna has recognized Berhalter his complete life — Reyna’s father, Claudio, performed on the nationwide staff with Berhalter — however their relationship now seems to be nearing a degree past restore.

Within the wake of what appeared like a smear marketing campaign towards him, Reyna posted a message on Instagram on Monday that learn, partially, he was “extremely disappointed anyone on the U.S. men’s staff would contribute to it.”

“Coach Berhalter has always said that issues that arise with the team will stay ‘in house’ so we can focus on team unity and progress,” Reyna wrote.

Gio Reyna walks off the field after the U.S. loses to the Netherlands at the World Cup on Dec. 3.

Gio Reyna walks off the sphere after the U.S. loses to the Netherlands on the World Cup on Dec. 3.

(Ebrahim Noroozi / Related Press)

One in all them has to go, and it’s Berhalter.

Berhalter could be changed, Reyna in all probability can’t, and it’s so simple as that.

The issues between them initially surfaced throughout a Twitter Areas livestream I hosted earlier than the second U.S. World Cup sport, which was towards England. My visitor, former U.S. nationwide staff ahead Eric Wynalda, mentioned there was “internal strife” with Berhalter because of his choice to not play Reyna within the match opener towards Wales.

Final week, after the U.S. was eradicated by the Netherlands within the spherical of 16, Berhalter spoke at a management symposium in New York. In what U.S. Soccer now claims was meant to be an off-the-record dialog, Berhalter mentioned he was near sending house from Qatar an unnamed participant who “was clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field.” The participant was later revealed by a number of media shops to be Reyna, with the Athletic reporting that he demonstrated “an alarming lack of effort” in coaching. Whether or not Berhalter or his assistants bought out Reyna to the Athletic doesn’t matter. What Berhalter mentioned on the symposium and the main points within the Athletic’s meticulously-reported story have been shut sufficient to create cheap suspicion. Generally notion is actuality.

Reyna acknowledged in his Instagram publish that he didn’t prepare properly however mentioned his habits was influenced by one thing Berhalter informed him earlier than the match: “… that my role at the tournament would be very limited.”

Reyna had spent the vast majority of the yr sidelined with accidents however performed properly within the weeks main as much as the World Cup for Borussia Dortmund of Germany’s Bundesliga. On Nov. 5, he scored in a 66-minute look towards Bochum. Throughout the subsequent six days, he registered a mixed 75 minutes in matches towards Wolfsburg and Monchengladbach.

He displayed the qualities which have made him a prized prospect, demonstrating the power to make one thing out of nothing. Between him and Christian Pulisic, the U.S. now had two gamers like that; three, if Brenden Aaronson was additionally counted.

Nevertheless, the U.S. spent the vast majority of the match with solely one among these gamers on the sphere at a time, which was a failure on Berhalter’s half. Even after it turned clear two or three years in the past that Josh Sargent wouldn’t develop right into a world-class striker, Berhalter insisted on taking part in with a conventional No. 9, which is how the U.S. ended up beginning the unremarkable Haji Wright towards England. The U.S. was locked into Berhalter’s model of a 4-3-3, because the coach hadn’t beforehand experimented with a false 9 or a two-forward system. With Pulisic taking part in on the left flank, Berhalter opted for the dependable however unspectacular Tim Weah on the other wing. The staff scored solely thrice in 4 video games.

U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter salutes supporters following a loss to the Netherlands at the World Cup on Dec. 3.

U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter salutes supporters following a loss to the Netherlands on the World Cup on Dec. 3.

(Francisco Seco / Related Press)

This alone ought to increase questions on Berhalter’s {qualifications} for main the U.S. into the 2026 World Cup, whatever the among the strengths the coach confirmed. As a lot because the midfield trio of Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah was celebrated, what distinguished this U.S. staff from its predecessors have been Pulisic, Reyna and Aaronson. At minimal, two of them ought to have been beginning, and ideally all three.

Integrating Reyna, Aaronson or another up-and-coming attacker into the lineup would be the problem for whoever is teaching the staff through the subsequent 4 years. Latest developments have compromised Berhalter’s capability to try this. A brand new coach would place the U.S. a step forward of the place it’s proper now.