Gio Reyna can’t stop scoring game-winners for Borussia Dortmund

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Gio Reyna is back making a massive impact for his club team, Borussia Dortmund of the German Bundesliga, even while he remains a controversial figure within the USMNT.

Reyna has scored game-winning goals in back-to-back matches for the storied German side after coming in as a late substitution both times. His strike in the 78th minute Sunday from near the top of the penalty box came in his first game since the 2022 World Cup, and proved the difference in Dortmund’s 4-3 win over FC Augsburg.

Reyna then scored another game-winner off a Sébastien Haller header during stoppage time of Dortmund’s match against FSV Mainz 05 on Wednesday, celebrating wildly with his teammates afterward.

Reyna is a central figure in the current controversy surrounding the USMNT and Gregg Berhalter, who coached the team in that World Cup. Despite being widely regarded as one of the most talented players on the United States roster, Reyna saw limited time on the pitch in Qatar, only appearing as a substitute in the two of the team’s four games — its scoreless group stage draw against England and its 3-1 loss to the Netherlands in the opening round of the knockout stage. 

Reports later emerged that Reyna’s playing time was due to a lack of focus he was showing in USMNT training sessions and there was even a team vote over whether to send the 20-year-old home during the World Cup. 

Berhalter himself alluded to the incident in detail during comments he made to a leadership conference soon after the USMNT was eliminated. The comments were supposed to be off-the-record and Berhalter never named the player he was discussing, but it quickly became apparent after the comments leaked that they were about Reyna.

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On Jan. 3, Berhalter posted a lengthy statement to Twitter admitting that he had kicked his now-wife Rosalind outside a bar in 1991 when the two were 18-year-olds that had just begun dating. In the statement, Gregg Berhalter said he went public with the incident in response to a “blackmail attempt.” 

The following day, Gio’s mother Danielle Reyna took responsibility for alerting the U.S. Soccer Federation about the incident and reports emerged that Gio’s father Claudio Reyna — a former USMNT captain and teammate of Berhalter, USSF sporting director Earnie Stewart and now-former USMNT general manager Brian McBride — had threatened to reveal damaging information about Berhalter during the World Cup. The Berhalters and Reynas were longtime family friends, and Rosalind Berhalter and Danielle Reyna were college roommates at the time of the incident between Rosalind and Gregg.

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The USSF has opened an investigation into the entire affair. Gregg Berhalter is currently away from the team after his contract expired at the end of 2022, with assistant coach Anthony Hudson taking over the interim head job for the team’s January camp that includes friendlies Wednesday vs. Serbia and Saturday vs. Colombia. Berhalter remains a candidate to stay on as USMNT head coach pending the results of the investigation, though his chances of staying have reportedly diminished in recent weeks.

Gio Reyna has not spoken publicly about his parents’ actions, but after scoring his goal Wednesday, his celebration seemed to allude to the controversy as he made a talking gesture with his hand then plugged both of his ears. Several of his Dortmund teammates joined in the celebration.

Reyna is not with the USMNT for its January camp, but neither are several other top players from the team’s 2022 World Cup roster as they are in the middle of their European club seasons. That list includes the currently injured Christian Pulisic of Chelsea, Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson of Leeds United and Weston McKennie of Juventus.

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