Gio Reyna has been hot off the bench for his Bundesliga side. (Keith Furman/FrontRowSoccer.com)
By Michael Lewis
For the third successive time since he returned from the World Cup, Gio Reyna came off the bench to score for Borussia Dortmund in its 5-1 triumph over Freiburg at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.
Eleven minutes after replacing Marco Reuss in the 71st minute, Reyna scored the final goal of the Bundesliga match.
After slotting the ball home, Reyna did his usual celebration, putting his hands to his ears, blotting out sounds.
There is a good reason why as Reyna had been embroiled in a controversy with U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter.
During the World Cup, Berhalter told Reyna that he wasn’t going to see much action in Qatar. Reyna did not start and was used as a substitute.
Reyna’s mother, the former Danielle Egan, who played for the North Babylon Strikers (Long Island Junior Soccer League) complained to U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart and relayed to him about an incident in which Berhalter had kicked his future wife, Rosalind Santana while the two were dating at the University of North Carolina 31 years ago. Danielle Reyna and Rosalind were close friends from their youth soccer days and were roommates in college.
Upon returning to the United States after the Americans were eliminated by the Netherlands in the Round of 16, Berhalter told a symposium that he and the staff considered sending a player home. He did not reveal who the player was. What Berhalter had said at the event was not supposed to be on the record, but the organization mistakenly put it out for public consumption.
Eventually, the media ascertained it was Reyna, who is the son of former U.S. men’s international Claudio Reyna.
In the aftermath, Berhalter was put under investigation by U.S. Soccer for the incident. Since his contract expired on Dec. 31 and his future with U.S. Soccer unsettled, Anthony Hudson coached the Americans in two friendlies in Southern California last month.