The United States Men’s National Team won the CONCACAF Nations League Final on Sunday night with a 2-0 victory over Canada.
What exactly does that mean in the grand scheme of things?
Nothing, largely. But the US did so by defeating both rivals Mexico and Canada in a four-day span by a combined 5-0 score.
At the center of both dominant performances was Gio Reyna. Reyna, who will turn 21 in November, pulled the strings from the midfield in each of the two victories.
In the final against Canada, he assisted on both USA goals and was widely regarded as the best player on the field.
Much of Reyna’s success came due to playing in his preferred No. 10 role in the midfield. He rarely played that role under previous USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter.
In fact, Berhalter barely played Reyna at all in his most recent opportunities. The young Borussia Dortmund star played just 53 combined minutes in four World Cup matches. That includes just an eight-minute cameo in a 0-0 group stage draw with England.
Berhalter then slammed Reyna over issues with his attitude while in Qatar. Reyna responded via an Instagram message calling out the manager.
Later, it was revealed that Reyna’s parents (including his father Claudio, a former USMNT star), attempted to blackmail Berhalter in order to cost him his job.
The plan seemed to work in the end as Berhalter parted ways with the USSF following his contract expiring in 2022. But that was just the beginning.
US Soccer recently announced Berhalter will return as the men’s national team manager. His contract runs through the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Now fans are calling out the former and future manager after Reyna’s star showing in the final.
— 𝑺𝒆𝒕𝒉 🇺🇸 (@dejountraeszn) June 19, 2023
There it is!
First EVER Balogun goal for the US.
It is actually criminal that Berhalter did not play Reyna more in the World Cup. How he got the job again….SHOCKING.
— EiF (@EiFSoccer) June 19, 2023
Gio Reyna is in the role #USMNT twitter has been saying he should be in for 2 and a half years. Ya know us folk who have been saying for months and the past days that bringing Berhalter back is a bad decision. It’s a crime Gio didn’t get a chance at the World Cup. He is special.
— USACFC (@USACFC_) June 19, 2023
Ultimately, fans will just have to live with Berhalter whether they like it or not. But it’s clear Reyna has won the war of public perception.