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We just can’t quit the United States men’s national team. It’s an off day in Qatar with the World Cup semifinals kicking off Tuesday, but we’re thick in drama regarding the USMNT. I’m Mike Goodman, and this is the Golazo Starting XI newsletter. We’ve got spilled tea on Gio Reyna to cover.
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Reyna was apparently a problem for Berhalter
Here’s Reyna’s stat line from four matches at the World Cup.
There was considerable consternation at the time about why Reyna wasn’t seeing the field more, especially given the relatively tame attack on field. Now we have some Reyna answers. The bouncing ball on this is tricky, so follow us along here. Basically, USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter spoke at a conference and made some relatively scathing remarks about one player who was unprepared and failed to meet expectations in Qatar. He says this player had to get up and apologize to his teammates and that his teammates held him accountable for his actions.
It was later reported by the Athletic that the player he was talking about in those remarks was Reyna, whose lack of effort in a scrimmage before the opening game was evident among his teammates. It apparently got so bad that the players narrowly avoided voting to send him home by a 13-12 count, according to Jason McIntyre. That report, however, has also been denied.
What does it all mean for the USMNT going forward? and points to Weston McKennie as an example of a player who overcame adversity (he was suspended for two World Cup qualifying matches by Berhalter for breaking team rules).
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Goodbye time for some of the world’s top stars
In a quadrennial tradition unlike any other, the world’s biggest soccer stars are not-quite retiring from their national teams on Twitter after getting eliminated from the World Cup. Look, this tournament only comes around once every four years, so it’s not all that surprising that guys in their 30s — in some cases their upper 30s even — feel the weight of age when they get sent home. For Ronaldo at 37 and currently without a team, it seems reasonable to expect this to be his last go-round. For Neymar, who is only 30, it remains to be seen if he’s got another one in him. After all, when 2026 rolls around, he’ll be younger than Lionel Messi is now, and Messi is currently tearing it up on the way to the semifinals.
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