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Berhalter cites muscle tightness concerns for decision not to play Gio Reyna in USMNT World Cup opener


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  1. Why did he choose Haji Wright instead of Jesus?
    Do you think he brought him on just to mark that tall dude on set pieces?
    The way the game changed wouldn’t Jesus been a better choice because he could drop in to help relieve pressure in the midfield?
    Then why Jordan after all that.. Because he’s had two big late goals and thought he could be the hero??
    I dunno, but I do know what everyone else knew – 3 points was a must and I don’t believe a word he says.. He botched it, period

  2. Gio has been quoted as saying that he felt great and ready to play. Whom do you believe, the player or the coach? I* believe the player. Berhalter’s stupid personnel decisions continue. We really needed someone like Reyna in the second half. And since Pulisic was poor in dead ball deliveries, we should try Reyna or Musah for that.

    • What did you expect?
      A guy like Gio is always going to say he’s 100% and he’s good to go.
      Manager’s lie but so do players.

      Gregg saved him for what he sees as the biggest game , England.

      There are excellent arguments for and against both approaches. In the end it’s a manager’s prerogative. Gregg could have beaten Wales w/o Gio but he botched it. Oh, well.

      I expect them to beat England and Gio will almost certainly be a big part of that.

      If they lose. Gregg will at least go down with all of his guns blazing.

      It’s ironic. What you see out there is 100% Gregg’s team . The ironic part is for it to succeed, Gregg has to be what he is not, a good game day manager. At least he’ll have two more teaching moments to prep him for 2026.

      • V: my select team were tournament geniuses and you do not save your best players for the hardest group game. it makes “sense” but misreads how to get your points and advance. what i was always taught was maximize the points that first game, hoping you could lock it up in 2 and rest anyone any good. failing that, you rotate for a difficult game 2 because you want your first choice ready for the deciding game 3. we are unlikely to win the group and an england result will be hard. so that game you try to keep the margin close. you run out the stars for the game you have to win, game 3.

        i think it’s an american ego thing where they want to run out our best and england’s best and hope we get a result. but then GB has an odd tic of trying to chase tiebreakers with his second string. they would be fresh but they aren’t the best players to be chasing a necessary result. think TnT in terms of what happens if we put this on a tired bunch of starters for yet another key game. i always thought the mistake there was we expended too much blowing out panama and didn’t take a closer result on that one but rest people to play trinidad.

        my concern is GB strikes me as a “scout” type who picks up something on videotape and uses it — but maybe the other team adjusts at halftime — and less like a chess player thinking through a three game multimove sequence.

    • Probably another example of him over thinking from the get go and under thinking what to do if everything doesn’t go according to plan

  3. If this is a guy with no injury history take the risk. This isn’t that. Gio missed most of last season, parts of this season already. It’s the right call if the leg is even a bit in question. Bottom line is if Zimmerman doesn’t have a mental break and give the penalty we win. Wales has control over the last 30 mins but really were not creating chances and didn’t look much threat to score.

    • JR,

      The bottom line is Zimmerman did have a brain fart and we did not win.

      “Wales has control over the last 30 mins but really were not creating chances and didn’t look much threat to score.”

      Wales stay within themselves because they know who they are. In that last 30 minutes they just needed to shut down the USMNT, which they did. And wait for the young, naive USMNT to make a mistake. Mistakes can be giving up a free kick anywhere near the goal. Otherwise, they were fine with one point.

      They next face a shaken Iran. If Iran has a great game in them they will probably play it against the USMNT. And Wales don’t fear England and will feel they can take a point from them.

      I expect the USMNT will beat England so that sets up another intense matchup with Iran.

  4. Subs were too late, but I’m not giving Gio “Backup QB of the Year” like most of you. That game was choppy and physical. Wales was exerting more pressure in the 2nd half while most of our mids were gassed. There’s no certainty that Gio exerts some sort of magical force that calms this game down, especially given who else was gassed and who was available to come on. Wes and Musah and Weah were gassed by 60, and Pulisic was in hero mode while getting hacked all over. Who was Gio supposed to exchange the ball with to “take the sting out.? Gio/Acosta is not a game changing partnership. I think the subs were late, but I agree with GGG not bringing on an injury prone youngster. Only thing worse than this draw would be this draw with an injured Gio.

    • they struggled to find the ball up high on outlets in the second half and if they had to dribble with multiple defenders they got stripped. i think his dribbling skills made him the perfect guy for that. i also think the lineup went so hustle and athlete for defense, what we needed was a technical element, some precision.

      i would have subbed on him and a target guy but i don’t even think we have a target guy rostered. i think GB thought he was so clever the idea was “wright will go vertical on them” but wright couldn’t hold the ball or beat them on the run. he was going for a home run and thus didn’t try to do the basic response. push some bodies back. put a holding player out there. put at least one guy who can dribble under duress.

      more pointedly, how often do we win tough games or make adjustments, ever, under this coach. there are no upsets. there are rarely nights where they play bad a half and we tweak something. you’re giving him a pass he hasn’t earned. stuff happens but a good coach steals you more of these close ones than maybe you should get on average.

  5. GB is always preaching about the courage to attack in his pressers. Where was GB’s courage to take a chance on Reyna to turn the game around in a game where a win would set the US up to get out of the first round.

    The US with a win vs Wales probably do not Reyna to beat Iran. And Pulisic, while he can pull off some magic, just did not seem to have it today. Why not Reyna for Pulisic, you would nothing in the magic front, but it would take real courage to take Pulisic off.

  6. “Berhalter cites muscle concern”
    The rest of us cite B.S.
    Wanna see what kind of intensity is needed to win games at a WC?
    That Saudi Arabia performance was unreal! What a game, glad I was up early to watch it – intensity for 90 minutes straight… this is why I love and hate the World Cup

    • it’s worse than that. “I think there was a little bit of tightness that we were guarding him against in Al-Gharafa in the training exercise as a precaution.” not only is he straining so hard for an excuse it’s “i think,” not a decisive expression, he uses a past tense “were” excuse that he places at their training center and not the field that day. player’s quote is he is “100%” and in that context the coach’s caution reads more like a judgement (like is he getting the altidore treatment for one too many pulls for this coach) or excuse. i personally think this coach gets some of the media eating out of his hand for someone who gets mediocre results and makes odd decisions.

  7. Unfortunately, we really needed Gio from the 60th minute on to help control possession and take the sting out of the match. I just don’t think Greg was comfortable with that approach so he brought on players that are more defensive or could press. According to Gio it was not a fitness issue and if Greg was using it as an excuse for playing Acosta instead, he missed it tactically which could cost us a spot in the next round.

    • Reyna should have replaced Pulisic. Who was struggling all second half. I don’t think Pulisic has done enough to be an unquestioned 90 minute player. He fades bad in second halves.

    • they needed to not just sub but shift the formation backwards and get more MF and maybe DF bodies on to reinstate how they were swarming wales at first. wales pushed up, you have to push back. i then agree that in the second half when we were getting pinned back he needed to put on a guy or two to receive outlets, hold and possess the ball, and relieve the pressure. a target striker (which i don’t even think he rostered) and a wing or mid who can dribble and pass. so, yeah, reyna. contrary to the commercial i think unrelenting pressure prompts mistakes.

      i then think at the end of the game play was going end to end but as you suggest GB had gone crude and hustling, and so we couldn’t execute anything. he seemed to think we could just defend the whole second half with his hustle subs, and that we didn’t need a release valve of either getting it out in possession or maybe getting a second to end it.


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