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Gio-Political Conflict: Berhalter and Reyna need to come clean on World Cup controversy

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  1. Basically, what we are talking about here is a spat between two guys who had some disappointments at the WC. Both of them have, however, been pretty respectful of the other while (I hope) being truthful about the facts.

    Of course, the facts get muddled by “reports” from 3rd parties some of whom have no first hand knowledge and spurt forth comments based on rumor and falsehoods or simply what they think might have happened.

    An England supporter would be shocked that this is the worst bit of conflict that come to light. fors things involving the English team, They have better conspiracy theories and seem to revel more in casting blame with even less concern for accuracy. Someone said the best way to motivate an Englishman is to belittle him. It is something the English football fans and journalists have taken to heart in the past.

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  2. The guys on the ISWT podcast just said the “vote” was not taken by the players, it was the coaching staff and they voted to not send him home, and that vote was 9-8.
    Regardless of where you stand on this issue that info should have never been made public in any setting

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      • That was my first question!!
        I can only share what I heard and that’s what Conrad said….. My buddy asked me if the locker room attendant in charge of shoelaces also got a vote

      • According to Wikipedia there are 9 members of the coaching staff. That wouldn’t include McBride who possibly could have been involved. Then perhaps leadership council members (whomever that is). Media relations staff and medical might also have been included since Gio’s training performance and media availability were effected by the ongoing situation.

    • i like a. coach vote even less. not a fan of player votes but you can at least argue it’s the guys on the field deciding. even if i think it’s a slight cop out. but a coach vote is a complete cop-out. we pay the head to make decisions. we don’t pay him to dodge responsibility by turning the most important ones into staff votes announced as such. even if he consulted his staff as i am sure he often does, i would expect it to be treated as his decision.

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  3. I think Gio’s instagram post should be the end of this conversation. He handled something poorly, admitted to it and was, supposedly, forgiven for his transgressions.

    His national team coach then aired the whole thing out for the public to see (probably because he felt attacked for not playing Gio more) and spun it in a way that made it (a) clear who he was talking about and (b) painted the player in as poor a light as possible (not mentioning that Gio was upset at the pre-determined limitted role). Gio made as mature a response as he could whilst still defending his character, since GB left him no choice by airing it out.

    I actually thought GB did a relatively decent job at a lot of things that went into the USMNT (player recruitment and handling being a big part of those things)… but I dont see how he can possibly come back to coach this team after this.

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    • I keep seeing responses like this but I think that is not a good assumption. Seems like a lot of you are forgetting the most important detail of what was reported- the players in the locker room were upset at Gio. It sounds like the players had Berhalter’s back on this one and Gio was the outcast.

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      • Players have also stated they didn’t like Berhalter voices on tactics. As a coach you don’t do this. Other players will question if Berhalter will do this with them. He has lost the locker room.

      • 2tone, I’m not sure on that yet. A lot of “a source” said this or that. If Gio’s camp were the people saying off the record “top league” players might not trust Gregg. There’s a different light shown on those reports.

      • There are also multiple current USMNT players who “Liked” Gio’s social media response. If there are players siding with Gregg and players siding with Gio….What have you got? A team divided.
        If the players siding with Gregg are the MLS guys or the older statesmen (Roldan, Morris, Yedlin, Long, Johnson, etc…) and the players siding with Gio are the foundation USSF is planning to build on for 2026 (those who liked Gio’s post included McKennie, Scally, Pefolk, Busio, Pepi, McKenzie) than USSF needs to move on from Gregg.

  4. Gio needs to focus on his game in Dortmund, staying healthy and securing that next big contract. Playing for the USMNT is playing Russian roulette with your career. Lots of USMNT players have gotten injured while playing for the team so why risk your golden ticket for a coach that appears to be perfectly willing to throw you under the bus?

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    • a subtle point here is papa reyna was known for skipping tournaments and friendlies to focus on club ball. he was basically “the 10” for a decade in world cups and yet has 112 caps in 12 years, ie, less than 10 a year. he would show up for qualifying and the world cup. i think it was roughly when either bradley or klinsi came in that we became obsessed with calling first choice every time and winning every game. before that they were more open to my idea where if you need some friendlies off, no one freaks, and to using friendlies and gold cups to experiment.

      the caveat on here would be not sure if reyna junior is around often enough to earn that. one of my issues with richards and co. was whether they had earned the right yet to turn down a gold cup or friendly “to focus on club.” that to me was earned from years of qualifying games and key production.

      i do think we at times overwork the players and that showed as the tournament progressed.

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      • “a subtle point here is papa reyna was known for skipping tournaments and friendlies to focus on club ball”

        What does that have to do with Gio?

      • Players have more games on their calendar now than in the past and this was especially true for this World Cup where the calendar was cram packed to accommodate the November tournament. I think it is really important that coaches take this into account when doing call ups. This is especially true for the USA where in the past many players weren’t making big bucks and were greatly desiring the attention of international play, but now mostly have decent careers in Europe apart from the national team. Also international dates mean long international travel for our Europe based players. Coaches must adapt their style to suit this reality and Gregg seems to be a my way or the highway type coach which is going to alienate a lot of players.

      • V: if you read between the lines the OP was suggesting reyna might skip some windows for a coach who would throw him under the bus. i was saying papa was known for precisely that. (mcbride might have been even “worse.” they’d parachute in for hex round quali and the world cup then disappear for many friendly windows.)

        i think at a point the US idea of international soccer pivoted from player driven to coach driven. we are less concerned about whether the players could use rest and more concerned with GB having yet another window to work on system, not that you can tell afterwards. that to me exaggerates the coaching role or overempowers coaches.

      • Let’s see Ream did pass on some games this fall for ____ reasons. Did not keep him from starting and playing every minute. Of course Ream does have experience with the USMNT for 12 years or so. Although, he was never really considered “first choice” until Qatar.

      • “i was saying papa was known for precisely that.”

        So what? So Gio is a bad seed because his Dad was a malingerer? Them Reynas are all lazy as shit. It runs in the family. That’s an interesting insight.

        What a load of night soil.

  5. let’s be crystal clear what happened here. coach felt player was loafing in practice (he wasn’t even playing games at first to do a thing in those). coach put it to a vote if player stayed. coach lost vote. coach let player rot on bench game 1. coach was questioned and suggested health/fitness. coach was, to be blunt, not honest. this is a second, new story he’s giving. this is probably closer to the truth. but given that the coach fibbed on the reason and got outvoted 13-12 on reyna staying, i giggle at the people acting like GB yakking is the full story. among other things, was reyna benched for tactical reasons and told he shouldn’t expect to play much, before any effort issues. that matters because the coach then can’t use the discipline excuse to try to explain the coaching choice. the disciplinary choice is then secondary.

    wynalda’s story was truer but omitted the key question of how did reyna act and when. they didn’t just put reyna to vote for no reason.

    i feel like the narrative on this team is heavily managed, eg the way the camp/roster was announced. i assume reyna was supposed to go along with a cover story about being called hurt or unfit as face saving. i kind of feel like this has trended a bit cult for a few years now, odd malfunctioning system never questioned, only ousted players (pomykal, miazga) offering anything even the tiniest bit critical or confused. the narrative has been of 26 guys all on a page for the berhalter concepts. 13-12 suggests a more complicated reality.

    i also am bemused that the guy supposedly apologizes and supplicates in front of the team and he still rots.

    re reyna’s play, he was being sent out at the very end of a game at world cup speed, and i am not sure some people have subbed into a high quality game the last 10′ and tried to catch up cold. i also think it’s not one size fits all, some people like weah are highly professional and always ready to go in, and some have their energy and confidence cave in when this happens. bobby wood for example went to crap when he would get benched. couldn’t kick a ball straight.

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    • IV – I agree with your comments that GB has maintained tight control over the squad and implemented system over players throughout qualifiers and the WC.

      That being said:
      I don’t think you can consider the coach as “losing” a 13-12 vote to send a teammate home. In fact, I think it was a strong move to let the team decide at that stage of the game. Rosters had been announced and I wonder if the player could have been replaced by another.

      I have to imagine that the 13-12 vote hurts more for Reyna than anything else (and much more than for GB). The fact that it went to a vote has to hurt Reyna pretty bad. That is darn close to your teammates saying hit the road.

      As a manager, if that vote is that close, I would ask the guy to consider leaving on his own regardless.

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      • like i’ve said on other responses, you don’t want a close vote. if everyone is of a mind then the coach should just confirm it with the captain and act. if there is no constituency for this you don’t put it to a vote and embarrass yourself. i think a close vote encourages the outcome here. half the team feeling it was a travesty he had to endure this and the other half feeling he should be gone. you want a decision here, line drawn, move on. 13-12 is a lousy basis to put it away, as is clear afterwards. we do this in congress because we need to, say, pass a budget. if there’s debate and the coach is pro-exit, don’t vote, send him home. if this is potentially a close vote and the coach is ambivalent, don’t bother, for the sake of unity, he stays.

        i always found votes on discipline divisive and manipulative. i rarely experienced them and didn’t like them. i preferred saving democracy for, say, what jerseys we would wear next select season. that is less consequential and isn’t dividing players who might need to be cohesive for a decade on the field after this. the coach takes the lumps for it. the coach succeeds or fails. the coach gets the big bucks ($1.3m) to make such decisions. in fact, i’ve argued in other countries more heed might have been paid to keeping as many good players on the field at once as possible. anyhow, part of what he’s being paid for is these kind of decisions. to me it’s a pro-GB attempted cop-out. he didn’t want to stick his neck out on this. as such the team said no, he stays.

        i also feel like we finally see the seams a little. every coach like this has to make his own landon/ harkes/ wynalda type decisions. he cloaked that process very well. it was very stage managed. he tried to manage this as well but the player and their family and friends didn’t follow their script lines. i know there were others literally left out like vazquez but he herded the press around where that barely got discussed. but he can’t win them all. this is the grittier part of the work. i am obviously a critic to start with. but he’d have been brighter to just be closer to honest to start with. even if it’s a terse “that’s an internal matter.”

      • If you choose to take a “vote” like that, you’ve already lost.
        There are some questions that shouldn’t be asked. Especially when you already know the answer.

        Now it’s official for GIO . Nearly half the team didn’t want him around.

        How does that becoming public bring the team together? Who benefits from this becoming public?

        The tournament is over. Gio won’t have any problem going forward because if he plays like we all know he can, everyone will forgive him and put up with whatever diva stuff he pulls. He’s that good.

        Gregg has been praised for managing the kids well and keeping a positive atmosphere. Now we see he has a Bruce Arena Bad apple button. He might have been better off keeping this to himself.

        Gio keeps trying to take the high road while Gregg keeps taking the sketchy road. This is a bad look for Gregg.

      • Vacqui, where do you see Gio take the high road? Even in his statement he puts in the “I thought this would stay in house”. After Wales when he knew Gregg was covering for his crappy attitude he says no “I’m fine” although apparently he did tell a reporter for Yahoo! after Wales there was “some tightness”. I’m not saying your wrong I’m just not sure what you mean.

      • JR

        “Vacqui, where do you see Gio take the high road?”

        After people started asking about Gregg not playing him, Gio said something to the effective that “Gregg doesn’t have to tell me why he’s not playing me, my job is just to be ready.” Gregg said it was a fitness issue. Well fitness isn’t just physical.

        Coachspeak, playerspeak, ambiguous dishonesty. Lying is an American characteristic, especially lately. Nothing to see here.

        I take that as neither one wanting to talk about it and neither really needed to. It’s in house business.

        That’s the high road.

        And once the World Cup ended it became even more irrelevant.

        This sort of stuff happens all the time. four years down the road everyone will be more mature , blah, blah blah.blah, blah.

        Then for some reason Gregg re-animates it. He could be naive or stupid but more likely Gregg did this for a very specific reason. I don’t know the reason. But I consider this the low road. Honestly though it’s really small beer. The USMNT is out. Two journalists are dead. Unless we follow other teams this World Cup is now over.

        And Gregg is taking a moment to have one last look at me moment and bring up just a little more excrement.

    • Given the number of fixtures that WC players had to cram in this fall, and given Gio’s history of injury, and given the fact that many of our players have had serious injuries playing for the team, I think we have to be skeptical of anybody who accuses Gio, or any other player of, “loafing.” I can fully see a situation where Gregg assumes the mantle of “tough guy,” makes players practice unreasonably hard regardless of their individual circumstances, then punishes and shames a player in front of the team for wanting not to get injured. I have no idea if that actually happened but Gregg seems to be the kind of guy that would go that route. We already know he is a liar.

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      • i had a college coach who overtrained the team and suffered injury attrition as seasons progressed. i responded by taking “last practices before the game” easy and focusing on my touch those days over running. i would play the games with full energy. as i was hinting at on “watch the games,” that’s what you judge. this coach to me it’s readily apparent he favors some mix of analytics/streak and practices over their last US games. only occasionally (ream) do i think that pays off. i personally wish he’d emphasize more who our best recent USMNT guys were.

        to be fair, reyna couldn’t stay healthy. but to me when you’re subbing in morris or playing reyna 7 minutes you’re taking this form and practice stuff too seriously. one guy, fit or not, is on another planet from the other. i think some of this may have come down to willingness to track back. he might prefer to discuss a disciplinary matter than explain that it was morris over reyna to defend a 1-1 tie rather than chase the win with offense.

      • That doesn’t seem to be the case here though. Gio in his Instagram said he’d been told his role would be limited and that’s when he said he let his emotions take over and didn’t put forth his best. Not I wasn’t training hard so I wouldn’t get hurt. If he was trying to protect himself, the staff recognized it and told him he wouldn’t be starting, that’s when he began acting negatively.

  6. Love the title. Zing!

    Gio may have an attitude, and it sounds like they addressed it.

    But god d*mn. GGG needs to go. Useless s-storm now. He can’t keep this locker room together. And if I were a European team owner, I’m calling off negotiations pronto. Egotistical moron coach.

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    • Uhm, the reporting is the complete opposite, that the locker room was united in this. It seems the players are the ones who handled telling him directly to shape up.

      And I honestly don’t see the big deal. A 19, just turned 20 year old kid didn’t handle a situation well. So what? He’s been through a rollercoaster of a year and he let his emotions get the best of him. Seems like the team handled it really well. All Gio needs to do is say “It’s been a very tough 12 months for me, I was really looking forward to getting playing time in the WC and when that wasn’t happening, I didn’t handle it well. I apologized to the team and I’m now apologizing to the fans. I screwed up and learned from it.”
      Then we all move on.

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      • what i saw someplace said it went to a locker room vote and the vote whether to send him home was 13-12 in favor of stays. that suggests the coach tried to send him home or at least scare him that it could happen, and lost the vote. that is neither unified nor behind the coach. i mean one reason this all amuses me is we’re done with the narrative of everyone backs everything the coach says. they might say pro coach things on fox but i now want to know what they actually think in private.

    • as i said over on the other thread, IMO if he senses this kind of division, he makes this decision himself, good or ill. the aim is to get the team back on a page. no one talks about how the locker room broke down in 1998 because sampson took that one alone.
      a 13-12 team vote does the opposite. in fact since the coach was proposing sending him home, it could even be read as the team outvoting the coach and captain.

      i don’t get why he fibbed what happened, i think there is probably an honest answer or two that many would have rubber stamped. weah over reyna. reyna loafed. QED.
      there are plenty of fans apparently, judging by the posts here, who would have reflexively backed benching or sending home a malcontent. likewise, regardless what i thought of his tactics or reyna decision, he’d ridden out the original reyna issue and was entering the evaluation and extension phase looking in control of the team with the pro-GB framing of “round of 16.” why reopen the can of worms. why get into it wasn’t entirely harmonious and more than half the team disagreed with how reyna got treated.

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      • 12-13 player vote information has been debunked. There was a vote amongst some staff.

        Gio is a kid with a kid’s attitude. Ok. That’s fine. You want a 20-yo monster talent a little arrogant and entitled. And, according to GGG’s OWN comments, they addressed the situation with Gio, and the bad behavior stopped.

        GGG is an adult coach speaking at a leadership conference… throwing a 20-yo kid under the bus.

        Gio is wrong. GGG is waaayyyy more wrong, and inexcusably so.

      • We don’t really know the truth. But whatever the case, GGG should NEVER have opened his mouth about this outside the locker room. Done.

  7. Ives;

    Any opinion about Wynalda’s reporting of issues between games including calling Coach GB a liar (as only he could do), then trying to retract, and now saying I told you so?

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