During his time managing the Dodgers over a decade ago, Joe Torre quipped on multiple occasions that Matt Kemp was the type of player who could lead to a manager’s dismissal.
The 23-year-old Kemp has yet to show any signs of success. Even though he hadn’t spent as much time playing baseball as other major leaguers his age, his potential was evident. As Torre said, it was the manager’s job to help Kemp reach his full potential, and it was an acknowledgement he made.
If the United States wants to make the most of Gio Reyna, Gregg Berhalter needs to go.
The American national soccer team is led by Gregg Berhalter, who has his version of Matt Kemp in Giovanni Reyna.
Like Kemp, Reyna has more potential than any other attacking American player. The 20-year-old wide-out is also emotional, much like Kemp.
The future of the U.S. national team depends heavily on how Reyna develops, just like Kemp did for the Dodgers, except that the national team can’t be traded.
Now that Berhalter’s contract ends this year, the next step for U.S. Soccer is crystal clear. It’s time for the federation to start recruiting a new head coach.
More than a week after the United States was ousted from the FIFA World Cup, the minimal participation of Reyna in the tournament remains controversial, but this is not about what occurred in Qatar or who is to blame.
The United States has almost no shot at making it to the quarterfinals or higher at the World Cup, which this country will co-host with Mexico and Canada in four years unless they bring in Reyna.
Claudio Reyna played on the national team with Berhalter. Thus Reyna has known him his whole life. However, tensions between the two have grown to an unbridgeable level.
In a leadership symposium in New York last week, U.S. Men’s National Team Coach Gregg Berhalter spoke candidly about one of his players who was “clearly not meeting expectations on and off the field” shortly before the team were eliminated from Qatar 2022 by the Netherlands in the round of 16.
Though he did not name names, it is safe to say that this player is now facing an uncertain future with the national team.
Later, several different media agencies discovered that the player in question was Reyna. The Athletic published an article stating that the player displayed “an alarming lack of effort,” during training.
Reyna had missed much of the year due to injuries, but he had a strong run of games for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga leading up to the World Cup. He played 66 minutes on November 5 and scored a goal against Bochum.
Over the next week and a half, he played 75 minutes in two games against Wolfsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach.
He proved why he’s such a desirable prospect by showing his creativity and resourcefulness. The United States now had two such players (three if you count Brenden Aaronson) with him and Christian Pulisic.
It was a mistake on Berhalter’s part to just put one of these players into action at a time for most of the competition. When it became apparent two or three years ago that Josh Sargent wouldn’t grow into a world-class striker, manager Gregg Berhalter demanded that the team play with a traditional No. 9 attacker. Because of this insistence, the United States started the unremarkable Haji Wright against England.
Given that Berhalter had never tried out a false nine or a two-forward system before, the United States was stuck in his 4-3-3. Berhalter started Pulisic on the left wing and the steady but unremarkable Tim Weah on the right. In four games, the team only managed three scores.
Even though Berhalter displayed several strengths, this fact alone ought to cast doubt on the qualifications of the coach to lead the United States national team into the World Cup in 2026. Pulisic, Reyna, and Aaronson were the three players who set this United States side apart from the groups that came before it.
However, the midfield combination of Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, and Yunus Musah received a lot of praise. At the very least, two of them should have been starting; ideally, all three would have been there.
The difficulty for whoever is coaching the squad over the next four years will be figuring out how to incorporate up-and-coming attackers such as Reyna, Aaronson, or another player into the lineup. Recent occurrences have made it more difficult for Berhalter to accomplish that goal. The United States would be better than it is now if it had a new coach.