Gio Reyna scores twice in 4-0 rout of Ghana, his first US goals since family feud with Berhalter
NASHVILLE, Tennessee: Gio Reyna scored his first two international goals since a family feud with coach Gregg Berhalter erupted at last year’s World Cup, leading the US to a 4-0 rout of Ghana in an exhibition on Tuesday night.
Reyna put the US ahead in the 10th minute, Christian Pulisic doubled the lead with a penalty kick in the 19th, and Folarin Balogun scored in the 22nd to give the Americans three goals in a 12-minute span. Reyna scored again in the 39th for sixth international goal and first two-goal game for the US.
Reyna has been regaining fitness since fracturing a leg last June and played the first half for the second straight match. The 20-year-old midfielder’s first game under Berhalter since the controversy was in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Germany.
A son of former US captain Claudio Reyna and American midfielder Danielle Egan, Gio Reyna was limited to a pair of substitute appearances in Qatar. Berhalter said during a management conference after the tournament he nearly sent a player home from for lack of effort during training, remarks clearly about Reyna.
Reyna’s parents contacted the US Soccer Federation about a three-decades-old domestic violence allegation involving Berhalter and the woman who later became his wife. Berhalter was replaced by a pair of interim coaches and, after a law firm retained by the USSF determined he did not improperly withhold information when he was hired in 2018, was rehired in June to resume coaching in September.
After the US started his second term with four friendlies, Berhalter leads the Americans in a two-leg CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinal next month.
Ghana eliminated the US from the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and the Americans opened the 2014 tournament with a win over the Black Stars. The 11th-ranked US matched their highest victory margin against an Africa opponent, set against South Africa in 2000.
The Americans went ahead after Sergiño Dest dribbled toward goal and passed wide to Balogun, whose cross bounced off defender Nicholas Opoku. The ball fell to Reyna, who one-timed a right-foot shot from about 12 yards for his first US goal since June 2021.
Pulisic converted the penalty kick for his 28th international goal after Gideon Mensah pushed Tim Weah.
Weah created the third goal when, with the US pressing, Jerome Opoku failed to control a pass on a flank. Weah picked up the ball and centered to Balogun, who spun as he took a touch and scored from the middle of the penalty area for his third goal in six appearances.
Reyna got his second goal from an indirect free kick 10 yards out, awarded when Opoku sat on the ball. Reyna poked the ball to Pulisic, who tapped it back, and Reyna kicked the ball into the roof of the net.
American goalkeeper Matt Turner had little pressure but extended to parry Mohammed Kudus’ 41st-minute shot over the crossbar.
Lennard Maloney, a 24-year-old midfielder born in Germany, entered in the 65th minute for the 60th US debut under Berhalter.
No. 60 Ghana was coming off a 2-0 defeat against Mexico and have lost consecutive games after a five-match unbeaten streak under Chris Hughton, who took over as coach in February. The Black Stars open World Cup qualifying next month.
The US get an automatic World Cup berth as one of the co-hosts.