Gio Reyna Among 10 Players Who Could Make US Debuts At Wales

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Gio Reyna Among 10 Players Who Could Make US Debuts At Wales

CHICAGO: Borussia Dortmund midfielder Gio Reyna, a son of former U.S. captain Claudio Reyna, got his first call-up to the U.S. national soccer team.

He is part of a 24-man roster announced Tuesday for exhibitions at Wales on Nov. 12 and against Panama four days later at Wiener Neustadt, Austria.

The match at Wales, on the day before Reyna’s 18th birthday, will be just the second in the pandemic-disrupted year for the Americans, who beat Costa Rica 1-0 on Feb. 1 with a roster of players mostly from Major League Soccer. Coach Gregg Berhalter’s team is preparing for the start of World Cup qualifying, which likely will be delayed until next September.

Reyna is among 10 players who could make their national team debuts and among six young players getting some playing time in Europe. Reyna is joined by 17-year-old Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah and four 20-year-olds: Bayern Munich defender Chris Richards, Eindhoven midfielder Richard Ledezma; midfielder Sebastian Soto, who has five goals in six matches while on loan to second-tier Telstar in the Netherlands after transferring last summer to Englands Norwich from Germanys Hannover; and forward Nicholas Gioacchini, who has two goals in seven matches this season for second-tier Caen in France.

Johnny Cardoso, a 19-year-old defensive midfielder with Brazils Internacional, is the first player with a team outside North America or Europe to earn a call-up since midfielder Cobi Jones with Brazils Vasco da Gama in 1996.

Others who could make debuts are Chituru Odunze, an 18-year-old goalkeeper who transferred from Vancouver to Leicesters academy in August 2019; and a pair of 19-year-olds who have dressed this season for European clubs but not yet gotten debuts: Barcelona forward Konrad de la Fuente and Wolverhampion midfielder Owen Otasowie.

A record nine Americans are on Champions League rosters, including Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, who is on the U.S. roster for now after getting hurt during warmups Saturday before Chelsea’s match against Burnley.

He had a scan yesterday which showed a very minor injury to his hamstring and he’s already back outside, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said Tuesday. He won’t be fit tomorrow but well see after that.

The Americans have not played on a FIFA date with most of their player pool available since a 4-0 victory over Cuba in the CONCACAF Nations League on Nov. 19 last year. Exhibitions in March at the Netherlands and Wales were canceled, along with the CONCACAF Nations League final four in June and the start of World Cup qualifying in September.

The Nations League final four was rescheduled for next June, at a U.S. site to be announced. The U.S. plays Honduras in the semifinals, and Mexico meets Costa Rica. Next year’s schedule includes the CONCACAF Gold Cup from July 10-Aug. 1, a tournament most top players are likely to skip.

The last year with as few as three matches was 1987 when the U.S. played Egypt, South Korea, and Thailand at the Presidents Cup tournament in South Korea that June, along with unofficial matches against the Spanish club Espanyol and a Hungary XI.

The roster’s average age is 21 years, 300 days. Starting goalkeeper Zack Steffen, now a backup Manchester City following a loan to Fortuna Dsseldorf is on the roster for the first time in 2019. Lille forward Tim Weah, a son of former FIFA Player of the Year and current Liberia President George Weah, is with the U.S. for the first time since 2018 after recovering from a string of injuries.

The roster:

Goalkeepers: Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge, Belgium), Chizuru Odunze (Leicester, England), Zack Steffen (Manchester City, England)

Defenders: John Brooks (Wolfsburg, Germany), Reggie Cannon (Boavista, Portugal), Sergio Dest (Barcelona, Spain), Matt Miazga (Anderlecht, Belgium), Tim Ream (Fulham, England), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich, Germany), Antonee Robinson (Fulham, England)

Midfielders: Tyler Adams (Leipzig, Germany), Johnny Cardoso (Internacional, Brazil), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Weston McKennie (Juventus, Italy), Yunus Musah (Valencia, Spain), Owen Otasowie (Wolverhampton, England)

Forwards: Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona, Spain), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen, France), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea, England), Uly Llanez (Heerenveen, Netherlands), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen, Germany), Sebastian Soto (Telstar, Netherlands), Tim Weah (Lillem France)

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