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Gregg Berhalter explains Gio Reyna’s absence against Wales

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The US men’s national team kicked off their 2022 World Cup campaign with a 1-1 draw against Wales, as goals from Tim Weah and Gareth Bale earned each side one point in the Group B standings.

The USMNT opened up the scoring in the first half, after Weah connected with Christian Pulisic to find the back of the net. But the Americans’ dominance came to a crashing halt in the second 45, seeing Wales come back. Ultimately, it was a foul by Walker Zimmerman on Bale inside the box that propelled the Welsh to get the equalizer through a penalty.

Head coach Gregg Berhalter featured several players that made little to no contribution to the USMNT during the Concacaf qualifying cycle, or months leading up to the tournament. Jordan Morris, Tim Ream and Josh Sargent all found time on the field, but Gio Reyna was nowhere to be found. 

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The Borussia Dortmund figure, arguably one of the USMNT’s brightest young talents, remained on the bench for the entirety of the match. Injury rumors began to spread, but Reyna has since confirmed he is fit.

“[I feel] OK. A little bit of tightness over the last few days,” Reyna said. “But I played six weeks in a row with Dortmund before…I feel great. I feel really good…I felt ready to go. But it was just [Berhalter’s] decision.”

But Berhalter contradicted the player, citing “hamstring tightness” before explaining his decision to bench Reyna.

“We’re building him up,” Berhalter said. “And we think he can play a big role in this tournament. The question is, when. And hopefully, on Friday, he’ll be one further step ahead.”

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During the match, former US women’s national team player Allie Long noted Reyna was seen “shaking his head” and “putting his hands over his face” while brushing off coaches that tried to console him when Berhalter opted to bring Morris into the match.

The USMNT still have two Group Stage matches ahead of them, facing England on Friday, November 25 and Iran on Tuesday, November 29.



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Monterrey signs midfielder Jordi Cortizo from Puebla

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Rayados de Monterrey have signed midfielder Jordi Cortizo from Club Puebla, ahead of the 2023 Liga MX Clausura. 

He joins the Guadalajara team on a four-season contract, according to Diego Armando Medina of TUDN.

“I have been delighted since the opportunity to come here was given, I always knew that I had to make a leap to these big leagues with one of the biggest clubs in Mexico,” Cortizo said of his transfer. 

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Cortizo kicked off his professional career with Queretaro in 2017, recording four goals in 76 appearances over the course of three years before seeing stints with Tijuana and Puebla. He managed well in Liga MX, but it wasn’t until the 2022 Apertura that he became a standout. 

The offensive midfielder recorded five goals in 20 overall matches to inspire Puebla to eighth on the table and the Liguilla quarterfinals. 

Overall, Cortizo has 12 goals in 149 Liga MX appearances. 

“They are going to see a player who always tries, that will never fail, who will go for the ball, will try to play, propose offensive play, go forward and who will always give himself up for the club. It is my dream to be champion of the Liga MX, there is no better option today than to be sitting here and with this squad to achieve it,” he said.

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Cortizo stands as the first signing under new Monterrey president Jose Antonio Noriega, who replaced Duilio Davino  following the team’s elimination from the 2022 Apertura. Upon his arrival, Noriega insisted he needed to evaluate the team’s needs before making drastic changes. 

But the arrival of Jordi Cortizo will now set off the several moves already planned. 

The 2023 Liga MX Clausura kicks off on January 6.



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Club America sign defender Israel Reyes from Puebla

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Club America has finally signed defender Israel Reyes from Club Puebla.

He stands as the team’s first reinforcement ahead of the 2023 Liga MX Clausura, joining on a four-year contract.  The Mexico City team reportedly paid $4.5M for Reyes, after he established himself as one of the most promising defenders in the Mexican league.

Reyes kicked off his professional career with Atlas in 2019, before quickly securing a loan deal to Puebla. After 19 games with the Franja, the team exercised his purchase option to make Reyes a staple of the backline. 

But it wasn’t until the 2022 Apertura that he became a standout in the Mexican league. The 22-year-old managed three goals in 17 games of the 2022 Apertura, inspiring Puebla to eighth place in the regular season and the Liguilla quarterfinals. 

Overall, he recorded six goals in 76 appearances with Puebla before joining Club America.

Internationally, the player holds one cap with the Mexican national team. He made his debut on December 8, 2021, coming on as a substitute in the 68th minute of a friendly against Chile.

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England vs Senegal: Confirmed lineups

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England vs Senegal: Confirmed lineups

On Sunday, England and Senegal, their opponents in the last-16 of the World Cup, square off at Al Bayt Stadium in a battle for a spot in the quarterfinals.

The Three Lions take on the Lions of Teranga, who advanced to the knockout stages thanks to a crucial intervention from their captain, in a first-ever meeting after Gareth Southgate’s team defeated Wales to win Group B.

Line-up

England XI: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Henderson, Bellingham; Saka, Foden, Kane.  

Senegal XI: E. Mendy; Sabaly, Koulibaly, Diallo, Jakobs; Ciss, N. Mendy; Diatta, Ndiaye, Sarr; Dia. 

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