United States men rout Ghana as Gio Reyna nets two goals

Giovanni Reyna scored his first goals for the United States since 2021 in an impressive 4-0 friendly win over Ghana at Geodis Park in Nashville, Tennessee, on Tuesday night.

The Americans bounced back in fine fashion following a 3-1 loss to Germany on Saturday, as Christian Pulisic and Folarin Balogun found the back of the net after Reyna opened the scoring in the 10th minute.

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It was just Reyna's second game back with the U.S. since last year's World Cup -- where he was used sparingly because of off-field issues -- and he took advantage of his spot in Gregg Berhalter's starting XI to score his first goal with the national team since June 9, 2021, against Costa Rica.

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 pair's falling-out in Qatar was Saturday vs. Germany.

"Gio, what I've seen from training session No. 1 in this camp was extreme amount of focus and ability," Berhalter said. "So when he plays like that, like he did this entire camp, he's certainly a guy that can help this group, and it's really good to see him respond like that."

Reyna told the U.S. Soccer Federation after the game that he did not want to speak with reporters. He has not spoken with media following national team matches since the World Cup.

Reyna added his second goal before halftime after the U.S. was given an indirect free kick in Ghana's box, with Pulisic rolling the ball in front of his teammate to set up a close-range finish to give the Americans a 4-0 lead at the break.

Gio Reyna celebrates with U.S. teammates after scoring a goal against Ghana in a friendly in Nashville.
Gio Reyna celebrates with U.S. teammates after scoring a goal against Ghana in a friendly in Nashville.
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After the U.S. started his second term with four friendlies, Berhalter leads the Americans in a two-leg CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinal next month with spots in the 2024 Copa America on the line.

Ghana eliminated the U.S. from the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, and the Americans opened the 2014 tournament with a win over the Black Stars. The 11th-ranked U.S. matched its highest victory margin against an opponent from Africa, set against South Africa in 2000.

The Americans went ahead after Sergiño Dest dribbled toward the 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.

Pulisic converted the penalty kick for his 28th international goal after Gideon Mensah pushed Tim Weah.

Weah created the third goal when, with the U.S. 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.

"Besides the goals, it was how he brings players into the attack," Berhalter said, "how he is able to be calm on the ball and gives us that calm and the poise that we need at times but then is decisive when making final passes."

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 U.S. debut under Berhalter.

No. 60 Ghana was coming off a 2-0 defeat against Mexico and has 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 U.S. gets an automatic World Cup berth as one of the co-hosts.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.