Gio Reyna leads USMNT to glory in Concacaf Nations League; Euro 2024 field set to be finalized on Tuesday

Written by on March 25, 2024

Welcome to the start of the week, one basking in the hazy afterglow of more silverware for the United States men’s national team. I’m James Benge, ready to guide you through the reaction to last night’s Concacaf Nations League triumph. It’s Monday, let’s get through it together:

📺 Footy fix

All times U.S./Eastern

Monday, March 25
🌍 Under-23 friendly: USA vs. France, 4 p.m. ➡ CBS Sports Golazo Network

Tuesday, March 26
🇪🇺 Euro 2024 qualifiers: Georgia vs. Greece, 1 p.m. ➡ ViX
🇪🇺 Euro 2024 qualifiers: Wales vs. Poland, 3:45 p.m. ➡ ViX
🌍 Friendly: Spain vs. Brazil, 4:30 p.m. ➡ ViX
🌍 Friendly: Argentina vs. Costa Rica, 11 p.m. ➡ CBS Sports Network

⚽ The Forward Line

🇺🇸 USMNT three-peat as Reyna stars

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Three Concacaf Nations Leagues, three trophies for the USA. After the high drama and low quality that Gregg Berhalter’s side delivered in sneaking past Jamaica in the semifinals, Sunday saw an altogether more impressive display from the Stars and the Stripes, a Tyler Adams thunderbolt and Giovanni Reyna’s elegant finish guiding them to a 2-0 win over Mexico.

The US were good value for their victory, winning the possession battle, outshooting Mexico 11 to nine and largely dictating midfield following the introduction of both semifinal scorers, Reyna and Haji Wright, into the starting XI. El Tri managed only two efforts in the first hour of play and just three penalty box touches in the first half to the US’ eight. This might be one of the international game’s great rivalries but a one-sided match like this is becoming a familiar sight with the Stars and Stripes undefeated in their last eight meetings with Mexico. It is perhaps something of a relief that fresh competition lies ahead of them in the Copa America, where Bolivia, Panama and Uruguay should test the US mettle in the group stage.

  • Berhalter: “I think the Copa America, we’re going to see the guys focus. We realize what a big opportunity this is for us.”

Whether his squad will join up in the summer in the right condition to take a real swing at the tournament is out of Berhalter’s hands. All he can do is hope that the Nations League proves to be a moment to kickstart the seasons of some of his brightest stars. Above all others, this is the case for Reyna, who played almost twice as many minutes against Jamaica and Mexico as he had at club level in 2024. He used that time productively, following his two assists in the comeback semifinal win with a quite brilliant goal to secure the “Dos a cero”.. There was more than just end product to Reyna’s work as well, he was the front six’s leading ball carrier and showed an impressive eye for where the ball might break in midfield.

It is now back to Nottingham Forest for the 21-year-old and a Premier League relegation battle. Will Nuno Espirito Santo be willing to change a struggling side to bring Reyna into the fold, particularly when so much of what he does well is already delivered at a very high level by Morgan Gibbs-White? Berhalter certainly hopes the last few days will give him and others “momentum to take back to their clubs.”

There may be questions over Reyna’s club future but one thing that does seem certain now is that the youngster can be a significant part of Berhalter’s USMNT, a phrase that would have seemed unimaginable amid the post World Cup fallout. The rift between them has been paved over.

  • Reyna: “We had our first camp back together [in October]. If we didn’t put it in the past, it would’ve been affecting the team and I think that was most important for both of us. Just put it in the past and focus on the team. The last few camps since he’s been here and we’ve been back together, it’s been pretty successful.”

That it certainly was for the Nations League champions. If that win always felt like a high probability outcome, a Berhalter-led USMNT where Reyna is making serious contributions did not. That this side now have such a promising young talent safely ensconced in the fold might be the biggest win to come out of the international break.

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🔗  Midfield Link Play

🇪🇺 Last Euros spots up for grabs

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There are just 80 days to go until Euro 2024 kicks off in Munich, but the tournament is still three short of a full field. That will change on Tuesday as playoff Paths A, B and C. The latter of those could deliver competitions debutants in the form of Georgia, whose rise to the mid tiers of European football has been one of the most unheralded stories of recent years. Even with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia in impressive club form and Budu Zivzivadze finding the net for country and (second tier German) club, the Crusaders will be slight underdogs when they host 2004 champions Greece in Tblisi.

Ukraine, meanwhile, are heavy favorites to advance to the competition over Iceland. Serhiy Rebrov’s side were only pipped by Italy to an automatic qualification spot by goal difference and showed impressive spirit to come back from a goal down in the final five minutes to win in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Path B semifinal.

The highest tier matchup will take place in Cardiff where Wales host Poland. Though the former are increasingly familiar presences at major tournament — they are bidding to reach a third consecutive European Championships — it is worth reflecting on what a remarkable achievement that would be for a nation of just one million. Their opponents, meanwhile, have not missed a Euros in 20 years and arrive in red hot form after a 5-1 win over Estonia.

Robert Lewandowski did not even find the net in that triumph and he is hoping that the Welsh feel the weight of expectation from the Cardiff City Stadium.

  • Lewandowski: “Wales are at home and they will be under big pressure. There is a last step to be made and I believe we can do it.” 

Poland have not lost in their last nine meetings with Wales and the expectations will be just as high for them in what could be Lewandowski’s final tournament. The 36 year old might be by far and away his nation’s greatest ever player, leading scorer, most capped international but there still has not been a Lewandowski game at a big international tournament, six of his seven goals at the World Cup and Euros coming in draws and defeats. A big night for the No.9 in Cardiff and he might get a chance to change that.

🔗  Top Stories

🇺🇸 USMNT recap: Pardeep Cattry breaks down impressive performance for Adams and Reyna on a big night for the USMNT.

🥇 Qué Golazo: I could watch that thunderbolt from Adams again and again and again. Luckily I can.

🇯🇲 Bronze for the Reggae Boyz: If any goal came close to Adams’ stunner it might just be this one from Dexter Lembikisa, one that secured third place at the Nations League for Jamaica.

🇧🇷 A star is born: Records tumbled at Wembley on Saturday as Endrick became the youngest player to ever score at the English national stadium, leading Brazil to a much-needed 1-0 win over a rotated England side.

🇩🇪 Nagelsmann staying put: Could a big name be coming off the list of contenders for the summer’s top club jobs? The president of the German federation has confirmed that “intensive dialogue” is underway to extend Julian Nagelsmann’s contract after Die Mannschaft beat France 2-0 this weekend.

💰  The Back Line

💵 Best bet

  • Euro 2024 qualifiers: Ukraine vs. Iceland, Tuesday, 3:45 p.m.
    💰 THE PICK: Artem Dobvyk to score and Ukraine to win (+175)
     — On hot form in La Liga, where he has 14 goals in 27 games for Girona, Dobvyk translated that to the international stage in Zenica, his 88th minute winner taking Ukraine to the brink of Euro 2024. Iceland are not the force they were in the late 2010s and may just struggle to hold Ukraine at bay.

📺 What’s on CBS Sports Golazo Network

☀ Morning Footy (Weekdays 8-10 a.m.): Hosts Susannah Collins, Charlie Davies, Nico Cantor and Alexis Guerreros help fans get their day started on the network’s flagship morning show with highlights, interviews and the biggest soccer storylines. Morning Footy is also available in podcast form, so you’ll never have to miss an episode.

📦 Box 2 Box (Weekday afternoons): The news-driven show quickly recaps all the latest headlines from around the world with panelists previewing the top matchups of the day. Catch Box 2 Box on CBS Sports Golazo Network on the CBS Sports app, PlutoTV and Paramount+. 

3⃣ Attacking Third (Monday, Thursday): The leading women’s soccer podcast and social brand is now a live studio show. The NWSL season is back and our coverage of the women’s game is stronger than ever. Our analysts will be breaking down the USWNT, NWSL and European domestic season all year long.

👟 Kickin’ It (Tuesdays): CBS Sports Golazo Network’s unfiltered interview show releases Tuesday. Hosted by Kate Abdo, Clint Dempsey, Mo Edu and Charlie Davies, the group chat candidly with the biggest names from the Beautiful Game and share their stories from on and off the pitch. 

⚽ Call it What You Want (Monday night): A weekly podcast where Jimmy Conrad, Jesse Marsch and Charlie Davies cover all things USMNT and the state of the beautiful game in the United States.

🥅 Scoreline (Daily): Scoreline is the newest place for fans to catch up on all the biggest news and results impacting global football, match highlights from the top soccer competitions and all the can’t-miss goals from the day’s action, starting Thursday and airing seven days a week.

📺 How to watch: CBS Sports Golazo Network is a free 24/7 channel exclusively dedicated to offering unparalleled coverage of all the top soccer competitions worldwide. You can stream for free on the CBS Sports appPluto TV and Paramount+.

The post Gio Reyna leads USMNT to glory in Concacaf Nations League; Euro 2024 field set to be finalized on Tuesday first appeared on CBS Sports.


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