Midweek musings

Reyna soars, CCL gets underway with mixed results, Holmes injured, & Perez trial

The Champions League is back, MLS is nearing its opener and the CCL is underway, a massive international window is on the horizon. That leaves everyday with a lot to talk about. ASN's Brian Sciaretta
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
February 19, 2020
4:00 AM

TEENAGE SENSATION Giovanni Reyna enjoyed a great debut in the UEFA Champions League, the CONCACAF Champions League was mixed for the two MLS teams on Tuesday, and the injury news continues to mount for American players.

With that said, here is a quick rundown of the news for your Wednesday.

Gio Reyna’s UCL debut

Giovanni Reyna only turned 17 in November but he is already earning responsibilities that are remarkable and unusual by standards around the world.

The son of the former U.S. national team captain came into the game in the 66th minute for Borussia Dortmund trailing Paris St. Germain 1-0. He was immediately part of the build-up to the equalizer.

Then 10 minutes later, he connected with world-wide sensation Erling Haaland for the dramatic winning goal.


In doing so, he set a record for his age.


The sky is the limit for Reyna who will almost certainly be called up to the U.S. national team in March (unless there is some sort of deal worked out where he would play with the U-23 team for Olympic qualifying in a few weeks). But Dortmund seem to have him on an elite path where he will get the chance to develop with Haaland – who will take some of the spotlight and pressure off Reyna.

The opportunities he will continue to see this year for Dortmund are exciting and are very similar to what Christian Pulisic experienced just a few years ago.

Mixed results for LAFC and Atlanta

The opening of the CONCACAF Champions League is always a difficult time for MLS clubs who are rusty and still in preseason. This year is no different as both LAFC and Atlanta United haven’t played competitive games for nearly four months.

For LAFC, the assignment to take on Club Leon away was brutal and the result was predictable. Club Leon, one of the best teams in Mexico at the moment, was in midseason form and had the bulk of chances. LAFC was forced throughout the match into emergency defending and was lucky to not concede more than two goals in a 2-0 loss.

Bob Bradley’s team nearly escaped with a one goal deficit but a terrible turnover, likely due to fatigue, led to a second Leon goal.

LAFC is not out of it. It depends on how much improvement it can show between the first and second legs – which is somewhat normal during preseason and early regular season games. LAFC has a lot of offensive firepower but defense is the biggest problem. Keeping Leon off the scoreboard will be difficult.

For Atlanta United, it walked out of Honduras with a 1-1 draw against CD Motagua. Now the club will have the edge returning home having scored an away goal. Josef Martinez scored a first-half equalizer and Atlanta was generally in control of its first game since October.

Holmes injured

For those hoping to see Duane Holmes return to the U.S. national team in March, you might have to wait until June at the earliest. The Georgia-born attacking midfielder left this weekend’s game for Derby in the 29th minute with an apparent leg injury.

Today, Derby manager Phillip Cocu revealed that Holmes will miss “several weeks” due to the injury. That is a vague timeline but it places serious doubt on his ability to play in the upcoming friendlies vs. Holland and Wales.

Holmes had been playing so well in recent months that he was likely making himself impossible for Gregg Berhalter to leave off the upcoming roster. But the door should be open to him in June if he is healthy. Should the U.S. U-23 team qualify for the Olympics, the player pool with be thin enough if U.S. Soccer elects to try to send its best U-23 players. 

The number of injured players in the USMNT and U-23 pool is growing to alarming levels. 

  • Duane Holmes
  • Tyler Adams
  • Christian Pulisic
  • Paul Arriola
  • Zack Steffen
  • Tim Weah
  • Paxton Pomykal
  • Jonathan Amon
  • Miles Robinson
  • Antonee Robinson
  • Sebastian Soto
  • Bradon Servania

Perez on trial with Dundee United

After being released by LAFC last year, American winger Josh Perez is currently on trial with Dundee United in Scotland. United is currently the runaway leaders of the Scottish Championship by 18 points and are set to play in the Scottish Premier League next year.


Should Perez, 22, sign with Dundee United, he would be the club’s third American player – joining Dillon Powers and Ian Harkes.

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