Having returned to the USMNT for this final World Cup Qualifying round after a lengthy injury, Giovanni Reyna knows that he is ready to help the team qualify for Qatar.

The 19 year-old had returned to Borussia Dortmund’s active roster shortly after the completion of the last international window, but had given fans a momentary scare after limping off the field during his first shot back into the starting lineup.

Luckily, the setback was only minor, and he was able to not only return to the field, but play the full 90 minutes in Dortmund’s final game before the break.

With the chance to book-end the qualifying process after last playing in the first round of games back in September, Reyna is first and foremost thankful that he will be present to complete what he began half a year ago.

“First and foremost it’s always an honor to play for the national team, whenever I get the chance I love to come in,” the 19-year-old said in his pre-game comments. 

“I love the group of guys, I love the staff we have here, it’s great energy [and] great vibes here always, but also I just want to help the group.”

With three games coming up in a seven-day period where the USA will first travel to Mexico City to take on American nemesis Mexico at the Azteca on Thursday evening, the Dortmund midfielder, though still coming back to full fitness, insists that he can contribute.

“I know I can help the group just with my playing and just being here,” he explained. “Obviously I’ve been with the group in the past many times, so yeah, we got really important games and yeah, our main goal is just to go to the World Cup, and that’s what I’m here to help us do.”

The trick will be for Gregg Berhalter to use the 19 year-old wisely, both in terms of position and playing time. Reyna is most likely not able to physically play all three games for 90 minutes, so the plan should be to get the young man through the most important moments of the three qualifiers without picking up any injury before returning to Germany.

“Over the three games, obviously, I’m coming off a long injury so we’re gonna see [about playing time],” he admitted, adding “I’m definitely gonna be managing in some sort of way but we’ll see.”

He concluded, “the main goal is obviously to qualify, and then obviously to leave the camp healthy, so we’re going to be smart with it.”

Reyna will undoubtedly play a role, whether as a starter or impact substitute, when the USMNT kicks off against Mexico in the Azteca on Thursday night.

By Michael Adubato

The old man of Yanks-Abroad, having been around since the very beginning in 2004, Known as the resident Belgian expert since that’s where he has lived for a couple of decades. Over the years he has interviewed Nats such as Kasey Keller, Brian McBride, Oguchi Onyewu, Jozy Altidore and Tim Weah, to name a few. When not working the day job, he can often be found in stadiums around Europe, watching games from the top flight to the lower leagues. To prove that he is not just a pretty face, Mike received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland and a Masters from the University of Oklahoma. Boomer Sooner! On a non-soccer note, Adubato has just released a book of poetry from his travels, Missing the Exit, published by Broken Keys Publishing in Ottawa, Canada. So that must make him the YA poet laureate! You can grab your copy on Amazon.com, order online and pick it up and Barnes & Noble or get an e-copy at various outlets.

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