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Germany beats US in exhibition as Reyna plays under Berhalter for first time since feud

USA Germany soccer Joe Scally, Robin Gosens - The Canadian Press

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Gio Reyna was noticeable with dyed blond hair in his first game back with Gregg Berhalter following the eruption of their family feud at last year's World Cup. Germany's offense in its first game under Julian Nagelsmann and a porous U.S. defense also stood out.

Niclas Füllkrug and Jamal Musiala scored three minutes apart early in the second half, and Germany rallied to beat the United States 3-1 in a rainy exhibition Saturday.

Christian Pulisic put the 11th-ranked U.S. ahead in the 27th minute, and İlkay Gündogan tied the score in the 39th. Füllkrug got the go-ahead goal in the 58th minute, and Musiala padded the margin in the 61st for No. 15 Germany.

“On the three goals, it was a loss of connection in the backline and in the midfield — just overall organization on those three plays let us down a little bit,” Berhalter said. “Games against opponents like this can’t be that open.”

Reyna played the first half in his first start since fracturing his right leg in a CONCACAF Nations League match against Canada in June. The 20-year-old midfielder had been limited since the injury to a 27-minute substitute appearance for Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Oct. 7.

“He played a good game, showed his quality,” Berhalter said. “It was good to see and good to have him on the field.”

Berhalter limited Reyna to a pair of substitute appearances at the World Cup and said during a management conference after the tournament that he nearly sent a player home from Qatar for lack of effort during training, remarks clearly about Reyna.

Reyna’s parents, former U.S. captain Claudio Reyna and midfielder Danielle Egan, contacted the U.S. Soccer Federation about a three-decades-old domestic violence allegation involving Berhalter and the woman who later became his wife. Berhalter was replaced by a pair of interim coaches and, after a law firm retained by the United States Soccer Federation determined Berhalter did not improperly withhold information when he was hired in 2018, he was rehired to resume coaching in September.

“Honestly, it’s like it never happened,” midfielder Weston McKennie said of Reyna. “Whenever he came back in, it was just done and dusted.”

Germany had 60% possession and outshot the U.S. 19-6. The Americans had not lost by two goals in a game in which they scored first since the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup final against Mexico.

“These are games we want to start finding ways to win,” Pulisic said.

The U.S. went ahead when Pulisic accelerated around Jonathan Tah, cut to the center and turned around Antonio Rüdiger, then lifted a shot to Marc-André ter Stegen’s upper left corner for his 27th goal in 63 international appearances.

Gündoğan tied the score with his 18th international goal and first since the World Cup. Leroy Sané spun left back Sergiño Dest, cut across the top of the penalty area and twice exchanged passes with Gündoğan. After goalkeeper Matt Turner committed, Sané poked the ball to Gündoğan for an open shot from close range.

Once Reyna was replaced by Luca de la Torre, Germany dominated.

Füllkrug beat Turner to the far post from 12 yards for his eighth goal in 10 appearances after Robin Gosens slid a pass past Chris Richards. Musiala got his second international goal, racing ahead of Tim Ream after Füllkrug beat Turner to a deflection and then centered the ball.

German midfielder Chris Führich made his international debut when he entered in the 81st minute.

Nagelsmann, who took over from Hansi Flick on Sept. 22, coached in what appeared to be a plaid flannel shirt over a black T-shirt.

“In the second half,” Nagelsmann said, “we had the ball possession in the opponent's half. We had better control, shorter distances.”

Germany plays Mexico on Tuesday in Philadelphia, while the U.S. faces Ghana at Nashville, Tennessee.

“It's normal that not everything today was brilliant,” Nagelsmann said, “But that's good because I love to work, so let's work.”


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