Borussia Dortmund's Gio Reyna will be key to the USMNT's 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification hopes. - © imago
Borussia Dortmund's Gio Reyna will be key to the USMNT's 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification hopes. - © imago

Gio Reyna among three Bundesliga players in USMNT squad for March World Cup qualifiers


The United States Men's National Team will be hoping that Borussia Dortmund's fit and firing Giovanni Reyna can help them secure qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, with Bundesliga stars Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig) and Ricardo Pepi (Augsburg) also in the squad for crucial qualifiers against Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica.

Reyna spent over five months on the sidelines after picking up a nasty hamstring injury in the USA's goalless draw with El Salvador back in early September, but the BVB midfielder looks to be returning to form at just the right time – especially as far as his country is concerned – having set up the game-winning goal for his club against Mainz on March 16.

Gregg Berhalter's squad are gearing up for a potentially decisive week, which will see them face Mexico (March 24), Panama (March 27) and Costa Rica (March 30) in the last three games of CONCACAF qualifying. The US currently sit second in the final round Octagonal, with the top three earning direct qualification for Qatar, and the fourth-placed team going into June's intercontinental play-offs.

Four and a half years after an agonising loss to Trinidad and Tobago – which cost them a place at the 2018 World Cup – the USMNT are determined to bounce back and rubber-stamp their ticket to international football's biggest party. And it could well be players from the Bundesliga, or those made in the Bundesliga, who get them over the line.

At just 19, Reyna has already scored four goals in nine outings for the Stars and Stripes, and one of them came as the US lifted the CONCACAF Nations League trophy last summer with a barnstorming 3-2 win over rivals Mexico. The other players on the scoresheet that day were Bundesliga graduates Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) and Weston McKennie (Juventus), who earned their stripes on opposite sides of the Revierderby divide at Dortmund and Schalke.

Watch: The best of Gio Reyna in the Bundesliga

Reyna is joined on the roster by Adams, who has also had some injury struggles this term. The 23-year-old has alternated starts and substitute appearances, but rarely fails to impress when he gets the nod from Domenico Tedesco – the man who played a big role in McKennie's development at Schalke. Adams is also a key figure for Berhalter on and off the pitch, and wore the captain's armband in several recent outings for the USMNT.

Pepi only arrived at Augsburg in January – following the same path as Chris Richards from FC Dallas to the Bundesliga – and has yet to really showcase his abilities, having only made three league starts for his new club. But like fellow 19-year-old Reyna, he has made a fine start to his international career, scoring three goals in his first two caps against Honduras and Jamaica. Richards would have been expected to start in central defence for the USMNT, but has only recently returned from a foot injury.

Watch: Ricardo Pepi up for the relegation fight at Augsburg

The three upcoming games will give the USA the opportunity to erase the painful memories of Trinidad and Tobago, and as the poster boy of the new generation, former BVB starlet Pulisic is sure to be heavily involved. In a post-mortem of the defeat for The Players' Tribune in late 2017, he looked ahead to the 2022 World Cup and pledged: "We'll be there".

With talents like Reyna, Adams and Pepi – not to mention ex-Fortuna Düsseldorf keeper Zack Steffen – there's every chance Pulisic's prediction will come true, and the sweet taste of a successful campaign could end up having a distinctly Bundesliga flavour.