Dortmund’s Gio Reyna leads way as young USA team thrash Panama


Nicholas Gioacchini and Sebastian Soto both scored their first two international goals, Gio Reyna got his first and a young United States team routed Panama 6-2 on Monday night in a friendly at Wiener Neustadt in Austria.

Gioacchini and Reyna made their first appearances on Thursday in a 0-0 draw against Wales, among six debuts as the Americans returned from a coronavirus break that had sidelined the team since February. Soto and Richy Ledezma were among two more debuts against Panama. Sebastian Lletget, like Soto a second-half substitute, also scored late for the Americans. Ledezma set up the final goal.

Jose Fajardo scored his first two goals for Panama, the first in the eighth minute with a glancing header following a cross by Alejandro Yearwood that split central defenders Tim Ream and Matt Miazga. Fajardo cut the gap to 3-2 in the 79th minute before a late flurry of goals from the US. The US dominated the first half with 72% possession but struggled to create for much of the second half before he three late goals.

Reyna tied the score in the 17th minute with a 20-yard free kick, that skipped past Orlando Mosquera after Weston McKennie was tripped by Michael Murillo. Gioacchini then put the US ahead in the 22nd minute with a right-footed shot from eight yards after Reyna crossed to Uly llanez, whose shot was saved by the keeper.

Gioacchini got his second from a close-range diving header in the 26th after Tyler Adams crossed and Miazga headed the ball back across the goalmouth. He had a chance for a hat-trick in the 65th following a handball from Oscar Linton, but Mosquera stopped his penalty.

Soto entered in the 77th minute and scored from a cross by Sebastian Lletget following an overlapping run by Reggie Cannon, who started at right back as Sergino Dest moved to the left. Cannon crossed again for Lletget’s header in the 87th, his third international goal, and Ledezma had a long, looping cross for Soto in the first minute of stoppage time.

A pair of 20-year-olds made debuts. Ledezma, a PSV Eindhoven midfielder, replaced Reyna in the 68th, and Soto, a Telstar forward, came in for Gioacchini. The US have used 90 players since the October 2017 defeat against Trinidad and Tobago that eliminated the Americans from the 2018 World Cup.

Preparing for the pandemic-delayed start of World Cup qualifying next September, the US started a lineup with an average age of 22 years and 154 days, the second-youngest in the team’s history.

Coach Gregg Berhalter said on Monday the US may schedule another match next month, which presumably would be with players mostly from Major League Soccer.