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USMNT’s Giovanni Reyna sets World Cup qualification target on return from injury


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Borussia Dortmund and United States international midfielder Giovanni Reyna said that he’s “pretty positive” he’ll return from his latest injury setback in time to help the U.S. in the last round of World Cup qualifying.

In last weekend’s 6-0 Bundesliga win against Borussia Monchengladbach, Reyna suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury that kept him out for over five months. Fortunately, the setback isn’t deemed to be too serious, and he should be back training in a couple of weeks.

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Speaking to ESPN via a Zoom interview, Reyna said he hopes to get some games in at club level before joining up with the U.S. for the first time since last September.

“I hope I’ll be back before that [March window]. I’m pretty positive I will be,” he told ESPN. “I’m doing well now, and then I hope I can be back within the next couple of games for Dortmund.”

Reyna added that prior to the Gladbach match, he had “felt really good for six weeks” only to be forced off after just 30 minutes.

“It was kind of just frustrating to see that I felt any sort of discomfort or pain in my hamstring,” he said. “But thankfully it wasn’t as bad or serious as it could have been last time. So yeah, I’m going to take the right steps in the next week or two and then see where we go.”

The campaign has been one of immense frustration for Reyna. The injury, which he sustained while on international duty with the U.S. last September, has been slow to heal, preventing him from building on what had been an impressive 2020-21 campaign with Dortmund. It has amounted to the toughest stretch playing-wise of his professional career.

“Playing is kind of the one time of the day where, whether it is practice or a game, where everything else kind of goes out the window and you just get to kind of relax and play,” he said. “So it’s almost kind of like a therapy to me, and it’s kind of what I’ve been doing my whole life. So when something you love so much, it’s kind of just taken away from you for that long and you don’t really know how long you won’t be able to play I guess it’s kind of frustrating.”

Reyna added that the injury was “on my mind a lot” and that there was almost too much free time to worry about when he might return.

“It was just the boredom. It’s just too much time playing video games and too much time on the couch, too much time not being able to get your energy out. But I’m just happy I’m towards the end now. I’m looking forward to coming back.”

For Reyna, it helped to not look too far ahead in terms of his rehab. Instead he focused on smaller milestones.

“I tried to look for little goals to celebrate, whether it’s starting to jog, or then starting to sprint, and then integrating with a team and then getting on the pitch,” he said. “So look for the little victories that will help with keeping going and then of course, just to stay motivated and to get back on the pitch.”

Reyna added, that his international teammates have checked in on him regularly, as has U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter.

“We’ve been consistently talking,” Reyna said. “We have a relationship that goes farther than just him being my coach. Obviously, we’re really close with each other’s families. I think he would love to have me back and I would love to be back for the national team.”

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