Gio Reyna followed his father and mother onto US national soccer teams, showing an insightful passing ability similar to his dad’s, and the Americans tied Wales 0-0 in an exhibition at Swansea on Thursday night.
The match ended a 10-month layoff caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Reyna, who has gotten regular playing time at Borussia Dortmund, debuted a day before his 18th birthday and his distribution keyed the US attack, much the way former US captain Claudio Reyna did for many of his 112 appearances from 1994 to 2006.
Gio’s mother, the former Danielle Egan, played six matches for the American women in 1993 and married Claudio in 1997.
Reyna, who played 78 minutes, was among six players who made debuts, joined in the starting lineup by Yunus Musah, a midfielder with Valencia who turns 18 on 19 November; and 19-year-old midfielder Konrad de la Fuente, who waits his first Barcelona senior team appearance.
Johnny Cardoso, a 19-year-old midfielder with Brazil’s Internacional, entered in the 71st; Nicholas Gioacchini, a 20-year-old forward with Caen, in the 79th; and Owen Otasowie, a 19-year-old midfielder with Wolverhampton, in the 87th.
Reyna and Musah became just the 12th and 13th Americans to make an appearance before turning 18. The US have used 88 players since the October 2017 defeat at Trinidad and Tobago that eliminated the Americans from the 2018 World Cup, including 50 debuting.
Reyna formed one of the Americans’ most mobile and dynamic midfields, combining with 21-year-old Tyler Adams of Leipzig and 22-year-old Weston McKennie of Juventus. The starting lineup included 20-year-old right back Sergiño Dest, in his first season at Barcelona.
Zack Steffen, a 25-year-old who is the backup at Manchester City, has succeeded Tim Howard as the top US goalkeeper and combined with his defenders to play out of the back in a way the Americans rarely have.
Although this was a friendly that lacked intense physical contact, it was against a mid-level team that has qualified for the European Championship. Neither team had many chances. American Sebastian Llletget was saved on a long-range right-footed shot by Danny Ward in the 51st minute.
Steffen make a right leg save in the 63rd on Daniel James, who had just entered and got by left back Antonee Robinson streaking down a flank.
The clubs the players are with are a sign of how much the player pool has improved over the past three years. Starters averaged 22 years, 252 days (22.69), the fourth-youngest US lineup behind games in 2018.
There were no fans at Liberty Stadium for the Americans’ first match since 1 February and their first in a year on a Fifa international fixture date.
The US play Panama on Monday at Wiener Neustadt, Austria. The Americans are preparing for a Concacaf Nations League semi-final against Honduras in June and the likely start of World Cup qualifying in September, a grind that likely will include three matches per international window.