Gio Reyna scores winner for Dortmund as Haller returns

Sports

DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — Gio Reyna scored the winning goal in his first game since the World Cup and signaled he’s blocking out the controversy surrounding him, his parents and the U.S. national team coach.

Reyna came off the bench to decide a thrilling game as Borussia Dortmund beat Augsburg 4-3 in the Bundesliga on Sunday, a game that also saw Reyna’s teammate Sébastien Haller return after treatment for testicular cancer.

American midfielder Reyna came on in the 70th minute in his first competitive match since the World Cup, where he was limited to a pair of substitute appearances.

The lack of playing time, and later critical comments by U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter about an unnamed player subsequently identified as Reyna, led Reyna’s parents, former American players Claudio Reyna and Danielle Egan, to contact the U.S. Soccer Federation about a 1991 domestic-violence incident involving Berhalter. The USSF has appointed an interim coach while a law firm investigates Berhalter.

Eight minutes after coming on, Reyna was left in space to the right of the penalty area allowing him to control the ball before flicking it up and over goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz.

The 20-year-old Reyna marked his goal with a series of gestures that appeared to signal he was blocking out the furor. He first placed his finger to his lips, then open and closed his right hand in a chattering motion, cupped his right hand to his hear, then plugged both his ears with his index fingers.

He later posted on Instagram a photo of himself with his finger to his lips and the matter-of-fact message: “Crazy game, 3 points, on to the next.”

Reyna could have scored a second goal five minutes later but failed in an audacious bid to round Gikiewicz, which would have left him with an empty net to aim at.

Frail in defense all season, Dortmund was bailed out by its substitutes. First-half goals from Jude Bellingham and Nico Schlotterbeck were answered by Augsburg’s Arne Maier and Ermedin Demirović to leave the game at 2-2 at halftime. English youngster Jamie Bynoe-Gittens hit a curling shot from distance to restore Dortmund’s lead in the 75th, but David Colina leveled the score again for Augsburg, only for Reyna to score his team’s fourth.

HALLER RETURNS

Greeted by a roar from the famous “Yellow Wall” of fans, Haller entered as a 62nd-minute substitute in his return after cancer treatment that included two operations and chemotherapy.

Six months ago, Haller received a diagnosis during pre-season training that turned his life upside down and put in doubt his playing career. The long-delayed debut — Haller was diagnosed less than a month after signing from Ajax — brought a standing ovation from the crowd of more than 81,000.

“Great feeling, of course, especially with this welcome, with the atmosphere, the win,” Haller said. “Everything went well — except a goal, of course. It will come.”

The former West Ham and Eintracht Frankfurt striker couldn’t mark his debut with a goal, let alone the hat trick he scored in a friendly last week, but he did not look at all out of place as a replacement for 18-year-old emerging star Youssoufa Moukoko, who signed a new contract on Saturday.

GOALS CONTINUE IN DERBY

After 36 goals across the round’s previous eight games, they continued to flow as Bayer Leverkusen held on to beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-2 in their derby.

Swiss goalkeeper Jonas Omlin conceded three goals in his first taste of German soccer. Omlin joined Gladbach last week from French team Montpellier to replace compatriot Yann Sommer, who was snapped up by Bayern Munich as Manuel Neuer’s replacement following the German captain’s skiing accident last month. Neuer is out for the rest of the season with a broken leg.

Gladbach started well but Leverkusen struck twice in the first half through Mitchel Bakker and Amine Adli on counterattacks. Adli set up substitute Nadiem Amiri for the third in the 67th before Gladbach substitute Lars Stindl scored two late consolation goals.

Leverkusen star Florian Wirtz came on for the final 15 minutes in his first appearance since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last March.

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