At age 17, Giovanni Reyna eclipsed Christian Pulisic as the youngest American to appear in the Bundesliga when he entered last Saturday's match against Augsburg. The midfielder came on for Thorgan Hazard in the 72nd minute, and helped a 4-3 lead grow to a 5-3 victory.
Augsburg went up 3-1 in the 55th minute, which spurred the introduction of newest Dortmund starlet Erling Haaland. That's when the match flipped, as Haaland became the latest player to score a hat-trick on his debut, joining former Dortmund man Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang.
On Haaland's third goal, Reyna helped kickstart the counter-attack when he smothered an Augsburg cross from the right-flank and dribbled out of pressure. He subsequently dropped the ball out of Dortmund's defensive third to Marco Reus, who hit a beautiful assist over the top to Haaland.
The young American's stock has skyrocketed since joining the club from NYCFC in July of 2019. Reyna comes from footballing stock, and his father, Claudio Reyna—who holds 112 caps for the USMNT—has even higher hopes for his son, saying,
"He's much more of an athlete than I was, much more of a goal scorer. He's very technical and has a good feel for the game. He has a great free kick and can strike a ball well. Danielle was a great runner – and he's a runner."
Dortmund are still seven points off Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig, where fellow USMNT international Tyler Adams plies his trade. If the Black and Yellow continue their goal-scoring tear and move up from fourth in the table, expect Reyna to contribute off the bench more and more. With a squad that includes the likes of Jadon Sancho, Mario Gotze, and Hazard in the midfield, it's difficult to see the youngster starting many games this campaign.
It's also important to keep in mind that Dortmund have a very methodical approach to player development and introduction of younger players to their senior squad. As Sebastian Kehl, the club's licensed player division chief, noted in the summer,
"As was the case with Christian Pulisic, we want to build Gio up slowly and carefully."
But as he improves, there's no doubt that manager Lucien Favre will give him chances, having already noted his happiness with the progress Reyna has made in his short stint with the club. After the US youth player made his debut, Favre described it as "very good," which is good praise despite the lack of substance. This isn't unexpected – as the minutes grow, so will the feedback. And the hope from US fans is that it will be primarily positive for the youngster.
Borussia Dortmund next face FC Koln on Friday, January 24th at 8:30pm CET / 2:30pm ET.