Thursday night’s 0-0 draw between the U.S. and Mexico was probably a fair result, one both teams will contentedly take as another point on the path toward World Cup qualification. Though both teams will lament missed chances — the Americans and Jordan Pefok perhaps a bit more so — the truth is neither team did enough to find the back of the net. But if there was one moment that deserved to result in a winner, it was the Gio Reyna run vs Mexico at the Azteca, one that evoked images of Diego Maradona making a similar run on the same grounds 36 years earlier.
Reyna, returning to the national team for the first time since suffering an injury in September, came on as a second-half sub and provided a nice spark off the bench for coach Gregg Berhalter. With about 15 minutes left, Reyna embarked on a magical run that took him from a few yards outside his own 18-yard box to a few yards outside the Mexico 18. It was true poetry in motion and a pure example of why soccer is called the beautiful game.
During the run, the 19-year-old Reyna beat five different Mexico players — seven if you include Hector Herrera and Edson Álvarez, who were beaten twice — before Johan Vásquez finally knocked Reyna off the ball. It was an incredible display of ball control, agility, stamina and a lack of options to pass to, perhaps most surprising because no Mexico players decided to end it all by fouling him.
Here’s the run, as seen on the English-language broadcast.
Gio Reyna Run vs Mexico
After the match, coach Gregg Berhalter said the run reminded him of that dazzling Maradona run, which resulted in the Goal of the Century against England at the 1986 World Cup, also at the Azteca.
“Mexico was the host of the 1986 World Cup where Maradona his wonderful goal and I had visions of that while Gio was running,” Berhalter said. “Unfortunately, he didn’t finish it off or get an opportunity to finish it off.”
When the run came up during the postgame news conference featuring Reyna with Christian Pulisic, Reyna turned to his teammate and said “hype me up” both before and after Reyna’s response to the run. Pulisic said nothing, but Reyna said he wasn’t sure if he agreed with Berhalter’s assessment that it was as good as Maradona’s run in 1986.
“In the end it didn’t really turn out to anything, so I’ll save it to my camera roll later, but it didn’t really do anything for the team in the end,” Reyna said. “Hopefully I can find a way to score one of those next time.”
Regardless, it was the most memorable moment of a well-earned point for the Americans at the Azteca, something that should never be taken for granted. The USMNT is now a win away from all but clinching a spot in the 2022 World Cup (for all the scenarios that will get the U.S. to Qatar, click here).
Now, here are many, many more angles of the Gio Reyna run vs Mexico, because if you’re anything like us, you can’t stop watching it.
Gio Reyna Run vs Mexico — Every Angle & Replay
1, 2, 3, 4, 5...GIO REYNA.
That's all pic.twitter.com/5S7MW2Rh5s
— TUDN USA (@TUDNUSA) March 25, 2022
In slow motion set to Ode to Joy
Ode to Gio pic.twitter.com/2IAvc5u1ay— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) March 25, 2022
Set to Metallica’s Ride the Lightning
— Football Report ☮️ #BerhalterOut (@FootballReprt) March 25, 2022
Reaction To Gio Reyna Run vs Mexico
Here’s some of the reaction from around the soccer world to Reyna’s magical run.
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) March 25, 2022
— Michael Parkhurst (@MFparkhurst) March 25, 2022
Told folks on the Counterattack show on Wednesday that Gio would be the one to make some magic happen tonight. The goal hasn't come (yet) but man, the things he's doing. Think about where the #USMNT would be if he hadn't missed 10 qualifiers.— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) March 25, 2022
Gio Reyna is electric. Much-needed jolt of energy and purposeful running off the bench, big big spark— Aaron West (@oeste) March 25, 2022
man was stunned pic.twitter.com/wIbbfZtmk9— lauren (@njdlauren) March 25, 2022