At the age of 19, Bryan Reynolds became the youngest ever American to start a Serie A match in today’s clash between AS Roma and Bologna F.C.
Reynolds largely looked the part of a young player with raw talent and lots to learn. There were bright moments of solid play including a quality run down the right flank and a high class interception.
But the main story was long stretches of quiet with frequent conversations with teammates about positioning.
There were of course several mistakes. Reynolds forced passes with little chance of success and in defense he left the right flank fully exposed by overcommitting to balls played in the middle of the field.
None of these mistakes led to a serious challenge from Bologna and don’t raise questions about Reynolds belonging. They instead raise questions about what the youngster can look like if and when he gets acclimated.
The young American made way in the 76th minute with Roma leading 1-0, a score line that would hold. He was likely always to be substituted and the fact it came later in the match was uplifting. Had the coaching staff been unhappy he would have made way much earlier.
Today’s nod came as Roma rotated their squad three days after a road win in Europa against Ajax. Roma deployed Reynolds at his natural position as a right wing back.
Reynolds had only one appearance for Roma before this match. A 30 minute substitution two weeks ago where he looked overmatched and unprepared. This start, while not a standout performance in anyway, was a definite improvement on the last match.
This is a growing process for the FC Dallas product who barely cracked the an MLS first team before rocketing to Serie A. The start is an uplifting sign that Roma like the raw talent Reynolds has displayed and hopefully that they’re going to continue giving him opportunities to grow into the challenge of a new league at such a young age.