Emanuel Reynoso’s rise to Buenos Aires super club Boca Juniors included helping his hometown club Talleres de Cordoba earn multiple promotions from Argentina’s third division to its first from 2014 to 2016.
Along the way, the 21-year-old known as “Bebelo” played a great game in an upset victory over Boca at its famed and crazed La Bombonera stadium in 2017.
The Argentine announcer calling the match rolled his “Rs” as he repeated his name: “Reynoso. Rey-noso! REYNOSOOO!”
Reynoso showed a hunger to be on the ball in a playmaking role as a No. 10 central attacking midfielder, creating for teammates and himself and he assisted on the first goal and scored the game-winner in the 82nd minute of a 2-1 victory. It led to Reynoso moving up to Boca later on that season.
But multiple coaching changes often kept Reynoso out of his best position and on the fringes of Boca’s primary plans. It led to his inconsistent play and set up his desire to seek a transfer to Minnesota United, which the Loons made official Tuesday. He joins the Loons on a top-tier Designated Player deal.
Francisco Aure and Gabriel Aguero of the Boca in English podcast recalled Reynoso’s time with Boca for the Pioneer Press.
“This could be a new beginning in his career because we had lots of expectations on him,” said Aure, a motor-sports reporter and lifelong Boca supporter based in Buenos Aires. “We could really see the kind of player that he is. However, he could never earn enough minutes. He could never establish himself, so I really hope for him it’s a new beginning because he’s a brilliant player.”
Aguero called Reynoso’s coming-out match for Talleres “an absolutely phenomenal display” for a player who already had a rising stock within the country’s SuperLiga.
“But that game pretty much caught the eye of the (Boca) board that pursued him that transfer window,” recalled Aguero, a medical student and lifelong Boca fan in New York.
After 52 games with Talleres, Reynoso joined Boca in the 2017-18 season and totaled seven goals and 12 assists across all competitions.
“Overall his time with the club, I would say, I don’t want to use the word ‘disappointing,’ ” Aguero said. “It wasn’t what most fans thought it would be.”
Given players ahead of him on Boca’s depth chart and three head coaches, Reynoso always had an uphill climb. Aure compared it to a boxing match tilted against the visiting fighter.
“When a boxer has a fight in the home of his opponent, it’s very difficult that he wins the fight unless he knocks his opponent out,” Aure said. “If the judges had to award the points, it’s not likely that the one that is not from home is awarded the fight. Sometimes I felt like Reynoso had to knock everybody out as his only way to be successful. He had to be so so excellent to be recognized and to be considered and be praised by everybody.”
Yet Reynoso had some strong moments for Boca. For his first goal in a blue Boca shirt, he chipped the San Martin de Tucuman goalkeeper from about 15 yards out in March 2019.
In the 2019 Copa Libertadores — the championship of South America — Reynoso scored a header inside the 6-yard box against Bolivian club Jorge Wilstermann.
Later in that Copa, Reynoso and his favored left foot, sent a curling free kick into the upper corner of the net from about 30 yards out against Liga de Quito
Aguero called it Reynoso’s best match overall at Boca, and it came at altitude in Ecuador’s capital city.
In the 2020 Copa Libertadores, Reynoso had a nearly carbon copy of the Liga de Quito free kick in a win over Colombian club Deportivo Independiente.
Aguero and Aure said Reynoso is a very skilled and technical player, who has great vision to feed teammates, but he isn’t among the fastest on the pitch.
“He is a classical No. 10, which I don’t think we see as much in the modern game,” Aguero said. “He is a slower player, but he thinks quick with his head, which is important for a player that plays that position. He can pick out a pass very well. He can find a teammate making a run in behind the defense and he can deliver a ball pretty well.”
Reynoso’s move to MLS follows fellow Argentine Pity Martinez, the 2018 South American Footballer of the Year, who left Boca Junior’s arch rival River Plate for Minnesota’s rival Atlanta United in January 2019.
“MLS has earned a lot of respect in the last two or three years (in Argentina),” Aure said. “Perhaps it’s a lack of knowledge from us, but until a couple of years ago, the MLS was a league for the players to spend the last years of their career. The breakthrough was with Pity Martinez.”
Another precursor to Reynoso is Cristian Pavon, another 24-year-old Talleres and Boca product. Pavon moved to the Los Angeles Galaxy last season.
“I’m sure they could have shared moments in the academy of Talleres and in Boca,” Aure said. “I wouldn’t rule out that Pavon was an influence for him to make the decision.”
When podcaster Aguero traveled to Buenos Aires, he would try to catch glimpses of Boca players.
“I would wait outside the training grounds and I would always wave at (Reynoso), and he would always be more than happy to wave back,” Aguero said. “He is a very friendly guy, he always waves back. He isn’t one of those stuck-up, mean players.”