Sporting midfielder Gianluca Busio named to MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week bench

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio was named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week bench today after leading his team to a 1-1 draw against Orlando City SC in an exciting Children's Mercy Park home opener on Friday night.

Busio made his mark on the stroke of halftime, settling a pass from fellow Sporting KC Academy product Daniel Salloi and expertly firing low inside the near post for his first goal of the 2021 campaign and the sixth of his blossoming MLS career.

The well-taken goal punctuated Busio's 50th career regular season appearance for Sporting on Friday night. Impressively enough, he is only the seventh player in MLS history to reach 50 regular season appearances before his 19th birthday. Among the seven who have done so, he is one of five who have recorded at least six goals and five assists in those first 50 matches.

YOUNGEST PLAYERS TO HIT 50 MLS APPEARANCES
(REGULAR SEASON, ALL-TIME)

Player Club Age G + A in first 50 games
Freddy Adu DC 16 years, 100 days 8 goals, 8 assists
Alphonso Davies VAN 17 years, 219 days 2 goals, 8 assists
Andy Najar DC 18 years, 189 days 8 goals, 6 assists
Diego Fagundez NE 18 years, 206 days 14 goals, 9 assists
Eddie Gaven RBNY 18 years, 218 days 12 goals, 10 assists
Luis Gil RSL 18 years, 313 days 3 goals, 3 assists
Gianluca Busio SKC 18 years, 330 days 6 goals, 5 assists

Busio rightly earned the headlines for his goal, but his overall work rate should not go overlooked. The U.S. youth international has taken part in 38 duels through the first two weeks of the 2021 MLS campaign. Since the dawn of the Opta era in 2010, that's the second-most duels by a Sporting player after Week 2 of the regular season.

MOST DUELS THROUGH WEEK 2 OF MLS SEASON
(SPORTING KC, SINCE 2010)

Player Duels Season
Felipe Gutierrez 42 2018
Gianluca Busio 38 2021
Roger Espinoza 37 2015
Gadi Kinda
Milos Stojcev
34
34
2020
2011
Graham Zusi 33 2013
Kei Kamara 30 2012

Busio and Sporting (1-0-1, 4 points) will put their unbeaten start to 2021 on the line Saturday when they visit rivals Real Salt Lake (1-0-0, 3 points) at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Saturday's Western Conference clash is slated for 1 p.m. CT with three hours of live coverage beginning at 12:30 p.m. CT on Bally Sports Kansas City Plus, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, the Bally Sports app and BallySports.com. Local radio broadcasts will also air on ESPN 94.5 FM and La Grande 1340 AM, with The Final Whistle postgame show immediately following the match on 810 WHB.

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