Gold Cup Preview: Busio and USA to meet Jamaica in quarterfinals

United States vs. Jamaica
2021 Concacaf Gold Cup | Quarterfinals
Sunday, July 25, 2021 | 9 p.m. CT
AT&T Stadium | Arlington, Texas

Broadcast Schedule:
English | FS1
Spanish | Univision, TUDN
Streaming | FOX Sports app, TUDN app

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio and the United States Men's National Team will continue their pursuit of continental glory when they face Jamaica in the Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinals on Sunday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

A rematch of the 2017 Gold Cup final, which saw Sporting's Matt Besler and Graham Zusi lift the trophy, Sunday's encounter will be shown live in English on FS1 and the FOX Sports app and in Spanish on Univision, TUDN and the TUDN app.

The winner will play victor of the Qatar-El Salvador quarterfinal in the semifinals on Thursday, July 29 in Austin, Texas.

Busio, 19, was named to the U.S. MNT for the first time earlier this month, joining a 23-player Gold Cup roster assembled by head coach Gregg Berhalter. He has collected his first three caps in the familiar confines of Children’s Mercy Park, helping the U.S. finish atop Group B with three consecutive wins. The Sporting KC Academy product landed his U.S. MNT debut on July 11 against Haiti, assisted a goal in his first start on July 15 against Martinique, and helped the Americans to victory over Canada before a sold-out crowd on July 18.

Busio has been among the standout Gold Cup performers for the U.S. thus far, with the likes of forward Daryl Dike, defender James Sands, outside back Shaq Moore and goalkeeper Matt Turner also impressing. The Yanks are 22-6-3 under Berhalter and own an 11-1-1 record since returning to action last November after an extended hiatus due to the pandemic. The U.S. is rolling with momentum, as well, having defeated archrivals Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League Final on June 6 in Denver.

Although the Americans will be pegged as favorites this weekend, Jamaica has reached the Gold Cup finals in two of the last three tournaments. The Reggae Boyz lost 3-1 to Mexico in the 2015 final and 2-1 to the U.S. in the 2017 title match. The U.S. MNT holds a dominant 17-3-8 record in the all-time series, although each of Jamaica's three wins have come within the last decade.

Led by head coach Theodore Whitmore, Jamaica wields a roster with heavy representation from England as well as five players from Major League Soccer. That group includes a Philadelphia Union trio in goalkeeper Andre Blake, defender Alvas Powell and forward Cory Burke as well as LA Galaxy defender Oniel Fisher and Toronto FC defender Kemar Lawrence.

A North Carolina native, Busio moved to Kansas City in 2016 to join the Sporting KC Academy and has developed into one of the sport’s top teenagers since signing a Homegrown Player contract with the club at age 15 in August 2017. Busio became the second-youngest player in MLS history to record an assist (Aug. 4, 2018) and score a goal (Oct. 17, 2018) in his debut season and has eight goals and eight assists in 62 MLS appearances over the last three years.

Busio has demanded the spotlight in 2021, amassing two goals and three assists while starting 13 matches for a Sporting side that sits third in the Supporters’ Shield standings with 27 points and an 8-3-3 record. He scored the opening goals in Sporting’s 1-1 draw with Orlando on April 23 and 3-2 victory over Houston on May 29, with the latter earning AT&T MLS Goal of the Week honors as Busio became the league’s second-youngest player to score directly from a free kick. He is the first Sporting KC player selected to the U.S. Men’s National Team since Ike Opara in January 2018 and the first Sporting KC Academy product to join the full national team for an official competition.

Held every two years, the Gold Cup is the regional championship for Concacaf and just like in the European Championships and Copa America, lifting the trophy brings prestige and regional supremacy. Over the course of 15 previous Gold Cup tournaments, the United States has lifted the trophy six times (1991, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2013, 2017), just behind all-time leaders Mexico with eight (1993, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2019). Canada is the only other tournament champion, coming away with the title in 2000.