Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio made his highly anticipated debut for the United States Men’s National Team on Sunday night at Children’s Mercy Park, helping the Americans to a 1-0 victory over Haiti in their Concacaf Gold Cup opener in Group B.
Busio received a rousing ovation upon entering the match as a 62nd-minute substitute, landing his first senior cap in his home stadium with the U.S. MNT nursing a 1-0 lead. The talented 19-year-old had a palpable impact on proceedings with pinpoint distribution from the holding midfield position and nearly marked the occasion with a stunning strike in the 76th minute, only to see his venomous volley pushed over the crossbar by Haiti goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre.
The U.S. bagged their game-winner in the eighth minute when Colorado Rapids left back Sam Vines headed home his first international goal off an assist from Gyasi Zardes. From there, the Americans limited Haiti to only three shots on target in what became a comfortable win to kick off the tournament.
Busio, the youngest player on the United States’ Gold Cup roster, notably became the first active Sporting player to represent the national team since Ike Opara featured in a friendly in January 2018.
The U.S. MNT is now 6-0-1 at Children’s Mercy Park all-time and will look to improve upon that record when they close out Group B with two more matches at the world-class stadium. Head coach Gregg Berhalter’s side will face Martinique at 9 p.m. CT on Thursday (FS1, FOX Sports app, TUDN and UniMas) and Canada at 4 p.m. CT on Sunday (FOX, FOX Sports app, TUDN and Univision). Thursday’s game is the nightcap of a stadium doubleheader as Canada and Haiti square off at 6:30 p.m. CT (FS1, FOX Sports app, TUDN).
Tickets for all remaining Gold Cup matches at Children’s Mercy Park begin at $40 and are available at SeatGeek.com.
Group B: Canada takes 4-1 win over Martinique
The first matchup of Sunday’s doubleheader at Children’s Mercy Park saw Canada take pole position in Group B with a 4-1 win over Martinique. Italian Serie A veteran Emmanuel Riviere gave Martinique an early lead, but the Canadians replied with four unanswered goals from Cyle Larin, Jonathan Osorio, Stephen Eustaquio and Theo Corbeanu to prevail with ease.
Saturday: Pulido an unused sub in Mexico’s 0-0 draw
Sporting Kansas City striker Alan Pulido was an unused substitute for Mexico on Saturday night as Eli Tri were held to a scoreless draw against Trinidad and Tobago in their Group A curtain-raiser at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Pulido and Mexico will finish Group A with two upcoming matches at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, meeting Guatemala at 9 p.m. CT on Wednesday and El Salvador at 9 p.m. CT on Sunday. Both contests will be shown live on FS1, FOX Sports app, TUDN and Univision.
The Gold Cup: What You Need to Know
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.
The top two teams in each of the four Gold Cup groups will advance to the quarterfinals on July 24-25 in Arlington and Glendale, Arizona. The semifinals are scheduled for July 29 in Austin and Houston before the championship match takes place Aug. 1 in Las Vegas.