Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio carried his scoring touch onto the international stage Thursday night, bagging a brilliant volley to help the United States U-17 Men’s National Team erase a two-goal deficit and defeat Canada 3-2 in a wild Group F opener at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
Canada struck twice in the space of a minute to take a 2-0 halftime lead, receiving goals from Jeremie Omeonga and Jacen Russell-Rowe. In need of a spark, the U.S. received just that from Busio, who picked Gio Reyna’s cross out of the air and buried a stunning volley into the far corner in the 49th minute to cut Canada’s advantage in half.
Busio’s sumptuous strike instilled the Americans with momentum, and parity was restored on 63 minutes when Axel Alejandre ran onto a deflected shot form Kobe Hernandez-Foster and finished high into the net from close range.
Reyna went from provider to goal scorer in the 69th minute, curling a splendid free kick past Canada goalkeeper Marc Koadio to complete the furious fightback and seal all three points for head coach Raphael Wicky’s side.
BUSIO! BUSIO! BU-SI-OOOO! https://t.co/jxdokDsRmO— Sporting KC (@SportingKC) May 2, 2019
Busio played the full 90 minutes in Thursday’s curtain raiser, while his Sporting teammate Tyler Freeman was an unused substitute. The result puts the USA atop Group F through matchday one, with the top three finishers in the four-team group advancing to the tournament’s Round of 16 beginning next Wednesday, May 8.
Busio, Freeman and the U.S. U-17s will continue their group stage campaign at 3 p.m. CT Saturday against Barbados, which tied Guatemala in its first game on Thursday. The contest will be shown live in English on the Concacaf Facebook page and in Spanish on Univision Deportes.
A product of the Sporting KC Academy, Busio has scored three MLS goals for Sporting this season. The 16-year-old is the youngest player in league history to score in consecutive MLS matches and the third player to score four career MLS goals before his 17th birthday.