Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio stayed hot on Saturday, bagging a superb brace as the United States U-17 Men’s National Team remained perfect in Group F of the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship with a 6-1 victory over Barbados. The second half also saw Sporting forward Tyler Freeman make his tournament debut, replacing Busio at halftime of the one-sided affair.
Busio, who ignited the Americans’ 3-2 comeback win against Canada with a wicked volley on Thursday, struck again in the 26th minute of Saturday’s contest at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Six minutes after Kobe Hernandez-Foster had given the USA a 1-0 cushion, Busio doubled the lead with a brilliant 25-yard free kick that dipped over the wall and into the left corner.
BUSIOOOOO! 2-0! pic.twitter.com/zh3t3Grdd5— Future USMNT (@FutureUsmnt) May 4, 2019
Adam Saldana notched the USA’s third in the 33rd minute before Busio secured his second and the team’s fourth on the stroke of halftime. An intricate exchange off a set piece teed up the talented midfielder, whose 22-yard rip near the top of the box deflected past Barbados goalkeeper Brandon Sumpter.
Busio was relieved at halftime by his Sporting KC teammate and fellow 16-year-old Freeman, who played the final 45 minutes.
Another one for Busio off a set piece. 4-0 US over Barbados. This game is starting to remind me of the U20s game vs the US Virgin Islands. pic.twitter.com/aPPY8mEpE4— Future USMNT (@FutureUsmnt) May 4, 2019
A Barbados own goal and a tally from Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez pushed the score to 6-0 five minutes into the second half, but the Yanks’ bid for a clean sheet was dashed when Devonte Richards buried a 54th-minute penalty to put the Bajan Tridents on the scoresheet.
Saturday’s triumph lifts the USA into prime position to win Group F ahead of Monday’s group stage finale against Guatemala, slated for 5 p.m. CT with an English-language live stream on the Concacaf Facebook page and a Spanish-language telecast on Univision Deportes.
The USA has also guaranteed passaged to the tournament’s knockout rounds with a top-three finish in the group. The Round of 16 unfolds Wednesday and Thursday, followed by the quarterfinals on May 12, the semifinals on May 14 and the final on May 16. The four semifinalists of the competition will qualify for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup as representatives of Concacaf.