Gianluca Busio starts for Homegrown Team in shootout win over Chivas U-20s

Midfielder Gianluca Busio became the fifth player to represent Sporting Kansas City in the MLS Homegrown Game on Tuesday, starting and playing 45 minutes as the MLS Homegrown Team prevailed 3-0 on penalty kicks following a 2-2 draw with the Chivas de Guadalajara U-20s at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida.

Busio was part of a formidable starting XI that took a 1-1 tie into halftime after both sides struck within the first three minutes. Chivas opened the scoring inside 40 seconds on a goal from Irving Marquez, but a well-worked attack involving George Campbell and Efrain Alvarez allowed New York Red Bulls midfielder Omir Fernandez to restore parity.

Assuming an advanced midfield role in a 4-3-3 formation under Orlando City SC Academy Director Marcelo Neveleff, Busio helped the Homegrown outfit gain a gradual foothold before wholesale substitutions were made at halftime.

The contest took a turn in the 70th minute when Sebastian Martinez hammered home lift Chivas in front, but Toronto FC midfielder Noble Okello salvaged a last-gasp equalizer in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time to force penalty kicks. San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski stood tall in the decisive shootouts, saving a pair of spot kicks while Sam Vines, Thomas Roberts and Cole Bassett all converted their attempts to seal the Homegrown Team’s first win in the annual fixture.

The previous four Sporting players to appear in the MLS Homegrown Game include Busio’s current teammates Jaylin Lindsey and Wan Kuzain, both of home featured in last summer’s match by helping the Homegrowns to a 1-1 draw against the Tigres UANL U-20s. Former Sporting players Jon Kempin and Erik Palmer-Brown appeared in the inaugural MLS Homegrown Game in 2014, with Palmer-Brown also competing in the 2015 and 2017 editions.

Busio, who turned 17 on May 28, will now return to Sporting, where he has appeared in 16 competitive matches throughout the 2019 campaign. He most notably scored in three straight league games from March 30 to April 14, becoming the youngest player in MLS history to score a goal in consecutive matches.

The MLS Homegrown Game was part of an action-packed slate of festivities during MLS All-Star Week. At the forefront, Sporting defender Graham Zusi and the MLS-All-Stars will face Atletico Madrid in the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target at 7 p.m. CT Wednesday at Exploria Stadium in Orlando. The summer showcase will be televised live on FOX and UniMas.

Sporting's MLS Homegrown Game Participants

Year Players Result
2014 GK Jon Kempin
D Erik Palmer-Brown
T 0-0 vs. Portland Timbers U-23s
2015 D Erik Palmer-Brown (2) T 1-1 vs. Club America U-20s (4-5 PKs)
2016 None L 0-2 vs. Mexico MNT U-20s
2017 D Erik Palmer-Brown (3) T 2-2 vs. Chivas de Guadalajara U-20s
2018 D Jaylin Lindsey
M Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal
T 1-1 vs. Tigres UANL U-20s
2019 M Gianluca Busio T 2-2 vs. Chivas de Guadalajara U-20s (3-0 PKs
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