Preview: Gianluca Busio and USA U-17s kick off World Cup campaign Sunday vs. Senegal

United States U-17s vs. Senegal U-17s
2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup | Group D
Sunday, Oct. 27 | 3 p.m. CT | FS1, Telemundo
Estadio Kleber Jose de Andrade | Cariacica, Brazil

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio and the United States U-17 Men’s National Team will begin their FIFA U-17 World Cup campaign on Sunday, facing Senegal in a highly anticipated Group D opener at Estadio Kleber Jose de Andrade in Cariacica, Brazil. Kickoff is slated for 3 p.m. CT with live television broadcasts on FS1 and Telemundo and a live stream on the FOX Sports app.

Capable of playing multiple positions in midfield and attack, Busio figures to shoulder a leading role for the USA U-17s under head coach Raphael Wicky. The Sporting KC Academy product has bagged seven goals in 15 appearances at the U-17 international level, including five goals at the 2019 Concacaf U-17 Championship in May. Busio earned tournament Best XI honors as the U.S. narrowly fell to Mexico in the final, qualifying for the U-17 World Cup by virtue of their top-four finish in the competition.

The USA’s squad consists of 21 players who were born on or after Jan. 1, 2002. Busio is one of 15 players representing an MLS club and one of 14 players who competed at the Concacaf U-17 Championship earlier this year. Since the start of the current U-17 cycle in December 2017, the U.S. has put together a 17-8-5 international record, testing themselves against national teams from 18 different countries. The USA has qualified for a record 17 U-17 World Cups and is one of just seven countries to qualify for the last three tournaments.

Busio, who has tallied four goals and two assists in 34 competitive appearances for Sporting over the last two seasons, will be the most experienced professional to ever take the field for the United States at a U-17 World Cup. He enters the tournament on the heels of a strong 2019 campaign in Kansas City that yielded three goals and an assist across 26 games, including a stretch from March 30 to April 14 that saw him score in three straight fixtures and become the youngest player ever to score in back-to-back MLS matches.

All but one of Senegal's 21 players represent domestic clubs within the West African country, with Ibrahim Sy plying his trade for French side Reims. Senegal will be making their U-17 World Cup debut and qualified for the tournament in unusual circumstances. The Lions failed to reach the semifinals of the 2019 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations—the requisite for clinching a World Cup berth—but were awarded their spot after Guinea was disqualified for fielding age-ineligible players in the Cup of Nations.

Following Sunday’s contest, Busio and the Americans will face Japan next Wednesday and conclude group stage play against the Netherlands on Nov. 2. The 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup features 24 nations divided into six groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group, as well as the four best third-placed teams advance to the knockout round. All 52 matches of the tournament will be played in four venues across Brazil.

A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Busio moved from his hometown to Kansas City in 2016 to join the Sporting KC Academy. He rose from the U-14s to the U-18s before inking an MLS contract as a Homegrown Player in August 2017, becoming the second-youngest signing in MLS history at the time (15 years and 89 days). Busio made his professional debut for the Swope Park Rangers in April 2018, then broke into the Sporting KC first team to become the second-youngest player in MLS history to score a goal (Oct. 17, 2018 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC) and record an assist (Aug. 4, 2018 at Houston Dynamo).

2019 FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP: USA GROUP D SCHEDULE

Date
Match
Kickoff (CT)
Venue
TV Info
Sunday, Oct. 27
3 p.m.
Estadio Kleber Andrade; Cariacica, Brazil
FS1, Telemundo
Wed., Oct. 30
6 p.m.
Estadio Kleber Andrade; Cariacica, Brazil
FS2, Universo
Sat., Nov. 2
6 p.m.
Estadio da Serrinha; Goiania, Brazil
FS2, Universo
 

2019 FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP: USA ROSTER 
(CLUB; HOMETOWN; U-17 CAPS/GOALS)

GOALKEEPERS (3): 21-Aaron Cervantes (Orange County SC; Chino Hills, Calif.; 4/0), 1-Damian Las (Fulham/ENG; Norridge, Ill.; 19/0), 12-Chituru Odunze (Leicester City/ENG; London, England; 7/0)

DEFENDERS (7): 15-Sebastian Anderson (Colorado Rapids; Highlands Ranch, Colo.; 4/0), 13-Adam Armour (North Carolina FC; Cary, N.C.; 18/0), 3-George Bello (Atlanta United FC; Douglasville, Ga.; 8/1), 4-Nicolas Carrera (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas; 3/0), 14-Tayvon Gray (New York City FC; Bronx, N.Y.; 17/0), 5-Kobe Hernandez-Foster (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.; 23/3), 2-Joe Scally (New York City FC; Lake Grove, N.Y.; 19/1)

MIDFIELDERS (5): 18-Maximilian Dietz (Freiburg/GER; Frankfurt, Germany; 2/0), 17-Ethan Dobbelaere (Seattle Sounders FC; Seattle, Wash.; 3/0), 8-Bryang Kayo (Orange County SC; Poolesville, Md.; 8/1), 6-Daniel Leyva (Seattle Sounders FC; Las Vegas, Nev.; 7/0), 16-Adam Saldana (LA Galaxy; Panorama City, Calif.; 25/2)

FORWARDS (6): 7-Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City; Greensboro, N.C.; 15/7), 20-Andres Jasson (New York City FC; Greenwich, Conn.; 11/1), 19-Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (Seattle Sounders FC; Merced, Calif.; 24/9), 9-Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas; McKinney, Texas; 15/5), 10-Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund/GER; Bedford, N.Y.; 15/8), 11-Griffin Yow (D.C. United; Clifton, Va.; 12/7)

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