Gianluca Busio is a rising talent in MLS and the 19-year-old provided a needed spark for Sporting KC on Saturday in an eventual comeback win over the Houston Dynamo.
One day after his 19th birthday, Busio delivered a stellar free kick goal to help turn the tide in a 3-2 victory at Children’s Mercy Park. Busio also registered one assist in the match, and overall got to play the hero for Peter Vermes’ side for the first time this 2021 season.
“I think it was really important,” Busio said when asked about his free kick sparking SKC’s turnaround. “Obviously, getting that first one to tie the game that was going to be good for the team. No matter who scored it or how we scored it, we needed that goal.
“Players are going to have to step up and create moments of brilliance and that’s what happened and it happened to be me today. That’s what happens when we have teams who sit back; we’re going to have to have moments like that. I knew once we got one, we’d get two and three and we did.
After heading into halftime down 1-0 thanks to Matias Vera’s opener for the Dynamo, Sporting KC needed only 14 minutes to completely flip the match in its favor. Busio’s perfectly hit free kick rattled off the left post and in before Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda added goals of their own later in the half.
As for Busio, he has doubled his goalscoring production from last season in only eight appearances in 2021. Not only did the midfielder deliver a Goal of the Season nominee, but he was all over the field for SKC, having 102 touches of the ball and completing 91% of his passes.
— x – Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) May 30, 2021
While his goal will take the spotlight, Busio’s all-around outing was worthy of Man of the Match honors.
“What I’m happy about is that people are getting a chance to see what I see every day in that kid and that is that he is not only an incredible talent, but he’s incredibly mature for his age,” Vermes said about Busio. “The things that he’s able to pull off on a regular basis and do it consistently is incredible. He’s just got a great attitude. I don’t think he gets the recognition that he deserves. He is a fantastic player. He is a great kid. He continues to display what a great soccer player he is every time he steps onto the field.”
“I take pride in taking free kicks,” Busio said. “I think I’ve hit one close to that, but I think that was definitely my best one yet. That was the perfect spot and I’m happy that it when in like that. I definitely think it was my best one yet.”
The U.S. Men’s National Team player has continued to develop into a top professional in MLS, which has also seen European clubs become more and more linked with his services down the road. Busio has continued to rack up minutes with SKC and most importantly has upped his production in the final third this season.
Busio and his SKC teammates will now head into a two-week break before resuming league play on June 12th against Austin FC. With three straight wins under their belt, SKC remains an early contender in the Western Conference (second place on 16 points) and Busio’s willingness to play anywhere has been a promising sight to see.
“This guy is amazing,” Gadi Kinda said about Busio. “He plays every game better than his last game. I’ve never seen a 19-year-old play like this. I love to see him play. He’s a top-level player.”
“Anywhere on the field, I want to help the team,” Busio said about his role. “Wherever they need me, I’m going to play. I’ve been playing really well at the 6 right now and I’ll continue to play that way. I enjoy every position on the field, really.”