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Gianluca Busio becomes youngest Sporting KC player to feature in an MLS match

By Sam Kovzan,, 07/29/18, 2:00PM CDT


In the same game Sporting KC hit 1,000 regular-season goals, an age-related milestone was reached in the second half of Saturday's 3-2 loss to FC Dallas at sold-out Children's Mercy Park.

Homegrown midfielder and U.S. youth international Gianluca Busio replaced Felipe Gutierrez with 77 minutes on the clock, becoming the club’s all-time youngest player to feature in an MLS match at 16 years and 61 days.

"I actually think (Busio) played really well when he came in, I really do," Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said postgame. "He didn’t play like he is 16 years old, that’s for darn sure. He’s got great understanding of the game going forward, what the game needs, where to play the ball, his decisions on the ball. I actually disappoint myself not bringing him on earlier. He was a really good spark when he came onto the field. For a 16-year-old, a tremendous performance for sure."

Busio, a native of Greensboro, North Carolina, who joined the Sporting KC Academy in 2016, earned his first Sporting KC appearance in a 2-0 win at Real Salt Lake in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on June 6. The talented midfielder played the full 90 minutes in that match.

Youngest Sporting KC players to feature in an MLS match

# Player Age Date Result
1 Gianluca Busio 16 years, 61 days 07/28/2018 L 2-3 vs. FC Dallas
2 Erik Palmer-Brown 17 years, 24 days 05/18/2014 L 1-2 at Chicago Fire
3 Jaylin Lindsey 18 years, 68 days 06/03/0218 W 4-1 vs. Minnesota United FC
4 Nino da Silva 18 years, 158 days 08/31/1997 L 0-2 at D.C. United
5 Yura Movsisyan 18 years, 311 days 05/13/2006 L 1-2 at D.C. United
6 Soony Saad 19 years, 0 days 08/17/2011 W 3-1 vs. Portland Timbers
7 Jake Dancy 19 years, 137 days 08/24/1997 T 2-2 at San Jose Earthquakes
8 Jose Burciaga Jr. 19 years, 184 days 05/19/2001 L 0-2 at Chicago Fire
9 Jimmy Medranda 19 years, 212 days 09/07/2013 W 3-0 vs. Columbus Crew SC
10 Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal 19 years, 255 days 05/27/2018 T 0-0 vs. Columbus Crew SC

"It was great to get my MLS debut; it’s a great feeling," Busio said postgame. "Sad that we didn’t get the result, but nice to get out there for a couple of minutes, adjust to how it is – quicker and everything. The atmosphere was just crazy, so it’s a great step for me."

Busio made his professional debut for the Swope Park Rangers on April 4, assisting the lone goal of the game in a 1-0 win over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC to land USL Team of the Week honors. He has played in six USL matches for the Rangers this season while training primarily with the Sporting KC first team.

The 16-year-old's performance on Saturday pleased Vermes, who encouraged Busio to express himself in his first MLS appearance.

"He just told me be confident, go out there and be strong on the ball," Busio said. He’s putting me out there because I deserve it, it’s not just to get out there. He just told me be confident on the ball, be strong and just go out there and play. I think I did alright: couple nice little touches in there but, of course, your debut is (about) getting used to the game. So nothing too crazy, but simple, nice little passes from me so I thought I did pretty well."