Dániel Sallói defends former teammate Gianluca Busio in first World Cup Qualifier start

Sporting KC

United States’ Gianluca Busio, right, and Jamaica’s Devon Williams compete for the ball during a qualifying soccer match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A sub-par performance for the United States men’s national team Tuesday evening saw them draw 1-1 with Jamaica in a World Cup Qualifier on the road, days after an impressive 2-0 victory over Mexico.

Head coach Gregg Berhalter made a few changes to his starting lineup including giving former Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio his first start in a World Cup Qualifier.

The Veniezia FC midfielder’s play was singled out by MLSsoccer.com writer Matthew Doyle during the match on Twitter.

“Busio Currently: Zero tackles, zero recoveries, zero interceptions, zero fouls,” Doyle wrote.

The comments caught the attention of Busio’s former teammate and 2021 MLS MVP candidate Dániel Sallói.

“Hey Matthew! Remember when you started your first world cup qualifier at age 19?” Sallói wrote.

As fellow homegrown products, Sallói and Busio played roughly three years together under Peter Vermes in Kansas City.

Busio finished the game completing 81% of his passes and winning and had a long distance effort go just over the crossbar.

Doyle retweeted the Hungarian’s tweet, but doubled down on his analysis of Busio’s play in his MLSsoccer.com article:

Ok, about that midfield: Gianluca Busio, McKennie’s replacement, had a chance to make a statement. The one he ultimately made was “I’m no replacement for Weston McKennie.”

Busio’s young and has been very good with Venezia, and I think it’s fair right now to say that he’s much better suited to tactical games on pristine Serie A turf than he is for physical battles in the chop and slop of Concacaf. It’s not just that he doesn’t win those physical battles, it’s that he’s rarely in position to fight them in the first place.

As of the 60th minute he hadn’t registered a tackle, interception or a foul. Worse yet is that he hadn’t registered a single duel as per Opta, which is almost impossible for a central midfielder. That lack of midfield confrontation speaks to how uninvolved he was – how the Reggae Boyz didn’t even feel his presence – and explains, to a pretty good degree, why the US midfield struggled to dominate the game the way they’d managed against El Tri.

He did play better over the final 20ish minutes, but by that point the game was gone and the US were just holding on.

The 19-year-old started in all but one game with Venezia FC this season and has one goal and one assist.

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