Gianluca Busio, Tim Melia included in USMNT preliminary roster for 2021 Gold Cup

Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio is interviewed during the Major League Soccer 25th Season kickoff event in New York, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — United States men’s national team head coach Gregg Berhalter has released the preliminary 60-man roster ahead of the 2021 Gold Cup and two Sporting Kansas City players have been included.

19-year-old midefielder Gianluca Busio and goalkeeper Tim Melia have a shot at playing at Children’s Mercy Park donning the new red and blue kits to represent the United States.

Busio has represented the U.S. at the U-15, U-17 and U-20 levels scoring 6 goals in 15 appearances with the U-17 squad.

The young rising star was included in the preliminary roster for the 2020 CONCACAF men’s Olympic qualifying, but was cut from the final roster.

Sporting KC’s No. 10 has been linked with several overseas clubs and he has been regarding as one of Major League Soccer’s brightest young talents since he made his professional debut at 16 years old.

Busio stunned the soccer world (and goalkeeper Maro Marić) with a world-class free kick in a 3-2 victory over the Houston Dynamo in May.

His stunner won MLS Goal of the Week and his overall performance earned him a spot in the MLS Team of the Week.

Busio has started in all 9 games this season and has two goals and an assist. He has been linked to several overseas clubs for a potential move to Europe.

Melia has never made an appearance at any level for the United States, but his performance over the past few season with Sporting have placed him among the league’s best.

The 7-year SKC veteran returned from injury earlier this season and in four games has one shutout and a 3-0-1 record.

In the conference quarterfinals of the 2020 MLS Cup playoffs against San Jose, Melia shut the Earthquakes down in a penalty kick shootout saving all three penalty kicks to help SKC advance to the conference semifinals.

The USMNT will play all three of their group stage games in Kansas City, Kansas, at Children’s Mercy Park.

The final USMNT roster for the 2021 Gold Cup will be revealed before the the tournament starts on July 2.

Sporting forward Alan Pulido is included in Mexico’s preliminary roster after representing “El Tri” in the Nations League tournament.

Midfielder Roger Espinoza is named to the Honduras preliminary roster for the first time since announcing his retirement from the international squad in 2019.

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