Sporting KC's Gianluca Busio named to U.S. Gold Cup roster

By staff and wire reports
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio, at age 19, became the second youngest ever named to a U.S. Gold Cup roster Thursday. Busio will get to play at his home stadium, Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, in group play for the Gold Cup.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio will get to play for the U.S. men’s national team in his home stadium. 

Busio, who is 19, was named to the 23-player U.S. roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup Thursday morning, becoming the second youngest player ever on a U.S. Gold Cup squad. Only Juan Agudelo, who was named to the team in 2011, was younger when named to the U.S. Gold Cup roster. 

The U.S. is based in Kansas City, Kansas, for the first round of the Gold Cup and opens Group B on July 11 at Children’s Mercy Park against Haiti, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala or Guyana. The Americans play Martinique on July 15 and Canada on July 18. 

Busio, who has two goals this Major League Soccer season, is the first Sporting KC player selected to the U.S. national team since Ike Opara in January 2018 and the first Sporting KC Academy product to join the full national team for an official competition. 

Busio previously earned call-ups to play for the U.S. under-15, under-17 and under-20 youth national teams and was named a finalist for U.S. Soccer Young Player of the Year in 2019 after earning Best XI honors with five goals at the 2019 CONCACAF U-17 Championship before scoring at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil. 

Sporting KC goalkeeper Tim Melia, Lee’s Summit native and former Archbishop O’Hara High School student Erik Palmer-Brown, forward Jozy Altidore, goalkeeper Bill Hamid and midfielder Julian Green were among the 36 players cut Thursday from the U.S. roster Thursday. 

"Our priority is to win the Gold Cup. Anytime we're competing for a trophy, we want to win it," U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said. "It's going to take a good effort by the group, but it's certainly a focus of ours. We know the games are going to be difficult and as we looked at the roster for this tournament, we focused on guys who are in form and can help the team win." 

Defender Reggie Cannon, and midfielders Kellyn Acosta, Sebastian Lletget and Jackson Yueill are the only holdovers on the 23-man roster from the group the U.S. used for the Nations League final four last month. Acosta was the only starter in the 3-2 win over Mexico on June 6. 

Among the missing are Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Gio Reyna, Sergiño Dest, John Brooks, Zack Steffen and Josh Sargent, all being given time off ahead of preseasons with their European clubs and the start of World Cup qualifying Sept. 2. 

Five players could make debuts: Busio, forward Matthew Hoppe, midfielder Eryk Williamson, and defenders Donovan Pines and James Sands. 

Among those hoping they can use the Gold Cup to play their way back into first-choice player pool are goalkeeper Brad Guzan, midfielder Cristian Roldan, and forwards Paul Arriola and Gyasi Zardes. 

Guzan, 36, has 64 international appearances. He was Tim Howard's backup at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups and started at the 2016 Copa America. He has not played for the U.S. since a September 2019 exhibition against Uruguay. 

Sean Johnson and Matt Turner are the other two goalkeepers. 

Nineteen players are from Major League Soccer, joined by defenders Reggie Cannon of Portugal's Boavista and Shaq Moore of Spain's Tenerife, and forwards Hoppe of Germany's Schalke and Nicholas Gioacchini of France's Caen, a Kansas City native. 

Also dropped from the 59-man preliminary roster were defenders Julian Araujo, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Justin Che, Kyle Duncan, Chase Gasper, Jonathan Gomez, Aaron Herrera, Henry Kessler, Kevin Paredes and Auston Trusty; midfielders Cole Bassett, Johnny Cardoso, Caden Clark, Hassani Dotson, Leon Flach, Djordje Mihailovic, Moses Nyeman, Andrés Perea, Paxton Pomykal and Tanner Tessman; and forwards Frankie Amaya, Corey Baird, Cade Cowell, Jeremy Ebobisse, Jesus Ferreira, Rubio Rubin, Chris Mueller, Ricardo Pepi, Robbie Robinson, Memo Rodríguez and Mason Toye. 

Nyeman, a 17-year-old D.C. United player, was born in Liberia and has been in the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship. 

The 31-year-old Altidore had been a mainstay for the U.S. for a decade and was part of the roster at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, but has struggled with injuries. He has 42 goals in 115 international appearances, last playing for the U.S. in the 1-0 loss to Mexico in the 2019 Gold Cup final. He has not played for Toronto since May 22. 

Green, a 26-year-old with Germany's Greuther Fürth, was on the 2014 U.S. World Cup roster. 

A team may replace an injured player until a day before its first game. 

The top two nations in each group advance. The final is Aug. 1 in Las Vegas. 

U.S. Gold Cup roster 

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Atlanta), Sean Johnson (New York City), Matt Turner (New England)  

Defenders: George Bello (Atlanta), Reggie Cannon (Boavista, Portugal), Shaq Moore (Tenerife, Spain), Donovan Pines (DC United), Miles Robinson (Atlanta), James Sands (New York City), Sam Vines (Colorado), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville) 

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (Colorado), Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Cristian Roldan (Seattle), Eryk Williamson (Portland), Jackson Yueill (San Jose) 

Forwards: Paul Arriola (DC United), Daryl Dike (Orlando City), Nicholas Gioacchini (Caen, France), Matthew Hoppe (Schalke, Germany), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus)