The 2019 MLS season is one Sporting Kansas City fans will be looking to forget. But with a very long offseason ahead that may not have soccer until March (assuming no MLSPA strike), we feel compelled to look back at the good and the bad from 2019. For the full list of players reviewed, head to our dedicated Year in Review page.
The Blue Testament continues our look back at 2019 with another fan favorite — Gianluca Busio.
Games Played (Started): 22 (10)
Minutes Played: 923
Games Suspended: None
xG (expected goals): 3.23
Positions Played: Both advanced midfield spots and a tiny bit of forward play.
2019 Salary: $92,500.00
Contract Through (Option Years): 2020 (2021, 2022)
*All stats from 2019 MLS regular season unless otherwise noted.
Best Moment of 2019
I’m going to go in a different direction on this one and pick two things that happened on the same day. On October 10th Busio was named to the U-17 United States Men’s National Team for the 2019 U-17 World Cup. On the same day he was also named to The Guardian’s Next Generation list which contains 60 of the “best young soccer talents in the world.” Busio was one of two MLS players named to the list (LA Galaxy’s Efrain Alvarez being the other) and one of two Americans (Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna being the other).
Worst Moment of 2019
In our Year in Review of Kristian Nemeth we picked on his 134 day goal scoring drought. Technically, Busio went longer, but he’s not a starter and not in a position to score as easily. However, like Nemeth, Busio did under-perform his xG number (how many posts and crossbars did this kid hit?). Instead I’ll say his “worst moment” is not breaking in as a consistent starter. That’s hardly a harsh critique for a 17-year-old but surely that’ll be his goal in 2020.
This could be a “best moment” too, but it’s worth highlighting. Busio scored all three of his MLS goals this year in consecutive games from the March 30th (against the Montreal Impact) to April 14th (against the New York Red Bulls). In two of those games those goals salvaged a point for SKC (NYRB and FC Cincinnati).
Fan Vote: Keep, Banish or Wait
I’m not sure who voted for banishing Busio, but that seems harsh. The 17-year-old took steady steps forward in 2019. Hopefully come 2020 he’ll take a giant leap forward before he inevitably gets sold overseas. Let’s not forget, in preseason he talked about Tyler Adams and how “definitely at some point, I want to be in Europe.” Once he turns 18 at the end of May, the rumors will just get stronger and stronger that he’s going to be on the move.