The New York Red Bulls nearly snatched a win from Sporting Kansas City, only for 16-year-old Gianluca Busio to score his third goal in three games in the 88th minute to give the teams a point each at Children's Mercy Park on Sunday evening.
Busio — a second-half substitute — managed to stick home a chance at the far post following a recycled corner kick to quash the Red Bulls' hopes of a comeback win in a wild affair.
Danny Royer and Brian White provided the second second-half goals for the Red Bulls, with White scoring the would-be game-winner just minutes after he came on in a head-turning substitution for two-time Golden Boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips. After Busio's equalizer, though, the Red Bulls had to endure a final flurry that included a Daniel Salloi chance that hit the woodwork, and a Kaku red card.
The Red Bulls also had to endure plenty of early pressure, with Luis Robles making a vital stop just seconds into the game and staying busy throughout the first half. Johnny Russell bagged the opening goal of the encounter in the 24th minute from a quickly-worked throw-in that saw Graham Zusi find Krisztian Nemeth with the restart, allowing the Hungarian to lay it into Russell's path for the finish from a tight angle.
The Red Bulls equalized early in the first half, when Yohan Croizet barely kept Royer onside just inside the Sporting KC half, which in turn allowed Cristian Casseres Jr. to play Royer in behind. The Austrian winger made no mistake in his one-on-one, rounding Tim Melia and rolling the ball home.
Just three minutes after Wright-Phillips left the field — a decision Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas attributed on the broadcast in part to the amount of defensive work Wright-Phillips had done — Kaku found himself with plenty of space on the left side to swing in a deep cross that found a streaking White for a diving header.
When it looked like RBNY might come away with the three points, Zusi was able to collect a punch from Robles and fire the ball back into the box, which Busio was able to turn home for the equalizer.
- 24' – SKC – Johnny Russell | WATCH
- 52' – RBNY – Daniel Royer | WATCH
- 75' – RBNY – Brian White | WATCH
- 88' – SKC – Gianluca Busio | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Given where we are in the season — and the circumstances leading up to this game — it's hard to say either team is going to be too disappointed by this result. Sporting will probably be the unhappier of the two after dropping points at home against an out-of-form team, but after their dismantling by Monterrey in the Champions League, they bounced back with plenty of determination and attacking endeavor. The Red Bulls, on the other hand, got a credible result in a very tough road game, but are still looking up at the Eastern Conference playoff places.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Busio's equalizer seems like the obvious choice, but Armas' decision to sub off BWP might be more meaningful in the big picture. We can't say from just this game, but if this becomes a regular occurrence it could portent a slow changing of the guard in the Red Bulls attack.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Danny Royer had his most effective game of the season so far, doing well to stay onside and finish his chance, and proving an attacking threat throughout his 86 minutes on the field.
- Sporting KC: Saturday, April 20 at San Jose (10 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US and on DAZN in Canada)
- NY Red Bulls: Saturday, April 20 at New England (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US and on DAZN in Canada)