Gianluca Busio had an extended run-out for Venezia in their deflating loss to Sampdoria, while Andrija Novakovich saw substitute minutes for Frosinone in their important win over Benevento.
Venezia 0 – 2 Sampdoria
Having seen inconsistent field time as of late for various reasons, Gianluca Busio had a much-needed 35-minute appearance for Venezia on Sunday, however was unable to help them avoid a shut-out loss to Sampdoria that put them deeper into relegation peril.
Tanner Tessmann was available for the hosts, but was not called into action by head coach Paolo Zanetti.
With American midfielders seemingly dropping like flies these days, Busio’s initial place on the bench was perhaps a minor relief to USMNT fans, and a tidy 35-minute appearance that saw Venezia hold the line, even after going a man down, will be of encouragement to nervous watchers.
Sampdoria did all the damage they needed to in the first half, with Francesco Caputo striking on either side of the half-hour.
His first was up to a miscue by keeper Niki Mäenpää, who lost possession in his own area under pressure, with the ball falling at Caputo’s foot for the easy ten-yard strike in the 24th minute.
His second came in the 38th, again due to sloppy Venezia play in the back, where he cleaned up from short-range after Mäenpää initially blocked an attempt from Stefano Sensi.
Busio entered for David Okereke just past the hour, who had been largely invisible up to that point, and had a tight performance, completing 11 of 12 passes, making five recoveries and winning both of his tackles, while picking up his sixth yellow card of the season.
Venezia did well to prevent any further damage, even after Thomas Henry was shown two yellow cards within the space of a few seconds with five minutes remaining, the first for a hard tackle, and the second for his subsequent protestations.
Busio had a brief scare moments after the sending off, knocking heads with Ronald Vieira and spending a minute on the turf to regain his wits, but he was eventually cleared to play the remainder of the game.
In the end, Venezia were forced to endure yet another loss, a result which leaves them second-bottom, needing to make up three points to reach safety.
Busio will spend the next few days with his USMNT teammates, then return to Italy to resume Venezia’s final survival push with a visit to Spezia on April 3.
Frosinone 2 – 0 Benevento
Andrija Novakovich returned to his role as super-sub for Frosinone as they surged to a crucial home win over Benevento.
By the time the American entered the field in the 78th minute in place of Camillo Ciano, the game was already won for Frosinone, thanks to a comical succession of mistakes by the guests.
Matteo Ricci struck from the spot in the 15th minute after Luigi Canotto was upended by Benevento keeper Alberto Paleari. While Ricci placed his first attempt off the left upright, the Benevento players jumped early, allowing him to easily nail his second attempt with a well-placed chip to the opposite side.
Frosinone then made it 2-0 in the 56th minute, with Alessandro Vogliacco deflecting Karlo Lulic’s angled attempt from the right into his own net with his attempt to head it clear.
The hosts kept the pressure up, and had several chances to make it 3-0, Novakovich perhaps coming closest in the final minutes, but the 2-0 final score stood.
Frosinone jump to sixth with the win, and are now well-positioned to maintain their playoff spot with seven games left in the regular season. They return to action after the international break with a tough visit to fourth-place Lecce.
Weston McKennie is out for the rest of the season with a broken foot and did not suit up for Juventus in their 2-0 victory over last-place Salernitana.
Anthony Fontana is still injured and awaiting his debut with Ascoli, thus had to watch their 2-0 road loss to LR Vicenza from a comfortable chair.