Gianluca Busio was the only American in action in Italy this weekend, earning the start for Venezia in their soul-crushing loss to Udinese.
Venezia FC 1 – 2 Udinese
Venezia found creative new ways to continue their freefall towards Serie B, allowing a dramatic late equalizer to go wasted as they finally lost to Udinese in injury-time.
USMNT player Gianluca Busio lined up on the left side of the team’s three-man midfield, however found himself limited from the start after picking up a second-minute yellow card. Apart from that, he only managed 28 total ball contacts, completing 16 or 19 passes and having one shot on goal blocked in his 52 minutes on the field.
Tanner Tessmann was in uniform for the hosts, however as has been the case lately, was forced to watch the entirety of the game from the bench.
Venezia entered the game in 19th place, having lost five straight and needing to make up three points to climb out of the bottom three. Even with the loss, similar results by the other three teams in danger meant that their position is no worse coming out of the weekend, albeit now with only seven games left to claw their way to safety.
Busio was shown yellow – his seventh of the season – in the second minute for a hard foul on Jean-Victor Makengo, and was forced to play it safe for the remainder of his time on the field.
He had one moment of passing danger just past the half-hour, tracking down a ball from Michaël Cuisance into the right flank to set up a one-on-one against Pablo Mari, but hesitated as he worked into the area, and had his weak attempt blocked by Walace.
Cuisance was overtly responsible for the opening goal by Udinese two minutes later, tripping Gerard Deulofeu just as he moved into the box on the left, with the Spaniard easily nailing his attempt to the lower right for the 1-0 advantage.
The American left the game in the 52nd minute with Cuisance in favor of fresh attackers Mattia Aramu and Antonio Vacca.
Venezia pushed for an equalizer and were rewarded with a goal that seemingly earned them a point four minutes from full time. Ethan Ampadu made a long throw-in into the area deep in Udinese territory. Udinese defender Brandon Soppy accidentally headed the ball towards Thomas Henry, who hopped up to strike a short blast just below the crossbar to pull even.
While certainly needing three points, the hosts were ready to be happy settling for the draw. Nevertheless, they saw even that result cruelly pulled from their grasp in the final moments of the game after Rodrigo Becau headed in an inswinging corner from Lazar Samardzic just before the 94-minute mark.
Venezia still have a three-point gap to make up, but will find some hope in the fact that they still have a game in hand compared to the two teams directly above them, Cagliari and Genoa.
They will be hard-pressed to take some positive result in their next outing, on Saturday afternoon at seventh-place Fiorentina.
Weston McKennie is expected to return from his broken foot in early-May, according to recent comments by the Juventus staff, and was a spectator for their 2-1 road win over Cagliari.
Andrija Novakovich is out with a slight knock and did not suit up for Frosinone’s 2-1 home win over Cremonese on Saturday.
Anthony Fontana is still awaiting his debut for Ascoli, which did not come during Sunday’s 2-0 win over Reggina, as he remained as an unused substitute.