SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Real Salt Lake is going to be without one of its best players for at least the next six games.
Midfielder Albert Rusnak has been called in to the Slovakian National Team for a playoff match in UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying against the Republic of Ireland on October 8th, and 2020-21 UEFA Nations League matches against Scotland on October 11 and Israel on October 14.
Rusnak will depart prior to RSL’s match on Sunday against LAFC. According to current MLS safety protocols, Rusnak will remain quarantined for 10 days upon his return from Europe before returning to training.
That means Rusnak would return to Real Salt Lake at the earliest for the October 28th match against San Jose, and he may have to wait until the regular season finale November 1st against the L.A. Galaxy.
“We are excited for Albert to get this opportunity in such big games for Slovakia,” said RSL general manager Eillot Fall. “It speaks volumes about what he means for his national team. Of course, we will miss him at RSL while he is away, but we are confident in our roster and we believe that that players we have will get the job done during Albert’s time with the national team.”
Rusnak has three goals and two assists in 13 matches this season, giving him 30 goals and 28 assists in 103 matches since coming to Real Salt Lake prior to the 2017 season.
“Representing my country at the international level is special,” Rusnak said. “The knockout game against Ireland is all or nothing for us and with two more Nations League matches after that, against Scotland and Israel, it’s a great opportunity for us.”
“We are happy for him that he’s going,” RSL Head Coach Freddy Juarez said. “We’d like to have him with us, but we understand the importance of the national team and we are happy for him that he can represent his country.”
Real Salt Lake is currently eighth in the Western Conference standings at 4-4-5 (14 points) and faces LAFC on Sunday at Rio Tinto Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. MT