Player name: Albert Rusnák
Position: Attacking midfielder, central
Last club: FC Groningen
One thing you need to know
Albert Rusnák might be Real Salt Lake’s most prominent transfer in the club’s history. You could argue for someone like Yura Movsisyan instead, but Rusnak is young and had no prior connections with the club. That doesn’t mean, of course, that he’s automatically going to succeed — there’s still a lot that has to happen for that to be the case.
What he brings to the team
After a decade of Javier Morales and his general excellence, we weren’t exactly in need of a change, but that’s what we’re getting all the same. Of course, when a player starts to hit that age wall, you know some sort of change is necessary.
What Rusnák brings is certainly that. He’s not just younger, but he’s of a different mold. He’s coming here with a great deal of experience at a top European academy in Manchester City, and he’s earned minutes at a reasonable club playing in a good league. His experiences will shape his play.
How exactly will he do that? We’ll have to find out, but first impressions show us a player who’s maybe not quite as magic-pass-oriented as Morales, but maybe who can interchange a bit more with our wide attacking midfielders in our current formation. That could prove important.
Why you should be excited
How often do you bring in a player of Rusnák’s pedigree? That’s certainly one of many reasons to be excited about the youngster. But you might also look at how he’s performed at past teams — he has a good highlight reel, and certainly, that’s something to think about, too.
Nobody would blame you for not being wholly sold, though. Like most moves, there will be a transition period that’s more-or-less inevitable. Craig Waibel, in an interview on ESPN700, has some words on the matter:
I think we assume it takes two, three, four months to really see that full assimilation take place.
Excitement and caution, perhaps in equal measure, are certainly warranted.
Predictions for 2017
- Rusnak finishes with double-digits in either assists or goals, which would certainly mark a successful debut season
- We don’t see the first assist or goal from Rusnak until four or five weeks into the season, at which point, he goes on a real tear
- People will declare him a bust after the first game — despite arguably a strong performance