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Rusnak vital in 2-0 RSL win over Seattle

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RSL’s assist king has been a differentiator in 2017.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

It’s becoming increasingly clear that midfielder Albert Rusnak has become more than just an important player for Real Salt Lake over the course of 2017.

With 13 assists under his belt and seven goals, he’s leading the team in two categories, and was a vital piece to RSL’s 2-0 win over Seattle Sounders on Saturday.

Rusnak, whose pass to Jefferson Savarino unlocked the game when he provided an assist, his 13th of the season with a well-weighted pass.

In a post-match press conference, he described the goal.

“He played a nice ball into me and my first thought was to shoot,” Rusnak said. “But I heard him screaming ‘Albert, Albert,’ so I kind of played it half-blindly. I was aiming to play through the defender’s legs, but I was hoping he’d get there before the defender. I’m very glad and that was a very important first goal.”

That sort of assist requires an understanding between between Rusnak and Savarino, which he attributed to continued play together.

“I think the more time we spend on the field with each other, the better we understand each other,” he said. “You can see that on the field the last few months. I guess all the attacking players are all similar and we’re all on the same page so it’s always easier when you’ve got similar kind of players in a thinking way and players that want to play forward.

“Of course, you’re going to lose the ball every now and again but I mean if you’re going to create something you’ve got to lose the ball sometimes.”

Despite the 2-0 win, Rusnak described the match as featuring sloppy play from RSL. That, he said, was a result of the pressure the team had put on itself.

“We were sloppy but that is due to having more pressure on us than Seattle did,” he said. “We need the points more than they do. We tried to create chances from minute one and try to score an early goal. It didn’t happen in the first half and they were hitting us with a counter attack. If we play for a win from minute one, this is going to happen. I’m just glad we turned it around in the second half.”