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Who replaces Albert Rusnak during Slovakia stint?

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With RSL’s playmaker off to an international break, how will the team replace him in the lineup?

MLS: D.C. United at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Albert Rusnak has already declared his pleasure in leaving Salt Lake City for an international break with Slovakia, and we’ve talked about that plenty today — links follow this, of course — but there are other questions we should be thinking about.

Those questions? Well, they revolve around replacing Albert Rusnak.

No, not in the long term. I’m not counting on him leaving. But he is going away on an international break, and we will need to replace him in the lineup for our May 30 and June 2 matches. So who starts in his stead?

It’s funny, because I was totally planning on writing this piece and publishing it yesterday to follow the news about his being called up to the national team. But before I was able to get to that, he, well, yeah. That happened.

Inevitably, this conversation carries some weight that it might not otherwise, but I want us to set that aside for a minute. Let’s just pretend that everything will work out with Rusnak. Just for a minute. Please.

OK! Now that we’re past that, let’s get on with it. There are, to my mind, a few distinct options. Let’s talk about some.

Damir Kreilach

This is actually my preferred option — I think we’ve seen that Kreilach can be a very creative player, and pushing him further up in the midfield would help a bit. He’s a more defensive player than Albert Rusnak, though, and replacing his spot with, say, Sunny would give us a more defensive posture. That wouldn’t go amiss right now. The other thing to keep in mind is that Kreilach has played in attacking midfield positions with some regularity, so it’s not like he’d be totally out of his depth here.

Jefferson Savarino

Moving Savarino centrally would not be the best option for him, but it’s one that could involve some other moves that might be preferable. He’s definitely better on the wing, but he’s proven alright in the middle. If he plays there, we could bring in Sebastian Saucedo, who’s looking good, in his stead, or move Brooks Lennon up from right back and play Adam Henley in his stead. This has more implications, but I think it’s feasible.

Sebastian Saucedo

While he hasn’t really played there for RSL, Saucedo’s position — at least at the academy level — was often in the middle. Is that where he’s best? Well, I have no clue, I’d like to see it. There’s something fun about an attacking midfielder who runs at players, so long as they work defensively to make sure that if they lose the ball, we aren’t caught totally off-guard.

Jose Hernandez

See, I don’t really know what’s up with Jose Hernandez, but this is his position, and I think he should get a chance to play MLS minutes in it. He’s the least likely to play, if just because he’s been sitting on the Monarchs bench at times, but I’m interested in the idea all the same.