Here I am with an idea in my head: Rusnák’s great, but I wish he were Javi great. I know what to do! I’ll compare their stats across their first three (full) seasons with RSL. We have those for Rusnák now!
This looks at two vastly different parts of their careers, but similar places with RSL. 2008-2010 for Javi aged 28-30. 2017-2019 for Rusnák aged 23-25.
The thing that jumps out? Rusnák tops Javi in every stat but one: assists. And I’m thinking that can be chalked up to formation and play style. With two wingers to feed balls to, Rusnák isn’t called on to take the brunt of the assists like Javi was in Kreis’s system. Javi was dishing the ball forward to two strikers, so more assists should stem directly from that; whereas Rusnák has only one striker to feed forward to and two wingers tasked with assists as well.
Nearly twice as many goals, though? That’s huge. And really, it’s only three fewer assists.
In fact, let’s look at goals and assists per 90.
Javi had .19 goals per 90 and .39 assists per 90.
Rusnák had .32 goals per 90 and .31 assist per 90.
Rusnák’s numbers are superior here.
So I start to reminisce about Javi’s sexy play style. Here’s my favorite goal from my favorite Javier Morales match. The one against Houston on May 11, 2014. You know, when Javi scored the last hat trick for RSL until Kreilach’s on Sep 1, 2018. Both such memorable matches. But I digress. This is about Javi. To the goal.
But then, Rusnák does this.
So what am I to conclude? It’s simple. I set out thinking the stats would reflect that Javi outperformed Rusnák and I intended to call on Albert to step it up in 2020.
Nothing supports that.
I’ve been victimized by nostalgia. Javier Morales is my favorite player ever to don the Claret and Cobalt. I’m biased by my favoritism and by the joy he gave me as I watched his wizardry on the pitch. I’ll always appreciate him for that.
But Albert Rusnák is without a doubt a killer #10 for RSL. He’s doing everything right. Sometimes it feels like he disappears during some matches, but I’m beginning to realize that therein lies his strength. That’s his magic. He’s doing everything for RSL. The big moves. The little things. And he comes up clutch when it matters. It feels like he gets lost out there because he’s playing so smoothly. He’s like a specter moving without a sound, appearing from nowhere, causing terror to our opponents.
This is the guy we build the future of RSL around. Javi’s gone. Nick’s gone. Kyle’s fading. Build around Rusnák and we’ll have some killer years of soccer ahead.
I’m still going to call on him to step it up for 2020, and if he does. If he does. Whew. We’re in for one hell of a season. He’s giving us stellar performances already. If it gets better, RSL gets better. Leap Day cannot come soon enough.