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2021 Player Profiles: Albert Rusnak

RSL’s new captain had a rough start to 2021 but ultimately was key to the team’s success

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

After over a decade with Kyle Beckerman as the undisputed team captain, Albert Rusnak was tasked to fill some big shoes in 2021. It wouldn’t be the first time the Slovakian attacker took on replacing an RSL legend, having been signed to take Javier Morales’ spot in 2017.

The start of the season did not go well for Rusnak. He struggled on the field and did not provide a goal or an assist until June. The fanbase was unhappy with him, and not without reason.

Then he was not included in the Slovakia National Team’s Euros squad. That was a massive blow and Rusnak was open at how much it upset him. He had been a regular up through qualifying and a chance to play at the Euros is a player’s dream. For some, the Euros meant a stretch without Rusnak in the RSL squad to see if the team would preform better without him.

Then he turned things around. His first assist of the year came on June 18th, and the floodgates opened up after that. His performances improved, from better corners to actual goals and assists. He became one of the most influential players on the field for the team, perhaps only behind Damir Kreilach. He finished the season with an astounding 11 goals and 11 assists.

Throughout the end of the 2021 season and offseason, there was talk of Rusnak re-signing with the team, but a deal never seemed to get done. By early January, rumors of him going to clubs around the world started to pop up. Ultimately, he signed with the Seattle Sounders, where he had been closely linked for several weeks.