Going into the 2021 playoffs, Albert Rusnak’s future was uncertain. His contract was set to expire at the end of the year and he had not yet signed a new deal with Real Salt Lake. The team publicly said they wanted him to return, which Rusnak echoed in interviews but said it was up to the club to get a deal done. Over the past several weeks, rumors of Rusnak going to clubs ranging from MLS, to South America, to the Middle East have exploded.
This afternoon, Rusnak took to his Instagram account to announce that his time with Real Salt Lake was at an end. He thanked the fans and spoke positively about his time with the team.
This confirms what many suspected but his next move is still unclear. RSL fans won’t be pleased to see him in the league with another team, where he is most rumored to move. He has been linked with the Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy, and DC United. The rumor that he would join the Sounders seemed the most likely, but nothing has been confirmed at this time.
This news comes on the heels of Ryan Smith and David Blitzer taking over as owners of RSL earlier this week. They certainly would have been aware of Rusnak’s situation and may have not wanted to meet his price. The new owners have stated that are willing to spend on the roster and want to make RSL a competitive team within the league, while acknowledging their impressive playoff run in 2021.
Rusnak spent five seasons with RSL and was given the captains armband for his final year with the team. He was brought in to replace club legend Javier Morales in 2017, and over the next five years provided 41 goals and 39 assists. Despite a slow start to 2021, he reached 11 goals and 11 assists for the year and was instrumental in the team’s success that season.