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Scott G Winterton, KSL, File

Why Real Salt Lake will be without Albert Rusnak for 6 of final 9 regular-season matches

By Sean Walker, KSL.com | Posted - Sep. 30, 2020 at 3:09 p.m.



SANDY — Real Salt Lake was already going to be without starting defender Justen Glad in Sunday's regular-season match against Los Angeles FC.

They'll also be missing a key member of their attack — and for much longer.

Albert Rusnak was called up by the Slovakian national team Wednesday for a critical playoff match against Ireland for the UEFA 2020 Euro and UEFA Nationals League, meaning he'll miss six MLS matches down the home stretch of the league's season.

Rusnak will be available for selection by Slovakia beginning with the Oct. 8 playoff match against Ireland, as well as Nations League matches Oct. 11 and Oct. 14 against Scotland Oct. 14 against Israel.

Add to it a league-mandated 10-day quarantine period for all players returning from Europe, and it means he’ll be gone beginning with Sunday’s match through Wednesday, Oct. 24 against FC Dallas. That’s a combined six of the nine remaining matches left in RSL’s regular season.

“Representing my country at the international level is special,” Rusnák said in a team release. “The knockout game against Ireland is all or nothing for us and with two more Nations League matches after that, against Scotland and Israel, it’s a great opportunity for us.”

Rusnak, 26, has three goals and two assists in 13 matches in 2020, marking 30 goals and 28 assists in 103 appearances since arriving in Salt Lake nearly four years ago. His arrival at RSL in 2017 nearly coincided with his first cap with Slovak in 2016, a team for which he’s scored five times in 24 appearances.

The national team finished third in Group E of Euro qualifying, setting up the playoff with Ireland for the tournament delayed to June 2021 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“We are happy for him that he’s going,” RSL coach Freddy Juarez said. “We’d like to have him with us, but we understand the importance of the national team and we are happy for him that he can represent his country.”

After coming home from Sunday's 0-0 draw at Minnesota United, RSL will kick off Sunday at 7:30 p.m. MT on KMYU, ESPN+ and KSL.com.

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