Major League Soccer

Albert Rusnak returns to offer Real Salt Lake Playoff boost

Chris Smith
Rusnak scored 11 goals during the regular season.
Rusnak scored 11 goals during the regular season. / Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

He's had to watch on as Real Salt Lake have stunned the rest of the MLS Cup Playoff field but now, club captain Albert Rusnak is ready to go.

The Slovakia international tested positive for Covid-19 shortly before the start of the Playoffs, meaning he was sidelined for RSL's opening two ties against the Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City.

But no matter - RSL were still able to shock the rest of the field, beating the Sounders on penalties after a 0-0 draw that saw them fail to attempt a single shot through 120 minutes. Then, they won 2-1 away from home at rivals SKC.

Up next is a trip to Providence Park to face the Portland Timbers in the Western Conference final. At last, Rusnak is ready to help his team in their quest to make MLS Cup.

"I feel perfect," Rusnak told reporters (via "I feel like I had a week holiday or something. It's not like I was injured, there isn't a muscle or a certain part of my body to be careful about. I had two sessions so far, I feel perfect physically."

Rusnak notched 11 goals and seven assists during the regular season - only Dami Kreilach scored more for RSL (16) - and ended the regular season in great form, hitting the net four times in his final four matches. Naturally, his return will offer a huge boost to the Utah side against the Timbers, who have beaten RSL three times already this season.

"Albert's a very good player, he's quality on the ball. When he's able to get on the ball he's able to create opportunities for all of us," fellow forward Rubio Rubin said. "Obviously he's a key part, we missed him and we're just happy he's back and we're looking forward to having him back on the field with us."

The winner of Saturday's clash will face either the Philadelphia Union or NYCFC in MLS Cup next week.