Real Salt Lake captain Albert Rusnak was ruled out of the team’s Round One playoffs match against the Seattle Sounders on Tuesday night after testing positive for Covid-19.
This comes as a huge blow to Real Salt Lake after Rusnak served as a key component to the team’s success in the Western Conference, scoring 11 goals and adding 11 assists as an ever-present in their 2021 regular season.
"Bad news today, guys. Unfortunately I've tested positive for COVID," Rusnak said in a statement shared by Real Salt Lake on social media before the match. "It's hard to believe I'm not there with the boys in Seattle. But I know this group. Everyone works and fights for each other. I have all the confidence in the world we will get the job done. I'll be back as soon as health permits."
Rusnak led the team into the playoffs after defeating Sporting Kansas City 1-0 in a triumphant Decision Day win. Real Salt Lake narrowly edged LA Galaxy out of seventh place to earn their spot as the Western Conference's No. 7 seed.
After helping RSL into the postseason, the captain took part in two World Cup Qualifiers for Slovakia, scoring twice in a 6-0 win over Malta last week.
To replace Rusnak, Real Salt Lake interim head coach Pablo Mastroeni named midfielder Maikel Chang to the starting lineup.