Since his last MLS match on September 1, Real Salt Lake midfield playmaker Albert Rusnák has flown over 11,000 miles in joining with his national team for matches against Denmark and Ukraine. Now back in Utah, he is looking to get rested and ready to return to league action on Saturday against Minnesota United.
“I’m getting used to it better and better, but still at the end of the body you can’t cheat your body so your body knows that you are not where you’re supposed to be or you’re somewhere further away,” Rusnák said after his return to training with RSL on Tuesday. “It takes a few days to get into the full shape, like I was used to, but it’s doable.”
When he left Utah for his latest international endeavor with the Slovakian National Team, he had scored five goals in the last three matches, helping Real Salt Lake to three consecutive wins for the second time this season. He added to that hot streak with another goal – his second for his country – in a friendly with Denmark.
After playing 45 minutes in that friendly – which came against a depleted Denmark squad – he came off the bench to play 20 minutes in a 1-0 loss to Ukraine in the first match of the UEFA Nations League. While that defeat was difficult, Rusnák remains confident that Slovakia still can advance in the tournament, which takes place from September to November in 2018 with the tournament finals in June of 2019 and will seed teams for qualification in the 2020 UEFA European Championships.
“We still have three games and two at home from those three. So it’s still in our own hands,” he said. “We have to win our games and then we can move on.”
Rusnák now has 13 caps with Slovakia, most of which have come since he joined Real Salt Lake prior to the 2017 season. With that comes frequent trips to the opposite side of the globe, meaning over 12 hours of travel each way. While he never becomes fully adjusted to that type of travel schedule, he does have a good grasp of how to get himself ready for a return to his club after these long international trips.
“The first few days have to be easy. That’s why I didn’t train today in full training. I did part of it,” he said on Tuesday. “I’m going to try and get back into the sleeping schedule like I was used to. But it’s only Tuesday and the game is on Saturday so that’s why I took the earliest flight I could to get back here and get in shape before the game.”
Rusnák has 10 goals and seven assists this season for Real Salt Lake, giving him 17 goals and 21 assists in his two MLS seasons. RSL will look to extend its current three-game winning streak and 13-match home unbeaten streak on Saturday against Minnesota United FC. For tickets, dial 844-REAL-TIX.