SANDY, UTAH (Friday, December 28, 2018) – Real Salt Lake announced on Friday that MF Albert Rusnák has signed a new multi-year contract, keeping the club’s leading scorer over the last two years with the club through the 2021 season.
“I wanted to stay with Real Salt Lake because this is the perfect place to continue to develop as a player. I enjoy working with Mike Petke and want to thank him, Craig Waibel and Dell Loy Hansen for their support and belief in me,” Rusnák said. “I have really enjoyed playing for Real Salt Lake the last two years and I am now looking forward to us competing and bringing an MLS Cup back to the fans who have given me and my teammates unbelievable support.”
In 61 matches with RSL since joining the club prior to the 2017 season, Rusnák has 17 goals and 21 assists, leading the club in both categories over that stretch. In 2018, he was second on the team in goals with 10 and fourth with seven assists. In 2017, he earned club Golden Boot and MVP honors after posting seven goals and 14 assists – the second-highest assist total in club history.
He made a quick impact for RSL, scoring one goal and adding two assists in a 3-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC in his fifth start of the season on April 8, 2017, in Head Coach Mike Petke’s first match at the helm. He has since had eight matches that have seen him notch at least one goal and at least one assist. After July 4 in the 2017 season, he notched four goals and eight assists over the final 15 matches of the season to propel RSL to an 8-3-4 record over the final 15 matches of the season and within one point of the postseason. This year, he has seen a similar post-July 4 boost, scoring six goals to go with three assists to help RSL to a 6-3-5 record over the final 16 matches to help propel the team into the 2018 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. In two postseason matches, he was a key contributor to RSL’s attack in a 3-2 win over LAFC in the Knockout Round and scored one goal against Sporting Kansas City in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals.
“Albert is a very important piece on this team long-term. He’s a piece that, among others, we can build around,” Petke said. “He’s a kid that’s extremely talented and he’s not even at his ceiling yet. He has a hunger for knowledge. He wants to know. He asks questions. For me as a coach, those are players that I want to work with.”
In addition to his successes with RSL, Rusnák also has four goals in 17 caps with the Slovakian National Team, making 16 appearances since coming to Utah. He scored his first international goal on March 22, 2018, in the King’s Cup in Thailand. He scored his second in a friendly with Denmark on September 18 and added two more on October 16 against Sweden and November 16 against Ukraine.
“It’s not only great for the club to establish and bring in young players, but then to retain young players – and good young players, international young players,” RSL General Manager Craig Waibel said. “This is the basis of who we are. One of the most important things about retaining a guy like Albert is how much respect he has for the club, and how he fits so well with our leadership of Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando and the leaders of this organization that have been here forever, will be here forever and whenever they’re not here, their names will be here forever.”
Rusnák, 24, came to RSL prior to the 2017 season after spending the previous three seasons with FC Groningen in the first division in Netherlands. The Slovakian international started his senior professional career with England's Manchester City in 2013, a product of the international powerhouse's youth academy for three seasons from 2010-13. He spent the first part of the 2013/14 season on loan with Oldham Athletic in England’s League One before finishing out the year in the Championship with Birmingham City. The following season, he started the year on loan to Cambuur Leeuwarden in the Dutch Eredivisie before being transferred to FC Groningen in December of 2014.
2019 Real Salt Lake season tickets are available now at RSL.com/Tickets or by calling 844-REAL-TIX (844-732-5849).
Waibel will be available for comment via conference call on Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. MT. For call-in information, contact Matt Gaschk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transaction: Real Salt Lake signed Albert Rusnák to a new multi-year contract.