Seattle Sounders signed Albert Rusnak, former Real Salt Lake captain designated

The Slovak midfielder is leaving RSL after five seasons in the Major League Soccer club

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Real Salt Lake midfielder Albert Rusnak (11) beats Houston Dynamo midfielder Darwin Ceren (24) in an MLS event between Real Salt Lake and Houston Dynamo at Rio Tinto Stadium, Sunday, September 29, 2019.

Seattle • The Seattle Sounders added a key piece to their midfield on Thursday for the upcoming season after signing with Albert Rusnak.

The Slovak midfielder has spent the last five seasons in Real Salt Lake, where he has scored 41 goals and 39 assists in 140 basic matches. Rusnák’s contract covers the seasons 2022 and 2023 with a club option for 2024. Rusnák was a free agent.

“At the age of 27, he is at the peak of his career and he already knows our league very well,” said Seattle General Manager Garth Lagerwey in a statement. “We are convinced that its addition puts our inventory in a very good position for success in 2022.”

Rusnák came to Major League Soccer after three seasons at FC Groningen in the top league in the Netherlands. Rusnák recorded three seasons with a double-digit number of goals scored with RSL, including the last one with a career maximum of 11 goals. He also demonstrated the ability to be the creator of the game and create opportunities for teammates. Rusnák scored 12 assists in the first season with RSL and seven last year.

Rusnák joins Raúl Ruidiaz and Nicolás Lodeir as designated players on the Seattle roster. Midfielder João Paulo has had a seat on the Seattle roster in the last two seasons, but for the 2022 season he will hold a place on the roster using targeted allocated money.

“For years, he was one of the most difficult players we had to face, so I’m more than happy to welcome him to our team,” said coach Brian Schmetzer.

Seattle opens training camp on Friday. The Sounders will begin playing the CONCACAF Champions League on February 17 and will begin the MLS base season on February 27 at home against Nashville.

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