HERRIMAN — As shorthanded Real Salt Lake tried unsuccessfully to eke out a result at Los Angeles FC, a continent away one of the reasons it was shorthanded slept in preparation for his return flight to the United States.
Albert Rusnak was with his Slovakian National Team last week for a pair of Euro 2020 qualifying matches. In the first game Rusnak scored a goal in a 2-0 win at home over Hungary, and in the second match Slovakia dropped a narrow 1-0 result in Wales.
When Rusnak awoke Sunday morning in Wales, he quickly checked his phone and saw that his RSL teammates had been minutes away from securing a result at LAFC before conceding a 92nd-minute goal.
“I could fully transform myself into the guys who played, the feeling is not nice,” said Rusnak.
Rusnak was one of five starters from the first three games who wasn’t available at LAF last weekend, but all five could be back in the starting lineup this Saturday when Real Salt Lake hosts FC Dallas (7 p.m., KMYU).
After back-to-back road losses, getting a result at home and getting the season back on track is top priority.
It starts at the back, where Real Salt Lake has been pretty good when at full strength, but the attack needs to pick things up a bit as well.
Through four games Real Salt Lake has scored just three goals, and two of those were penalty kicks. The only open play goal this season was scored by Rusnak in the season opener at Houston.
Rusnak should be full of confidence against FC Dallas after scoring in the 85th minute with Slovakia to clinch the win over Hungary.
“It’s always a special feeling, we started qualifiers with a win at home, which was big because it was a small derby, I would call it because of the political reasons back home with Hungary,” said Rusnak.
It was his fifth goal with Slovakia since 2016, but he quickly put it into perspective.
“Every goal is a good feeling for a player, it doesn’t matter who it’s for. The national team games are important and every game I play here is important as well, so to me it doesn’t make any difference,” said Rusnak.
International goals fire up a whole nation, though, instead of just a club’s fanbase.Comment on this story
Rusnak is confident that Real Salt Lake will get back to create chances against Dallas this Saturday. He said that wasn’t a problem against Houston and Vancouver the past two weeks, but acknowledged that red cards and unavailable players the past two weeks made creating chances difficult.
Midfielder Kyle Beckerman said it’s important to keep that strong defensive foundation that’s been present in every half this year outside of the unfortunate second half at D.C. United.
“We’d like to at least hold that defensive effort and organization and keep that as standard and bring that every game in the times we are playing defense,” said Beckerman.
FC Dallas rolls into town with a 2-1-1 record, but is 0-1 in its only road game this season. RSL is 1-0 in its only home game.