Player Features

Albert Rusnák continues rich run of form with match-winning performance against Chicago Fire FC

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As the Seattle Sounders entered the halftime break down 1-0 against the Chicago Fire on Saturday night, it appeared that all their momentum from recent weeks had come to a halt.

But the Rave Green came flying out of the gates in the second half. Seattle’s constant barrage of attacking pressure paid off in the 57th minute when they were awarded a penalty kick after Paul Rothrock had been fouled in the box. Albert Rusnák stepped up and confidently dispatched the spot kick to level the score.

When the Sounders earned another penalty kick in second half stoppage time, Rusnák rose to the occasion once again. Unfazed by the pressure, the Slovakian international placed his penalty in the bottom corner for the 2-1 lead. Lumen Field erupted with noise as Rusnák ripped his jersey off and wheeled away in celebration.

“He's just a great player, as you can see today,” said winger Pedro de la Vega.

The veteran midfielder tallied two assists in the team’s 3-2 win over FC Dallas on June 22, and he led the Sounders once again to victory with a brace against Chicago. Rusnák now has three goals and five assists in his last seven starts.

“Albert is playing at a pretty high level,” said Head Coach Brian Schmetzer.

Saturday night marked the consecutive home match in which the Sounders erased a deficit to secure a win. Rusnák’s attacking contributions have been instrumental in the team picking up 10 points from the last four matches.

“[He was] very good,” said Schmetzer. “Cool, calm, collected on the penalties and influential at the start of the second half.”

With Saturday's performance, Seattle's No. 11 now has a total of three goals and nine assists for the Rave Green this season.

While Rusnák’s stats during the team’s recent run have been impressive, his influence extends beyond the scoresheet.

For the first goal, it was his picture-perfect through-ball that initiated the sequence that led to Rothrock drawing a foul in the box. On the second goal, he once again split several defenders with a pass into Morris, who was taken down by Mauricio Pineda. And in between both plays, Rusnák was constantly sparking attacks with beautiful passes to release Léo Chú into space.

“He scored the goals but it is not only that, he provides assists and he also moves the ball around and distributes the ball among the team,” de la Vega continued. “I'm just super happy for him and his performance on the team.”

Rusnák’s main objective is to make sure he supports the players around him.

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“It's [about] how you can make an impact on the game and make the guys around you better and get them in position to score,” he said. “This game is more than goals and assists…As far stats go, it's been much better than [prior] games, but for me, it's not everything.”

While Rusnák has been putting in influential individual performances, he is quick to point out the team’s success has been a collective effort.

“I feel like we have so many players that kind of lead,” said Rusnák. “Every position and every player does something different and if you add it all together, and everything does what's expected of them and what we know they can do, that's how you become successful.”

Rusnák and the Seattle Sounders are looking to maintain this success as they finish out their home-match stretch against New England Revolution (7:30 p.m. PT; MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, 93.3 KJR FM, El Rey 1360AM | TICKETS) on July 6.

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