New Designated Player signing Albert Rusnák wants to achieve big things with the Seattle Sounders.
Rusnák, who joined the Sounders as a free agent from Real Salt Lake, was unveiled to the media at Starfire Sports last week. He joins a side that finished second in the Western Conference on 60 points despite missing several key players for large chunks of the 2021 season.
“We think this is the player we need to take us over the top,” said General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “We couldn’t be more ecstatic about having been able to add him to our team. We feel really good about our group. We think that we’re going to have a team that’s able to compete on all fronts.”
After cementing himself as one of the premier attacking midfielders in Major League Soccer over the last half decade with RSL, Rusnák’s resume made his signing a no-brainer for the Sounders.
“His play is what speaks volumes,” added Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “He’s been a tremendous player in our league for years, so we’re really happy to have him on the squad.”
Whenever a big signing is made in MLS, it inherently comes with pressure. Rusnák, who bagged 41 goals and 39 assists from just 140 regular season appearances, embraced those expectations.
“I’m coming to a team that is expected to do well in every competition we play in, and again there’s pressure,” said Rusnák. “It’s a good pressure because as athletes I believe if there’s no pressure, you can’t get the best out of yourself. The pressure is good.”
Not necessarily a vocal leader, Rusnák prefers to let his game do the talking. With a star-studded returning lineup that features the likes of Raúl Ruidíaz, Nicolás Lodeiro, João Paulo, Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan, the 2022 roster has a host of players that have won trophies with the Sounders.
According to Rusnák, that culture of competing for trophies year-in, year-out was a massive draw.
“The key factor for me was the winning mentality of the whole organization,” said Rusnák. “It starts at the top and it ends with all the players. It’s the privilege of the pressure of winning. Basically every competition that we enter… I feel like this group already has that mentality. I would say that was the biggest factor of me coming here. I’m hungry to win a title as well, so that was another reason.”
The Sounders will face off against F.C. Motagua in the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16, with Leg One in Honduras on February 17 and Leg Two at Lumen Field one week later. Seattle will host Nashville SC in the club’s 2022 MLS home opener on February 27.