Albert Rusnak‘s outstanding season in Major League Soccer has scouts abroad wondering if he’s made a breakthrough.
With intense weeks ahead in World Cup qualifying and MLS, he may not have much time to notice the extra eyes.
[ MORE: Top talents at U-17 World Cup ]
Rusnak, 23, has seven goals and 12 assists for Real Salt Lake this season, and the DP attacking midfielder is in focus Thursday at Hampden Park in Scotland.
The Slovakian star won’t be worried about scouts, largely, as his side looks to clinch at least second place in UEFA World Cup qualifying Group F, but the BBC’s Simon Stone says he’s not likely to MLS for long thanks to interest in England, Germany, and Scotland (at the very least).
Scouts from clubs in all three countries will watch the 23-year-old in Glasgow before what is likely to be a move away from current Major League Soccer outfit Real Salt Lake in January.
Rusnak was with Manchester City from 2010-15, where his father was a scout. He took loans at Oldham Athletic, Birmingham City, and SC Cambuur before moving to Groningen and then RSL.
He has five caps for Slovakia, which sits five points back of England and a point ahead of Slovenia and Scotland. His RSL side has surged into the Top Six and looks to maintain playoff positioning over the final two matches.
The game in 100 words (or less): Look away, FC Dallas fans, because your six-week slide (winless in nine games, including five losses) has finally cost you one of the Western Conference’s top six places. If the season ended, and the playoffs started, today, the current Supporters’ Shield holders wouldn’t even be competing in the postseason. Currently taking their place, following Saturday’s 2-1 win over the second-place Portland Timbers, would be Real Salt Lake. With four wins from their last six games, Mike Petke’s team has settled on a system (4-2-3-1) and a lineup (Kyle Beckerman, flanked by Luke Mulholland, deep in midfield; Joao Plata and Jefferson Savarino either side of Albert Rusnak, the no. 10, and Luis Silva the lone striker leading the line) that’s picking up results and vaulting RSL up the standings on a weekly basis. Rusnak and Savarino (assisted by Rusnak) bagged the goals for RSL, nullifying Diego Valeri’s second-half equalizer, his eighth straight game with a goal scored to set a new MLS record.
[ MORE: MLS weekend preview — TFC’s Shield chase continues in LA ]
Three moments that mattered
14′ — Rusnak takes it himself, hammers home for 1-0 — Someone should probably consider stepping up to Rusnak, at some point, any point. Anybody.
47′ — Valeri heads his way into the record book — Of all 55 of Valeri’s regular-season goals, probably only two or three have been scored with his head, so of course he scores a record-breaking goal with his head.
61′ — Savarino sticks it upper-90 with authority — It’d be tough to hit one any more upper-90 than this one.
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Man of the match: Albert Rusnak
Goalscorers: Rusnak (14′), Valeri (47′), Savarino (61′)
The MLS SuperDraft is right around the corner as 2017 approaches, but other offseason moves are being made by teams, including Atlanta’s search for a third Designated Player.
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Atlanta United has already made several splashes ahead of its entrance into MLS next season, including the additions of DPs Miguel Almiron and Hector Villalba as well as former Premier League attacker Kenwyne Jones, but the club is still actively seeking another star to complete its inaugural roster.
[ MORE: Donovan has offers from two MLS teams, including RSL ]
Goal USA is reporting that the team has turned its attention to Argentina and Mexico as the Eastern Conference side seeks its third DP. Oscar Romero was previously a strong link to the club, however, his recent move to Shanghai SIPG of the Chinese Super League halted Atlanta’s chances of acquiring the Paraguayan.
Staying in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Union announced on Friday that the club has re-signed striker Charlie Davies to a one-year deal after joining the team in 2016.
Davies, 30, missed a portion of last season after battling cancer, but came back to the New England Revolution before being traded to the Union during the campaign. The forward scored one goal and added an assist in 17 combined appearances for both the Revolution and Union a season ago.
According to Fox Sports Netherlands, Real Salt Lake and FC Groningen have agreed to terms on the transfer of Albert Rusnak to MLS.
The 22-year-old reportedly still has to agree to personal terms before officially completing the move to RSL.
Since joining the Dutch side in 2014, Rusnak has scored nine goals in all competitions for Groningen. Rusnak was formerly a Manchester City academy product but never appeared in a senior team match for the Premier League side.
Window Shopping: Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini’s rumored concerns were more about who might want to leave the Etihad for playing time rather than adding to his wondrously deep squad, as super sub Edin Dzeko was whispered as a potential want-away ahead of the World Cup.
But he didn’t leave, and neither did Joleon Lescott or any other significant Citizen other than John Guidetti’s loan move to Stoke (and he wasn’t likely to see much pitch time this season, anyway).
In fact, for the first time in a while, City was barely mentioned at all in the rumor mill. Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala and Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas were loosely linked as possibilities, but nothing came to fruition.
Players In: None.
Players Out: John Guidetti (Stoke City, loan), Harry Bunn (Huddersfield Town), Albert Rusnak (Birmingham City, loan), Abdisalam Ibrahim (released), Emyr Huws (Birmingham City, loan).
RECAP: All the deals on deadline day
Perhaps there are some in panic mode after watching Chelsea put an end to Manchester City’s absurdly-heroic and prolific run at the Etihad, It’s very difficult to fault Pellegrini for not adding to his squad and he protected any major perceived want-aways from hurting his depth. Really their only significant move was letting Guidetti get some match time over at Stoke City (which was pretty intelligent considering, again, that the young Swedish player wasn’t about to dent a lineup that’s already rung up more than 100 goals).
That’s the softest C we could offer. Even if City ends up dealing with a gross amount of injuries, it’d be fair to write it off as fate rather than unpreparedness. The squad appears deep enough for two Cup runs — one that only has a single date left — and Europe. How many other squads can say that?
Every day between now and the end of the European transfer window, we’ll detail the day’s notable transfer activity in our Done Deal report. It hasn’t been the world’s busiest 24 hours, but there’s a bit to discuss including the confirming of an American abroad.
As always, there are plenty of rumors abounding as well. Read our roundup here.
Stoke City announced their signing of Juan Agudelo, as well as his immediate loan to FC Utrecht of the Eredivisie while the Potters attempt to get the American a work permit.
Sunderland has signed twice-capped Brazilian goalkeeper Oscar Ustari from Almeria, where he failed to make an imprint in dealing with plenty of injuries.
Sam Walker has moved from Chelsea to Colchester on a free transfer and Tiago Ilori has left Liverpool for Granada on loan. Also on loan, Albert Rusnak leaves Manchester City for Birmingham.
Ola Toivonen has sealed a move to Stade Rennes from PSV Eindhoven for an undisclosed fee. The 27-year-old Swedish international had been linked with Liverpool and Newcastle in recent months.
Alvaro Pereira is headed from Inter to Sao Paulo on loan, while Michel Bastos arrives to AS Roma from Al Ain on loan. Pereira spent time at Porto for 77 matches before going to Inter, where he appeared 33 times.
Bastos (pictured) has played everywhere, including obviously UAE, getting 10 caps for Brazil and scoring once from 2009-10. It could be another solid swoop for i Lupi, as Bastos has starred at Lyon, Lille and on loan at Schalke.