The Slovakian playmaker began Sunday’s visit to Sporting KC on the bench, rather than in his usual spot at the heart of RSL’s starting lineup, and during the pregame show Holden stated that was because Rusnak had not traveled to Kansas City with the team, thus missing their final training session before the key Western Conference clash.
The reason? Rusnak has been eager to broker a new contract with RSL this year and had gone so far as to broach the possibility of sitting out Sunday’s match while negotiations continued.
Holden went on to report that the two sides eventually did reach an unofficial agreement on a deal that will make the 24-year-old the highest-paid player in club history, prompting Rusnak to travel to KC on his own on Saturday night to join his colleagues.
.@stuholden reports that Albert Rusnak and RSL have agreed to a new multi-year deal that will make the Slovakian the highest-paid player in club history. Rusnak has been vocal about wanting a new deal all season. Previous contract ran through 2020.— Sam Stejskal (@samstejskal) September 30, 2018
A RSL spokesperson confirmed to MLSsoccer.com that Rusnak did not travel with the team in order to tend to a personal matter and did not start on Sunday because he missed Saturday’s training and didn’t arrive until later that evening.
Back in May, Rusnak told reporters that he was "happy" to go on international duty. MLSsoccer.com's Sam Stejskal later reported that the comment revolved around discussions between the club and player about a new contract.
One of Salt Lake’s two Designated Players, the Slovakian international has scored 10 goals and seven assists in league play this season, both of which rank second-best on the team, and has netted 17 goals and 21 assists in 58 career MLS appearances entering Sunday’s match.