Connect with us

MLS

Albert Rusnák officially signs with Sounders

Published

on


This was supposed to be a relatively quiet offseason. That didn’t stop the Seattle Sounders from making one of their biggest winter signings in club history — and probably the most notable free-agent signing in league history.

A little less than two weeks after rumors first surfaced, free agent Albert Rusnák has signed with the Sounders, the team announced on Thursday. Rusnák will occupy a “full” Designated Player spot on the roster, meaning the team will not be able to add any additional U22 Initiative signings without opening one of the other two spots that are currently filled by Raúl Ruidíaz and Nicolás Lodeiro. He’s signed for the 2022-23 seasons with a team option for 2024.

“We are very excited to welcome such a quality player like Albert to Seattle,” Sounders General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said in a team release. “At 27, he is in the prime of his career and already knows our league very well. We’re confident his addition puts our roster in a very good position to succeed in 2022.”

The Sounders did not go into this offseason needing to fill any glaring holes in the roster following last season’s 60-point campaign, but Rusnák’s addition is still potentially massive. The 27-year-old has been one of the league’s most reliable goal-creators over the past five seasons, with 41 goals and 39 assists for an average of .60 goals+assists per 90 minutes. His underlying numbers are nearly as good, as he’s averaged .38 non-penalty goals+assists per 90 over the past four seasons.

Despite a slow start last season, he still managed 11 goals and 11 assists while starting all 34 regular-season games. Only eight players in MLS had more combined goals and assists than Rusnák last year.

He’s also a semi-regular with the Slovakia national team, where he has 30 caps and 20 starts with 7 goals and 4 assists at the international level. Slovakia was eliminated from World Cup qualifying in November after finishing third in their group, behind Croatia and Russia.

In addition to being highly productive, Rusnák is also versatile. He can play anywhere in the attacking band in a variety of formations and is a tireless worker, covering a comparable amount of ground as Nicolás Lodeiro, albeit with far fewer touches and defensive actions. Most of Rusnák’s appearances have come as a No. 10, but he does have more than 100 combined appearances on either wing. If Lodeiro is healthy, it’s easy to imagine the Sounders going back to a 4-2-3-1 with Rusnák likely starting on the right wing and Cristian Roldan dropping into the defensive midfield.

“Albert is a dynamic playmaker with a proven track record of success, both here and abroad,” Sounders FC Senior Vice President of Soccer Operations & Sporting Director Craig Waibel said in a team release. “After bringing him to MLS in 2017 and observing his play over the past five years in Utah, we’re confident that his leadership and consistency will be valuable assets to our team going forward.”

Historically, players like Rusnák simply haven’t been available for intra-league transfers like this, but a change to the Collective Bargaining Agreement went into effect this offseason that allows free agent DPs to switch teams without having to take a pay cut. Once it became clear that RSL and Rusnák didn’t quite see eye-to-eye on what a contract extension would look like, the Sounders were able to effectively jump to the head of the line of suitors, at least within MLS.

Not only is Sounders Sporting Director Craig Waibel the executive who first brought Rusnák to MLS back in 2017, but assistant coach Freddy Juarez also coached him during most of his RSL tenure. That familiarity, combined with Rusnák’s apparent desire to remain in MLS, made the Sounders a relatively obvious fit.

The question then became could the two sides make the numbers work?

Although all three of the Sounders’ 2021 DPs are expected to be back this year, they were able to make room for Rusnák by buying down João Paulo’s cap hit with Targeted Allocation Money. In each of the past two years, that was impossible due to a reported transfer fee of about $2.5 million which was spread out over the 2020 and 2021 seasons. That transfer fee no longer counts toward his salary charge, making João Paulo eligible to be bought down with TAM.

The Sounders had initially hoped to get Rusnák on a salary that would have also left him eligible to be bought down with TAM, but that would have required him to take a pay cut of about $700,000 from what he made last year. Once it became clear that he had other offers overseas — most notably in Saudi Arabia — the Sounders’ only real options were letting him walk or raising their offer.

Ultimately, they decided that the opportunity cost of adding a “full” DP was worth gambling on someone like Rusnák, especially while their scouting apparatus is somewhat limited by Covid-19. Although they can still add TAM-level or “special discovery” signings, they now have fewer tools at their disposal to add additional talent. But Rusnák also puts them in the strongest possible position to make a run at Concacaf Champions League, the one trophy that has long eluded them.



Source link

MLS

All 59 goals from Seattle Sounders FC’s 2021 season – Seattle Sounders FC

Published

on

By


  1. All 59 goals from Seattle Sounders FC’s 2021 season  Seattle Sounders FC
  2. Seattle Sounders vs. 2021: End-of-season player ratings, #1  Sounder At Heart
  3. View Full Coverage on Google News



Source link

Continue Reading

MLS

Sporting KC acquires winger Marinos Tzionis 

Published

on

By


Sporting Kansas City announced the addition of another young player with the signing of 20-year-old winger Marinos Tzionis from Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus. Tzionis has signed a three-year MLS contract through 2024 with an option for 2025 and will occupy an international spot on Sporting’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 visa.

Tzionis has been rumored for a little over a week and he is the third young international signing this month. Robert Voloder was announce on Jan 19th and is a 20-year-old German center back. Logan Ndenbe a 21-year-old Belgian left back signed on Jan 14th. All eligible for the MLS U-22 Initiative.

SKC manager Peter Vermes and staff will likely not designate who is or is not a U-22 Initiative player until roster deadline day shortly before the season. They can take their time to decide while adding other potential players.

Just this morning, reports were coming in that he had signed and gave some numbers around the acquisition The reported transfer fee was said to be between €1.5 and €2 million, between $1.69 and $2.26 million in US Dollars and Omonia would retain 10 percent of any sell on fee. It was also reported that Tzionis would be paid €300,000 plus bonuses, $338,880 in US dollars.

Tzionis was born and raised in Nicosia, Cyprus and grew up playing for Omonia Nicosia’s academy before signing for their first team as a 15-year-old in 2017 and made his first appearance for them in 2018. The young winger made a few appearances for the first team over the next couple of years but he started to really be noticed in the 2020-21 season. Seven goals in 43 appearances and helping his club to first place with a 23-3-10 record.

The young attacker has also represented his country at the U-17 and U-19 youth levels and then the senior team starting in 2020 with a total of 13 appearances.

Tzionis is right-footed and mainly plays on the left wing where Vermes tends to like wingers who can cut inside. He has some time at attacking mid and second striker as well.

Highlights of goals.



Source link

Continue Reading

MLS

Report: DC United signing Greek forward Taxiarchis Fountas as Designated Player

Published

on

By


Fountas has a track record as a leading goalscorer in Austria’s top flight, netting 35 times in 68 league appearances. He broke onto the professional ranks in Greece with AEK Athens from 2011-13 before heading to Red Bull Salzburg.

The club’s forward group is currently headlined by Ola Kamara, who finished second in the Golden Boot presented by Audi race last season with 19 goals in 28 games, ceding the top honors to NYCFC‘s Valentin Castellanos via the assists tiebreaker.

D.C., heading into their second year under head coach Hernan Losada, missed an Eastern Conference spot in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs by one point.





Source link

Continue Reading

Trending