Exclusive: Albert Rusnák To Miss SKC Match, Speaks Publicly For First Time Since Contracting COVID-19
SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake captain Albert Rusnák will miss the upcoming conference semifinal against Sporting Kansas City following a positive COVID-19 test on Sunday, November 21.
“I feel like I am sick, you know. Nothing crazy but I do have a couple of the symptoms,” Rusnák told KSL Sports in an exclusive phone interview.
Major League Soccer protocol requires all players who test positive with the virus to remain isolated for a minimum of 10 days. Then, following the 10-day quarantine, Rusnák will be required to show negative test results before reuniting with his teammates.
The Timeline Of Events
Rusnák returned home from international duty where he traveled commercially to Malta and Slovakia. Upon arrival back in the States, he passed his COVID-19 test.
He did not contract the virus while on international duty.
Last Sunday, November 21st, Rusnák and the entire Real Salt Lake organization were required to take antigen COVID-19 tests after learning that an employee of the club had contracted the virus.
Rusnák was the only player on the team to return a positive test. His 10-day isolation period began on Sunday, November 21st, and will end on Tuesday, December 1st. Three days after Real Salt Lake plays Sporting Kansas City.
The next step was to conduct a more accurate, but longer PCR test.
On Monday, November 22nd, the day before the game, Rusnák learned that his PCR test also came back positive. He was understandably heartbroken.
Get well soon Cap. pic.twitter.com/qW08ZXHKDk
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) November 24, 2021
Fortunately, Rusnák is vaccinated, however, the first three days of isolation were rough.
“I was battling the first three days,” Rusnák told KSL Sports. “But today (Wednesday, November 24) is the first day that I am starting to feel more like myself,” he added.
Rusnák lives with his wife and two young children. Fortunately, his wife and children are yet to contract the virus but he is understandably nervous about their health and well-being.
Furthermore, Rusnák admitted that he has been very cautious with his approach regarding the virus.
“I am one of those guys that wears a face mask all the time, I always carry hand sanitizer on me and am always lathering my hands with it. I still cannot believe that I ended up testing positive,” he said.
Rusnák is not the only member of Real Salt Lake to test positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Goalkeeper coach Ignacio Hernandez and an athletic trainer have also tested positive for the virus. It remains unknown who contracted the virus first and where they contracted it from.
Firstly, the health and safety of Rusnák, Hernandez, and the athletic trainer is the first and foremost priority for Real Salt Lake. Assuming all three individuals manage to get through their respective quarantine situations unscathed and healthy, the fitness of Rusnák will also be an issue the club will need to handle appropriately.
Rusnák is confined to his house. He is not allowed to leave. If Real Salt Lake manages to beat Sporting Kansas City this upcoming Sunday Rusnák will have a handful of training sessions before the conference final.
“I am not worried about my fitness. I have just been resting the past couple of days because my body needs it. But as the days go by I will start to move around more. If the guys can win on Sunday, I will have three or four training sessions before the conference finals and that will be plenty given how much playing time I have played already this year,” he said when asked if he has any concerns over his fitness.
Ironically, the 2021 season saw Rusnák set a club record for most minutes played in a regular season. He amassed 3,045 minutes and only missed 15 minutes of game time throughout the slate of 34 games.
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