Unhappy Rusnak to play for Real Salt Lake vs. Sounders

Albert Rusnak is expected to play when Real Salt Lake travels Saturday to Seattle.

But what frame of mind RSL’s leading scorer will be in remains to be seen.

The 23-year-old midfielder sparked a controversy Tuesday when he said he’s happy to be going on international duty with Slovakia next week to get a break from his struggling MLS club.

“I’m actually happy I’m going to get out of here for a minute because there’s a lot that’s going on off the field,” Rusnak said. “And the people to speak to about that are probably the higher up people in the club, and they know what’s going on.”

MLSsoccer.com reported Rusnak, who has a team-leading three goals and three assists this season, has been frustrated by contract negotiations that started in January.

That doesn’t bode well for RSL (4-6-1), which is 0-5-1 on the road and is coming off a 4-1 loss in Philadelphia.

“Right now, this is who we are,” RSL coach MIke Petke said after the game. “On the road, we don’t lose small. We lose big.”

RSL has five players listed as out on the injury report and forward Joao Plata is questionable with a quadriceps injury.

“They’ve got some injury problems, but look they have a good team, a quality team,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said of RSL after training Tuesday. “In MLS, any team in any situation can win. We’re wary of all their players.”

The Sounders (2-5-2) are also very familiar with the injury list. Leading scorer Will Bruin, who has three goals and two assists, has a partial tear of the plantar fascia on his left foot and is listed as out, as is midfielder Osvaldo Alonso (left quadriceps strain), the team’s longtime captain.

Seattle has also been without forward Jordan Morris (torn anterior cruciate ligament) and midfielder Victor Rodriguez (right surgery) all season.

The Sounders have also allowed three starters — defender Roman Torres (Panama) and midfielders Nicolas Lodeiro (Uruguay) and Gustav Svensson (Sweden) — to join their respective international teams in preparation for the World Cup.

The Sounders, who have scored a league-low seven goals this season and have been shutout six times in nine games, barely have enough healthy/available players to field a game-day lineup of 18.

“This is it,” Schmetzer told his players. “This is who we are for the next little bit. So, let’s get out and get after it.”

The all-time series is tied 9-9-4, with Seattle 8-2-2 at home.