Albert Rusnak finally scores first MLS goal of season, but Sounders allow late equalizer in draw with LAFC

Albert Rusnak has been here before – looking at the target but not wrecking the plane for long stretches of a season.

The Sounders midfielder had two of them “How did he miss that?” Trying in the opening half against Los Angeles FC on Saturday. The first goes over the net and the second, a left footed hook shot from outside the box, is saved by keeper Maxim Crepue.

As the sides went goalless at halftime at Lumen Field, it looked like Rusnak would remain without an MLS goal for his new team. The playmaker was the biggest intraleague free-agent signing in two decades when Real left Salt Lake for Seattle in January. Rusnac’s small move made the team stable – especially without Joo Paulo unavailable due to a knee injury – well worth the money.

But the Sounders expect goals and assists as well. Rusnak scored a career-high 11 goals and 11 assists for RSL last year – all of which started in June.

After missing the first half on Saturday, Rusnack finally scored his first MLS goal of the season. The Sounders could not hold onto the clean sheet, however, conceding a late goal for a 1-1 draw at Lumen Field.

“I understand that as a player, you’re going to go through some tough times; that’s what I did last year,” Rasnack said recently. “The start of the season, specifically, the first six, seven games – No goals, no assists.

“All of a sudden, people wanted to start pointing fingers and say, ‘Oh, that’s not good enough’ and this and that. Then you end the season and everyone wants to hold you in their arms. I understand That’s what an athlete’s life is all about. … It wouldn’t always be pretty and if it was, everyone would play well all the time.”

Rusnak’s strike was a gift from Crepeau that Pressure Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer prepared for his team to continue. Crepue had a quick goal kick into space as Sounders midfielder Nico Lodeiro charged at him. Rusnak jumps from close to dribble the ball back into the box for a right footed shot in 58th minutes.

Crepue fell to the ground attempting to save, then argued with teammates as the declared crowd of 34,642 cheered for Rusnack. The Slovakian international also scored a goal and an assist this season during the CONCACAF Champions League tournament.

“I’m sure the goalkeeper knows it wasn’t the best pass, but it was the right pass to make,” Rusnak said. “If that pass is good and they add the next pass, they’re off. The press game is tough, and it doesn’t work all the time, but we tend to apply it more when we play at home.” But it (the end result) feels like a loss right now.”

Sounders 79. I missed two chances to clear a ball out of the boxth Minute that equalized Cristian Arango with a header.

Failed defenses, including Sounders keeper Stephen Frey, affected Frey’s strong performance. He finished with six saves.

Schmetzer wondered whether his replacement decisions were a factor in LAFC’s score. Center back Javier Arrega was dismissed in the 74th minute with an apparent injury to Kellyanne Rowe, who is under evaluation. Nouhou could have moved or the Schmetzer center could have called back at AB Cissoko.

“I will consider my decisions as a coaching staff,” Schmetzer said.

29. I keep my eyes on the targetth minutes. Frey made a hard save with his midsection but took a long time to get back on his feet. The Sounders pushed the ball forward and there was a near chance at the other end as Frey got up and sought medical attention.

Frey intercepted three more attempts of the LAFC shot, scoring 43. Also includes a kick savethird minutes, to help the Sounders stay at break level.

“(LAFC forward Kwadwo Opoku’s shot) was one of them, where he was just close enough that he tried to hit it as hard as he could,” Frey said. “You try to hold your ground. The fact that it hit it and it was still rising, it caught me on the lowest rib and in the right knee. There’s not much protection for your lungs. . .. . I was gasping trying to find some air, thankfully I found it about 20 seconds later.

Seattle played without striker Raul Ruidiaz, who suffered a left hamstring injury during their win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Tuesday. Center back Yamar Gomez Andrade has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

But international players Jordan Morris (US), Christian Roldan (US), Rusnack and Nuhou (Cameron) returned from national duty and were able to start.

LAFC star Carlos Vela didn’t start out surprisingly, 46. entered the matchth minutes. The Mexican international led the team this season with six goals and started 12 of his 13 appearances. But his contract expires on June 30 and there have been no reports that he is close to signing a new deal.

First-year LAFC coach Steve Cherundolo used Arango, Danny Musowski and Opoku in the attack. And there was also a different defensive form as this season’s mainstays Mamadou Fall and Kellyanne Acosta were not in the starting lineup, but were available as subs.

But LAFC (15–9–3) continued their hot start to the season to finish ahead of the league’s supporters in the Shield race.

Seattle (6-6-2) continued their home stand against Sporting Kansas City on June 25.

“They’re just leaders,” Schmetzer said of LAFC. “We are disappointed.”

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