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Real Salt Lake’s Johnson, Rusnák called up for international break

Liberian international Sam Johnson joined Real Salt Lake on Feb. 4, signing a Designated Player contract following a transfer from Valerenga in Norway’s first division. (Photo courtesy Real Salt Lake)

Real Salt Lake forward Sam Johnson is scheduled to miss one MLS match while on international duty with the Liberian national team for its final Africans Cup of Nations qualifying match March 24 against Democratic Republic of Congo.

Midfielder Albert Rusnák also was called up by Slovakia for a pair of UEFA Euro qualifying matches against Hungary on March 21 and Wales on March 24. Rusnák, 24, has scored twice in two appearances for RSL this season and has four international goals in 17 caps with Slovakia. 

Johnson, a 25-year-old striker, will leave after RSL’s match Saturday against D.C. United and return prior to a March 30 match on the road against FC Dallas, the club said in a statement.

Johnson is a recent designated player signee for RSL and has logged 48 MLS minutes in two appearances off the bench this season. He was shown a yellow card in the 90th minute of his RSL debut against Houston Dynamo.

In 11 international appearances, the striker has two goals for Liberia. He made his international debut in 2015. 

Liberia is ranked second in the Africa Cup of Nations Group G. Liberia (2-2-1, 7 points) trails Zimbabwe (2-1-2, 8 points). Johnson has scored once in five matches in the international competition. A win would qualify Liberia for the Cup of Nations in Egypt from June 21 to July 19. It would be the first time Liberia has qualified for the African competition since 2002 when the side placed ninth. 

Johnson came to RSL from Valerenga in Norway’s first division, where he scored 11 goals in 21 total matches. 

RSL is 1-0-1 (4 points) heading into its match against DC United. 

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