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Over/under on Carlos Ruiz time at D.C. United? Let’s go with “six months”

Feb 21, 2013, 11:03 AM EST

Guatemala's Ruiz keeps his eyes on the ball as he battles for it against Bocanegra of the U.S. during 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Kansas City

Yes, Carlos Ruiz will continue to be a little bundle of frustration for opposition defenses; truly, he is one of the most confounding men ever to wear an MLS kit.

And, yes, Ruiz’s historic striking proficiency is impressive. His raw numbers speak volumes, as Ruiz owns one of the best goals-to-games ratio Major League Soccer has yet seen.

But I’m calling it right here: the hook-up with D.C. United will not work.

United signed the Guatemalan striker Wednesday, turning over the hour glass on a fifth MLS team for Ruiz.

First, Ruiz is 33. And it’s a hard 33. He was never a player ultimately interested in fitness and taking care of himself as a professional should. He’s the anti-Dwayne De Rosario that way. “De Ro” has always gone to great lengths to professionally look after his body.

Second, United manager Ben Olsen isn’t going to put up with Ruiz’s shenanigans. He won’t if he’s smart, at least. First time Ruiz turns up AWOL – it happened a lot in his days in Dallas – Olsen should personally clean out the man’s locker, leave the contents in a box and set it outside RFK Stadium for collection whenever Ruiz gets back into the city.

Nor will Olsen put up with Ruiz’s lack of attention to defensive detail and duty. He can’t just drag himself around the field awaiting his next chance to post up as a target. Especially not when fellow United striker Lionard Pajoy is around, a guy who doesn’t have Ruiz’s finishing skill or instincts but who is definitely willing to put in the work.

Ruiz is done with the Guatemalan national team, so that potential distraction is no longer in play. (Ruiz’s previous episodes of going AWOL were frequently attached to trips back home, when his return was mysteriously delayed on several occasions.)

And since he is 33, and since this is his eighth club since 2007 – indicating that Ruiz wears out his welcome quite quickly – perhaps the combative striker will get it. Perhaps he’ll get in line, recognizing that his window of collecting a paycheck in pro soccer is closing.

I rather doubt it, and history is on my side here.

Good luck to him. Despite it all, Ruiz has always been a likeable sort.

Still, I put the over/under on his RFK stay at six months. Which side are you taking?

  1. cwimmer77 - Feb 21, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    I would also like to know the general consensus for the over/under of goals he scores this MLS season. Any chance he reaches double figures?

    • Steve Davis - Feb 21, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      Well, I shouldn’t be the one to set it. Apparently. According to Twitter, I set the O/U on months WAY too high. People are jumping on the “Under” and wishing upon stars that they could actually bet on it. In Vegas, they call it a “soft line.” Good thing I don’t make my living as an odds maker!

  2. dcufan - Feb 21, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    I am curious how you came to write this line:
    “Ruiz has always been a likeable sort.”

    This may be the first time I have ever seen that said about Dirty Diving Ruiz. I am not sure his mother could read that line with a straight face.
    Otherwise, good piece ;-)

    • Steve Davis - Feb 21, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      I guess I mean personally. I knew Ruiz a little bit a bunch of years ago. He’s very friendly. And I can tell you, guys in the locker room generally like him and cheer for the guy. He knows how to be one of the fellas, you know? … So when he screws up, they tend to cut him some slack. It’s almost like they see him like you see your screw-up little brother. “Yeah, he’s a screw-up, but he’s a good kid.” That kind of thing. Being likable inside the locker room goes a long way. … All that said, Olsen won’t put up with a bit of it.

  3. digbysellers - Feb 21, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    He’s a ham-n-egger at this point…signing makes no sense.

  4. slxc - Feb 21, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    Carlos Ruiz (El pescado) is the best I have had the MLS, and those who do not know, the years will know that will not weigh the talent it brings within it.

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