Feb 21, 2013, 11:03 AM EDT
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?
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