May 20, 2013, 12:35 PM EDT
If Carlos Ruiz begins causing headaches for D.C. United, club officials can only blame themselves.
They took on a 33-year-old striker who is used to starting and being a first-choice figure, but who has clearly entered the winter of his pockmarked career.
Further, they took on a man who is now at his eighth club in the past six years. What screams “Stay away from this guy” like eight clubs in six years?
In United’s defense, Ruiz has generally been a decent locker room presence. People always challenge me when I say that; fair enough. What I mean is that he’s generally a likable soul, a guy that teammates enjoy hanging around.
When you’re a likeable guy, teammates tend to give you a pass on certain things. They may not agree with how you conduct some of your business, but they tend to view you as some lost, wandering puppy dog and not someone deliberately out raise a selfish ruckus.
At any rate, he’s raising a ruckus. It’s about his playing time, which could generously be described as “sparse.” Playing time is always an issue with losing clubs. Players on the bench for a winner can hardly complain, after all. But for the bench warmers on a side in full, ugly spiral? Yep … the complaints over minutes are sure to come a’flyin’.
The story is in Spanish. It essentially says this:
He has never experienced anything like this in his long career. He wants everyone to know that he is 100 percent fit, the best he has felt in some time. (Not saying all that much, by the way, since Ruiz has never been a fitness zealot.)
He also questions how United seems to feel good about a tie at home. (That’s a reasonable complaint; I said the same thing last night on Twitter.) And then he goes on to wonder if there is something personal between himself and the coaching staff, a question he says he actually asked United management.
Ruiz has no goals in seven appearances, which total exactly 100 minutes.
United snapped its club record seven-game losing streak yesterday. While that represents some small nibble of progress, United’s 9-game winless streak still sees the gang from RFK at the bottom of the league standings, with just five of a possible 33 points.
So, there is still much, much work ahead for Ben Olsen and management around RFK. They hardly need this, but they brought it on themselves.
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