- Al Gore’s climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Army’s 3-D printed bombs will create ‘a whole new universe’ of deadly capabilities
- Hamas calls on Hezbollah to join in fight against Israel
- Senators to FIFA, others: Don’t reward Putin with the World Cup in 2018
- U.S. condemns Israeli shelling of shelter in Gaza
- Obamacare shoots premiums up by 88 percent in California
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- Obama to Republicans: ‘Stop just hatin’ all the time’
- U.S. chemical sites vulnerable despite millions spent on security: Congress
- Driverless cars to hit the British streets by 2015
D.C. United pleased to have MLS villain Carlos Ruiz on their side
Question of the Day
When it comes to Major League Soccer villainy, Carlos Ruiz is as diabolical as they get. This doesn’t simply stem from his reputation for dirty tricks and embellishment, mind you. He’s not the first player to emerge from Latin America’s soccer culture with such tendencies.
The reason Ruiz gets under opponents’ skin is that after all of the tumbles, tugs and nudges, they keep having to watch him celebrate goals.
In acquiring the 33-year-old striker, D.C. United checked “proven scorer” off their offseason shopping list, adding a figure whose resume includes league MVP honors, prolific success in the regular season and playoffs, and more national team goals than anyone in Guatemalan history.
The fan base’s reaction? Reasonably cynical. But coach Ben Olsen’s conscience is clear.
“I would always want a guy like that on my team,” Olsen said, before dryly adding, “I didn’t even know he had such a rep, but apparently he’s a ‘controversial figure.’ It doesn’t take much to be controversial, though. I don’t know — I love the guy.”
If nothing else, United don’t have to worry about seeing “El Pescadito” — “The Little Fish” — lining up for opponents this MLS campaign. He’s all theirs.
“It’s the guy you want to have on your team,” said All-Star midfielder Chris Pontius. “It’s the guy you don’t want to play against.”
United, who open the 2013 season with a conference final rematch at the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, began pursuing Ruiz after he scored for Guatemala in a 3-1 loss to the United States in October. Although he has been inactive on the club level for months since moving on from second-tier Mexican side Veracruz, he scored five goals in World Cup qualifying this past fall.
After spending the winter training by himself at his home in Dallas, Ruiz finally joined United last week when the club selected him in the league allocation process.
“When the opportunity came, I was speaking with a couple clubs in Major League Soccer,” Ruiz said. “But I really wanted to come with a team who really wants to fight for a championship, like D.C.”
With 88 regular-season goals in eight MLS seasons with the Los Angeles Galaxy, FC Dallas, Toronto FC and the Philadelphia Union, Ruiz ranks fourth among active scorers.
And one of the players in front of him is new teammate Dwayne De Rosario (100 goals), giving United’s young locker room two of the most accomplished players MLS has seen.
“The first thing he said to me was, ‘Anything you want me to do … to help the younger guys and the team, I’m there for you,’” said De Rosario, the 2011 league MVP. “So for him to say that to me, it means a lot. I know he’s come here to do business.”
Added Ruiz: “There are a lot of young players here, so I can teach what I’ve learned in my long career. And I think I can bring that experience to the field, too.”
But a starting job for Ruiz is far from certain. Incumbent striker Lionard Pajoy impressed Olsen with his work rate last year before enjoying a fruitful preseason, and pricey Brazilian newcomer Rafael, 20, isn’t being paid to sit on the bench.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Luis Silva realizes potential in D.C. United playmaking role
- United, D.C. hope this new stadium plan will be the last
- Jared Jeffrey returns to U.S. in search of playing time after European tour
- Sonny Silooy's career has evolved from standout defender to standout talent developer
- Alain Rochat adjusts to D.C. United move with growing family on his mind
Latest Blog Entries
- Jason Levien, Ben Olsen discuss D.C. United's $300M stadium plan
- Conor Doyle loan continues D.C. United youth movement
- Ben Olsen discusses trading Brandon McDonald to Real Salt Lake
- Interview outtakes: Sonny Silooy
- Hello Luis Silva, Collin Martin, goodbye Alain Rochat: Breaking down D.C. United's busy day
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- HURT: Impeaching Obama is a losing strategy for the GOP
- MSNBC's Ronan Farrow questions lack of racial diversity in emoji characters
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Fla. mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to walk to park alone
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world