“It’s going to be tough, but it’s going to be good for the team,” Ruiz said. “We can fight every practice for the position and try to see who’s going to play in the first 11.”
Olsen noted fitness still is a concern for Ruiz considering how late he arrived in preseason. While Ruiz may only be able to go 10 or 15 minutes Saturday, Olsen said this move was made with the full nine-month marathon in mind, pointing out Ruiz is “a guy who does some of his best work down the stretch when you need him.”
No arguing that. In 17 playoff games, Ruiz has an astonishing 16 goals, including the MLS Cup winner for Los Angeles to cap his MVP season in 2002 — back when Olsen was a 25-year-old midfielder for United with another seven seasons in front of him.
“Soccer in this country is a very small world,” Olsen said. “I know what type of guy he is. And I know when he steps on the field, he plays hard, he plays with passion, and he wants to win for whoever’s uniform he’s wearing. That’s enough for me.”