A villain to USMNT fans, Ruiz will look to be Guatemala’s hero yet again

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

Carlos Ruiz does two things very well. Score goals and annoy opposing teams’ players and fans.

From his days as a goal-scoring machine for the LA Galaxy (he led them to the 2002 MLS Cup title), to his brief stint as an enigmatic striker for FC Dallas, Toronto FC and Philadelphia Union, Ruiz compiled an impressive 88 goals in MLS.

Unfortunately, Ruiz is remembered as much for his diving and dirty play as for his goals during that time, which is why he has developed a reputation as goal-scoring villain by American soccer fans.

The same goes for his time with the Guatemalan national team. His country’s all-time leading goal scorer, Ruiz has appeared more than 100 times for Guatemala, and has scored more than 50 goals (including four during the current qualifying cycle). The cagey striker is always a threat in the penalty area, and he’s also always a threat to aggravate his opponents. His questionable antics even led U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard to call him an ‘A__-hole” after the 2008 qualifying meeting between the two (a match that saw Ruiz ‘inadvertently’ knee  Howard in the head).

On Tuesday, Ruiz will be at it again. Working to get under the skin of American defenders, while also trying to position himself to score. He is Guatemala’s best hope for a win, or even a draw because he is a constant threat to score, and he is tricky enough to cause problems for U.S. centerbacks Geoff Cameron and Carlos Bocanegra.

Guatemala has other attacking weapons, most notably Marco Pappa, who scored the goal that earned his team the 1-1 draw vs. the U.S. in June, but Ruiz’s penchant for delivering in big games makes him the player most likely to find the net against the Americans on Tuesday night.

It will be up to Cameron and Bocanegra to not only keep tabs on him in the run of play, but also mark him tightly on set pieces or risk having him score like he did to beat Jamaica last Friday.

What do you think of Ruiz? Are you a fan of his game, or did you grow to hate him during his time in MLS? Think the U.S. defense can keep him contained?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in CONCACAF, Featured, World Cup Qualifying. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to A villain to USMNT fans, Ruiz will look to be Guatemala’s hero yet again

  1. jd says:

    I love Ricardo Clark

  2. Benjamin C. says:

    I am far more worried about giving up dangerous free kicks at the top of the box than I am of Ruiz scoring from the run of play. The defenders and d-mids need to resist the urge to foul in the center of the field; this has literally played a key role in the Nats losing points that would have made this game a dead tie for us.

  3. Dan M says:

    He’s the prototypical Central American soccer player. He personifiies everything most corn fed Nebraskans hate about the sport. As North Americans, we expect players to fight through soft challenges, not dive past them. We expect players to help a fallen opponent stand up, not spit or step on them. Still, I kinda think Ruiz makes games more interesting and fun to watch. Assuming a penalty dive of his doesn’t cost us a result, I wish “El Pescadito” well. If USMNT can’t handle this guy, how are we going to deal with Suarez, Chicharito, and other infamous divers in Brazil? We should win 3-0 or we shouldn’t bother advancing because we don’t belong.

    • Darwin says:

      He’s the prototypical Central American soccer player.

      Every nation, has it’s cheaters. To label all Central Americans as divers who spit and step on their fallen opponents is a bit harsh and unjust.
      I respectfully disagree that all Central American players are like this.

      • Dan M says:

        I don’t disagree with you, and I like more than a few Central American footballers. I like the other Ruiz (Brian), for example. Prototype means more like model or benchmark. You miss the mark with your interpretation that I have just labeled all such players accordingly. I have not. Get a dictionary. If I meant to say that I would have said “Ruiz is just like all the other players….” What I really feel about Ruiz is that his best and worst traits are in line with the best and worst traits of many other players in his region. He is crafty and dangerous with the ball, but also obnoxious and unsporting.

        But please come back and reply after the game and tell me you don’t see 1. Three or more Guatemalans rolling around on the pitch feigning cramps if the score is tied – while a hapless Concacaf official stands by and does nothing. 2. One or more USA players getting their foot stepped by a Guatemalan while waiting for a corner kick 3. Containers full of unknown liquids showering USA players in the Guatemalan corner and 4. At least 4 examples of drawn out and obnoxious injury simulation stemming from real or imagined fouls, with at least one to Ruiz.

        Playing Guatemala is more about referee management than good soccer, and that is a shame.

    • bigprof says:

      per capita, nebraska gets the most government subsidies…

    • Old School says:

      How are we going to deal with them? Kick them in their chest, that’s how!

      -Ricardo Clark

  4. dcm9 says:

    Hah, what a post by Ives, just to generate about 5 pages of hateful comments.

  5. patrick says:

    he’s steven lenhart 1.0

  6. beto says:

    perfect villan… both Ruiz and Pappa have not been playing regularly lately, so we have that to our advantage.

    • Edwin in LA says:

      Tell that to Jamaica and Jermaine Taylor of the Dynamo who has been playing normally….they got scored on for the loss by Ruiz

  7. Modibo says:

    Perfect photo of Ruiz with that Grinchy grin.

    Let’s hope that he doesn’t get to steal Xmas from the WHO-S-A this year, haha.

  8. Chupacabra says:

    Is it too late to call in Ricardo Clark?

  9. Gnarls 2.0 says:

    As a Galaxy fan, El Pescadito will always hold a place in my heart. As a USMNT fan, I hope he breaks a toe.

  10. Brain Guy says:

    That’s it – no playing for a draw. beat Guatemala and send that sneaky grin home. This guy combines dirty tactics and diving to form the most annoying brew.

  11. Travis says:

    What a troll face, get that picture to reddit fast

  12. Pescadito says:

    Pescadito Pescadito!!!
    Pescadito Pescadito!!!
    Pescadito Pescadito!!!

    C’mon Riot Squad like the old days….

    Pescadito Pescadito!!!
    Pescadito Pescadito!!!
    Pescadito Pescadito!!!

  13. eric wild says:

    Just because he’s brown and ugly, he’s a villain? So rascist!

    I keeeed! Got to watch him play at Puebla. Dangerous scorer.

    Come on you Yanks!

    • PetedeLA says:

      To Galaxy fans he’s still beautiful.

      A deceptively skilled player. Part Gerd Mueller, part Snidely Whiplash.

      I’d still like to know what he said to Ricardo Clark to warrant the reaction he got.

      I’m looking forward to this match.

      If we don’t win by two goals someone’s got some serious explaining to do.

  14. Eric says:

    It’s really too bad that Fabian Johnson is out for this game, because I’d love to see a rematch of him and the Fish after Ruiz goaded the ref into giving Johnson an unwarranted yellow card in Guatemala in June.

    I try very hard to never wish ill upon another person, ever, but if I’m completely honest, I probably wouldn’t mind Boca or Geoff giving Ruiz an extra shove or two tomorrow whenever the ref isn’t looking.

  15. euroman says:

    He a great player and has been a pain for all of his opponents for a very long time. Goodson is the only one who has seen all of his trciks from their 2-3 years together in Dallas. Look for the defenders to get into it a bit and get some unnecessary cards and situations that could be dangerous on dead balls dealing with this guy.

  16. Jacob says:

    Ruiz is as a prolific scorer as we will ever see in CONCACAF and he seems to LIVE for these games. 29 world cup qualifying goals is redonkulous. Whatever you think about him personally, you have to admit he is a hell of a player.

    I don’t take what Howard says too seriously seeing as though he’s a bit of a ethnocentric pvssy.

  17. Jacob says:

    Ruiz is as a prolific scorer as we will ever see in CONCACAF and he seems to LIVE for these games. 29 world cup qualifying goals is redonkulous. Whatever you think about him personally, you have to admit he is a hell of a player.

    I don’t take what Howard says too seriously seeing as though he’s a bit of a ethnocentric pvssy.