169 MLS appearances. 88 goals. 1 MVP.
Sounds like a great player to pick up if your an MLS club. Then you look at the name and see Carlos Ruiz. Now the hesitation begins.
He’s been with 4 MLS clubs (2 tours of duty with the LA Galaxy) and now joins his 5th club, 4 time MLS Cup Champions DC United.
One would have to figure that the DC Untied brass and manager Ben Olsen have vetted Ruiz thoroughly but it’s still a wild card pick up. Ruiz has had some bad timing sure. He was traded from LA to Dallas to free up space for Landon Donovan and later was released by Toronto to free up space for Dwayne De Rosario. But still, the incident with Ricardo Clark still lingers as does whatever happened the last time he returned to the MLS with the Philadelphia Union where one week he was playing and then the next he was gone.
Ruiz can help DC which is probably looking for a way to stop teams from ganging up on Chris Pontius up top. If Ruiz is half the player he was that’s still enough of a threat to force opposing teams to take notice. Question really becomes the locker room. Will Ruiz fit in and contribute or will he be the drain that he has been on other clubs? He also hasn’t played since March of 2012 which may or may not be a good. It may be a good thing from the attitude perspective in that he wants one more chance to play but it could also mean that he doesn’t have the fitness to make it through 34 regular season games.
In an offseason filled with a lot of very interesting and note worthy moves this one may turn out to be the biggest. If Ruiz can do what he’s known for to which is putting the ball in the back of the net then DC might have enough to get over the hump and back to MLS Cup. If Ruiz shows up like he has at his last few MLS stops we might be writing about how big of a mistake this move was.