After a couple years of rumors and speculation, El Pescadito is back in MLS. When we last saw Carlos Ruiz he was released in early 2009 by Toronto FC after being a flop, pun intended, managing only five appearances and no goals. It was an unceremonious end to his time in the league after scoring 82 goals in seven plus seasons. Ruiz was always a controversial player given his deserved reputation for diving.
Despite that, his goal-scoring prowess was undeniable and he was the type of player who you loved to have on your team and hated to see in the opposing team’s shirt. After three seasons away, Ruiz is back, this time in Philadelphia. While the 31-year old wasn’t exactly lighting things up in Paraguay, Mexico and Greece, he still produced some goals and more importantly was able to play fairly consistently.
What will be the biggest adjustment Ruiz will have to make?
Having spent many years in MLS, Ruiz shouldn’t have too much trouble adjusting to life back in the league. The key for Ruiz is staying healthy, especially if Nowak plans to start him regularly. Many players who come to MLS struggle at first with the often over zealous physicality of play, but given his previous experience, Ruiz should have no trouble adjusting.
What kind of impact can Ruiz have on his team?
If Ruiz can stay healthy, there is no reason to think he can’t help the Union by giving them an experienced forward that’s proven in the past he can produce in MLS. As long as his bad habits don’t rub off on young players like Danny Mwanga, it seems like a good signing. If anyone coach can keep Ruiz under control, it’s Petr Nowak.
What's a reasonable expectation in terms of production and playing time?
I think Ruiz will be expected to start up front alongside Mwanga, allowing Sebestian Le Toux to move back in to the midfield. There is no reason to think that Ruiz can’t produce for the Union and score goals. It’s possible he could be even more effective at first if referees have forgotten about him and fall for some of his frequent tactical antics.
What's the ceiling on Ruiz?
As crazy as it sounds, a healthy and motivated Ruiz could put himself in to contention for the Golden Boot. It comes down to how Nowak plans to utilize him and how committed he is to playing at a high level.
-- Report by Zach "The Ginge" Woosley of Dynamo Theory