Philly Union sets sights on Carlos Ruiz

Carlos Ruiz 1 (

The Philadelphia Union's need for a goal-scoring forward has led them to a familiar face in MLS circles, an enigmatic but dangerous striker who could provide the spark up top the Union desperately needs in year one.

The Union has filed a discovery claim on former MLS MVP Carlos Ruiz and is trying to sign the striker before the close of the April 15 transfer window, Sources within MLS told SBI on Thursday. Ruiz is currently playing for Mexican First Division club Puebla.

Philadelphia had been rumored to be pursuing former D.C. United striker Luciano Emilio, but with D.C. United holding his rights and seeking compensation for those rights, the Union has turned its attention to Ruiz.

An MLS Cup winner and League MVP with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2002, Ruiz has scored 83 goals in parts of seven MLS seasons. He most recently played for Toronto FC in 2008, before heading to Paraguay to play for Olimpia. Ruiz signed with Puebla last summer and has scored six goals for the Mexican club since joining.

Ruiz's last two seasons in MLS were uneventful, but he has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance in Mexico, establishing himself as a regular starter for Puebla. Ruiz's days could be numbered at Puebla though, with American striker Herculez Gomez hitting his goal-scoring stride, having scored eight goals in 10 matches.

What do you think of this development? Think Ruiz can help the Union? Not sold on him still being a top goal scorer in MLS?

Share your thoughts below.

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79 Responses to Philly Union sets sights on Carlos Ruiz

  1. mensreajim says:

    He must have heard Ricardo left town.

  2. andy065 says:

    well, he’s halfway safe from Houston without Rico Clark to kick him in the ribs, but I think he’d make a better fit with the Seattle Flounders… I mean Sounders.

  3. Smorebs says:

    Yeay…even more reason to hate Philly! Carlos, expect to be put down by Petke!

  4. Jorge says:

    Six goals and a broken nose… :-)

  5. Joekaef says:


  6. G in Humboldt says:

    Hey Ives,

    How did you come to have two Philly Union Club seating tickets to give away? That sounds like a story in itself!

    (SBI-I bought two club season tickets for the site, so Philly fans can expect more ticket contests throughout the season.)

  7. dbag says:

    I say let mwanga and jack mac learn for a year, they really have bright futures ahead of them

  8. Seth says:

    Sounds like media leverage to drive down the price for Emilio with DC. Ruiz is much too similar to A. Moreno. I don’t see the fit.

  9. wyofan says:

    This highlights one of the problem areas with how MLS operates. A player who is out of contract is bound to a team and not free to move on within MLS. I understand they can go to another league, but it’s unfair to the player and to teams that would meet the players needs. Perhaps a waiver wire would work better – a new team could sign a player but the original club has an opportunity to match it. That would stop players from just moving clubs on a whim or to a few desirable clubs.

  10. Michael Vann says:

    BTW, it wasn’t Olympia of Guatemala he played for it was Olimpia Asunción of Paraguay. Ruiz has played pretty well since leaving MLS. Both in Mexico and Paraguay he’s looked lively again. I want to say was instrumental in Olympia’s deep Copa Libertadores run, too. Nonetheless, if Ruiz is motivated, refreshed, and is in the right system, he could be a very good pickup for Philly. The Union need a proven goal scorer. That’s the bottom line.

  11. Sonicdeathmonkey says:

    Wow, can you imagine Ruiz and Moreno on the same team? The amount of flopping taking place would be astounding.

  12. Joey says:

    hehe yes the second Carlos Ruiz in the city! I expect that nickname to stick quickly if he signs

  13. United fury says:

    Yeah, but I don’t think anyone can compare with Ljungberg and Montero.

  14. whoiam says:

    Carlos Ruiz was awful last time he was in MLS. Slow, fat, no desire. Don’t sign him.

  15. Toumba says:

    I agree. It sounds like a mistake to me. I have never liked this guy and I have never respected his game. Too much diving and trying to politic the ref. I have no respect for these type of players no matter how many goals they can score. This type of behavior is also one of the big reasons MLS can not bring in the casual fan or convert people from other sports. They get turned off by these wussy-men that fall anytime someone looks their direction. I see so much of it here in Greece it almost makes the league unwatchable. MLS needs to avoid this type of player.

  16. Jamie Z. says:

    Argh. I was hoping it was April 1st.

  17. scott47a says:

    Will Nowak call out his own player for not being “manly” and flopping too much?
    Will he challenge him to a fight?
    Will he give him the Myrie treatment and let him go after one game?

  18. Luis F says:

    I wish we could see some sort of study on how brutal the MLS would be for a skillful player who didn’t go to ground. I hate flopping as much as the next guy, but from what I’ve seen, most guys who flop do it about as much as they get whacked. I have to remove Alejandro Moreno and Fredy Montero from this list, as both of them go to ground really really easily.

    I just sympathize with a skill player in this league, because the officials don’t do much to protect those guys.

  19. Gilby says:

    Seems strange Nowak complains about Fredie and Freddy simulating then goes out and sign possibly the worst diver in MLS history that should provide some interesting moments.

  20. PGS says:


    I hope they don’t sign him. I have enough trouble defending MLS to my friends without the return of a legendary flopper.

    Rico got it right.

  21. Brian says:

    If they sign him, P.U. will be rivaling Chivas as my most hated team.

  22. niccollo says:

    hahaha im wit ya jamie! i saw his picture and the word “Union” and i actually cringed.. ugh.. darn reflexes

  23. Chris says:

    I love the pure irony regarding the use of a discovery claim on this guy.

  24. C. says:

    Well I guess this answers my question that we still have that ridiculous discovery rule. How on earth could that not have been addressed during this past CBA?? That is the absolute dumbest rule I have ever heard for sport ever. And how can you file a “discovery” on a player that’s already played in the league for 7 years?!?!?! Why is it Ruiz is playing in another league and is available, but Emilio’s rights are still owned? This league is so damn dumb. I hate it.

  25. mffinla says:

    Yup. Total B.S. There’s a reason no one else is filing a claim on Ruiz. He sucks.

  26. einar says:

    News flash for people that havent seen him play in a long time. He is not fat anymore and doesnt play like a zombie anymore. I can see him do well in philly with moreno becuz both strikers will do well with the service of Torres and hopefully a healthy Fred would benefit them as well.

  27. Metro-211-7 says:

    I’m not sure if this is the right direction to go.

    Nowak did not draft that well in the expansion draft. He got some questionable talent, he left some young talent on the board and he drafted two veterans that did not start in their first game (Miglioranzi and Shavar Thomas). I thought that the veterans should be the ones to get the team “on-track” in the early going.

    Also, his tactical arangement in game #1 was worse, and I mean “worse”, that Juan Carlos Osorio used to do in 2009.

    Additionally, most of the good coaches concentrate on working with the players they have and making a few adjustments in the most needed areas. As of now, Nowak is so ready to get ready of some players and get outhers onto the team. This shows that he is not very pacient and also that the draft picks he made are not working as he wished.

    It looks like Philadelphia is going to have a hard and tumultous road ahead.

    Cristian Arrieta for right-back is a good acquisition, but Nowak needs to put the players in their natural positions and build the chemestry and team play that way.

  28. einar says:

    I am worried about the phily cheese steaks an what that would do to him after 2 weeks with philly

  29. aristotle says:

    Very strange. Does not seem like a Nowak type player at all, and it seems unlikely that he would be any good. Is Nowak this desperate already, or has Ruiz’s value gone so low that there’s not much risk involved?

  30. Benjamin says:

    Any word on Szetela and the Union?

  31. Smith says:

    Oh,yeah..the season is two weeks old & Philthy is already getting desperate. Love it.

  32. Osvaldo Alonso says:

    Why is Philly intent on signing up washed up has beens who have had their best MLS years? There are so many good players in Central and South America. I’m sure they could get a young talented striker who still has alot to prove ala Montero. This is the wrong route IMO.

  33. Tony T says:

    Amen to that! I remember when he played for us in Dallas and diving was one of the things I disliked about El Pescadito, but he did have some of the most awesome goals I’ve ever seen in the MLS.

  34. Chetter says:

    I’m a Philly season ticket holder and flat out hope Nowak doesn’t sign this guy. One, his flopping is disgraceful. I know many players do it too much in this era, but this guy is legendary. Philly wouldn’t have much respect for this type of player even if it got us a few more PK’s and wins. Two, the team and org being young has a chance to continue to set a good tone and style of play, aka how they want to play as a team and run the org – this guy’s style goes against working hard and playing good soccer – he’s cheap. Three, in light of the Ljungberg flopper display, comments from Nowak about it, and the organizations emphasis on getting players that fit, it would seen hypocritical to sign Ruiz. Fourth – I really don’t feel like explaining to the Philly non-soccer fans that the Union has their own Chooch – its just inevitable confusion. Would rather have Emilio than El Pescadito, but would hope they just wait until after the WC to see if there are some better options for a goal scoring forward. I worry a bit that the Union hasn’t been creative enough in looking for new players and is considering to many aging ex-MLS players who were decent but not great. Need to look for a higher quality, DP type player.

  35. scott says:

    Hasn’t Gomez scored 8 goals, and not 10?

    I think Ruiz still has some MLS goalscoring left in him. Could be a big help to the Union (if Nowak can put up with his occasional antics).

    (SBI-Eight in his past ten matches.)

  36. RSL Rob says:

    Wow, you took the name “Sounders” and exchanged an “Fl” for the “S” to make it “Flounders”…hilarious! With a dry cool wit like that, you could very well get yourself a show on ABC Family.

  37. scott says:

    btw, I don’t think all of Ruiz’ reputation as a diver is deserved. Like Montero’s, some of it is deserved, but not all of it. Ruiz used to get hacked to pieces with no calls going his way, and sometimes he would try to take the situation into his own hands. At least that’s the way I saw it.

  38. Ski Fast! says:

    Haha, well played.

  39. CrispyST3 says:

    Yah man, Ima USMNT fan but my parents are from Guatemala and i also support Guate, whenever they are playing against anyone other that the U.S. and even though he holds the record for most goals scored for Guate, i never liked him, i’m glad hes gna retire soon, especially since Marco Pappa is starting to get really good.

  40. Joel says:

    Looks like Christian Arrieta is signed judging from the PR Islanders website.

    link to

  41. Gilby says:

    Sure he may have got hacked a little but Ruiz is dirty player pure and simple. He would leave his foot in on challenges looking to hurt the keeper or provoke a response. I remember when the U.S. played a few years ago he went after Timmy after the play had ended and the ref was looking the other way I thought Howard was going to tear his head off.

  42. Gilby says:

    Here’s Howard’s quote when asked about Ruiz after that game
    “He caught me. He kicked me straight in the head. With Carlos, you expect that. You know what? He’s dirty. I wish I could say otherwise. I’ve seen it [in MLS]. There is no place for it. It’s reckless. It’s there for everyone to see. I kind of expect it….

    “That’s what he does. I think you would rather have him be a man out there and say, ‘Look, I don’t like you, I am going to kick you.’ You can almost respect it in a funny way. He has this way about him. He kicks, he punches, he’s an *&%$@#. And he wants to come and be your friend [when he tried to apologize]. There is no place for it.”

  43. Chetter says:

    Guys were hacking him to pieces to make sure they got a good shot at him, he’s gonna go down anyway, might as well give him some punishment for doing it. Nothings more frustrating than to get whistled for a foul when you didn’t even touch the guy. Heck, I would hope Petke would clean him out for us.

    I’d say that what steriods have been to baseball, are what diving has been to soccer. Both really hurt the respect for and integrity of the game.

  44. JSC says:

    Is it possible that this is simply a negotiating tactic? We’ve been hearing the Union is looking at Emilio as well but DC holds his rights. Could the Union simply be name dropping if DC is trying to get a ransom to get back at Philadelphia for the Troy Perkins deal?

  45. papa bear says:

    I’m going to guess it was a reference to Ruiz’s nickname translating to ‘the fish’ in Spanish so it was a slightly better joke that you are giving it credit for. 😉

  46. bryan says:

    excellent. this means i’ll be able to yell even more vulgar things at Philly when they come to DC. i really do not like ruiz.

  47. joseph says:


    This is completely unacceptable. Don’t the Union need to sell tickets?!

    Ruiz could go on a scoring streak a la Messi and I still wouldn’t buy a ticket to watch

    He represents all that is evil in the world


  48. Smith says:

    It would be almost impossible to find another player as universally disliked. Philly is going to be a lot of fun this summer. They are going to look like Chivas did their first season.

  49. Second City says:


    My thoughts precisely, my friend.

  50. ga-gone says:

    Do they need any more help getting things off to a poor start there?

  51. ericJ says:

    Wow, strawman arguments never die do they?

  52. Ruiz isn't good... says:

    Carlos Ruiz is not good. He always gets acclaim by pundits, but he actually is awful on the pitch. Wayyy past his prime.

  53. Clayton says:

    Cooooool. I would love to see Carlos back in MLS. That dude is one tough son of a gun. Is Puebla the same team that H. Gomez plays for?

    I’ll never forget the goal he scored to win MLS Cup for LA on Golden Goal – wow. And the bicycle kicks he’s nailed. What a great pro! I’m pretty sure he had to use shoes that were three sizes too big for him to tryout growing up in Guatemala. Good luck Carlos

    By the way, Golden Goal should be the rule for every extra time session. If you want excitement and suspense – there it is.

  54. Unclebp says:

    tell you what, nowak sure has some crazy ideas. i love the union, and am a sob, and am not really sure what nowak’s really thinking. go young for the future? use experienced players to teach the kids? engage the media in crazy maradona type ways? who knows what that man is thinking. it’s pretty awesome (or at least interesting). i mean….suck it and keep sucking it.

  55. DadRyan says:

    I have a conspiracy theory. Ives really does hate DCU despite all of his claims that he doesn’t. He broke the Szetela story… Now he’s got this in contrast to everything that’s been reported at SI today… Hmmmm… I’m pretty sure JSC is on to something. As much as I’d love to see Luci get some playing time, I’d rather see him in Dallas or some other far off locale where I won’t miss him..

    @Ives:this is a joke. Please don’t ban me again…:)

  56. JoeW says:

    I can’t believe most of the posts against Ruiz talk about his diving and flopping. That’s the least of his evil as a player. He’s just plain dirty. He punches people and knees them in the kidneys when the ball is elsewhere. Some forwards flop, but during his time in MLS he was arguably the dirtiest player in the league, bar none.

    I think this is a negotiating ploy by Nowak. I think Nowak wants Emilio (who is a better fit for Philly’s style of play this year), Emilio clearly wants to play in MLS (still owns a house in DC he hasn’t sold) and has indicated he wants to play in Philly (but turned down an opportunity to play in Dallas). Nowak likes to compete in EVERYTHING. If you and he were walking in the parking lot to the door of a restaurant, he’d have to race you to be first–not b/c he’s hungry but b/c he wants to win at everything. I’m going to be shocked if he signs Ruiz over Emilio. Ruiz is not a good Nowak player who always admired guys like Brian Carroll and Alecko Eskandarian the most–players he praised for their “honest effort” and hard work and teamwork. Does any of that sound like Carlos Ruiz to you?

  57. I thought that Emilio (and other out-of-contract players) would be available via an allocation draft? Similar to US Nats coming to MLS from Europe are done via allocation? I thought that was one of the compromises that got into the CBA in-place of “free agency” that the players wanted? If DC wants compensation, then it sounds like the old way of doing things. Or perhaps Emilio doesn’t have the required number of years in MLS?

  58. irishapple21 says:

    This has got to be a Nick Sackiewicz decision. Ruiz is done. Philly is putting together one of the worst MLS teams of all-time. Even worse than the Red Bulls last season.

  59. EA says:

    Cool. I need an MLS team to hate.

  60. huricano says:

    Ruiz is good. I used to root against him at LA, but he can only help the Union. He’s got to be a top 10 CONCACAF striker from the last 5 years. Ives, who would be your top picks in that category?

  61. Joamiq says:

    How is that a strawman argument?

  62. Brian says:

    Ricardo Clark gave him payback

  63. Brian says:

    Who else here wanted to buy Ricardo Clark a beer after he kicked Carlos Ruiz?

  64. Brian says:

    I applaud you sir. The Little Fish and the Seattle Flounders. Match made in heaven

  65. Liverpool! says:

    Well enjoy him now then because he’ll be gone at seasons end….

  66. Liverpool! says:

    Who doesn’t hate DCU? Including about 3/4 of your own fans this year. You guys are gonna suck almost as much as Philly…

  67. Austin says:

    Ruiz is a much better choice than Emilio and he in decent form as well

  68. Joe from Philly says:

    My only complaint about what Rico did that day, was that he forgot to wear his steel toed shoes (kidding). If they sign him, it is going to hurt to try to cheer for a dirty old fish (not kidding). As a Union season ticket holder and SOB since 2007, I’m torn. Maybe extra beer will help me on game day…

  69. joe k says:

    does montero dive much more than the average striker? it didn’t seem terrible when i’ve seen him play (including the red bulls game). ljundberg, on the other hand, is a whiny dive machine

  70. Myles B says:

    Does Toronto still have his rights if he comes back to MLS though? I say MoJo can at least redeem himself a little bit and hamstring Philly like we did to Chicago for him!

  71. DadRyan says:

    Ha. Uh… Liverpool sucks this year. And last. Hey, at least the new kits are nice looking though…LOL.

  72. chupacabra says:

    It wouldn’t be the first time. They both played for the Galaxy until 2004. Watching them was like that scene in Animal House where the Deltas do the Gator.

  73. chupacabra says:

    This should help you:

    link to

  74. Tim M. says:

    If the free agents aren’t offered any sort of new contract by the clubs holding their rights, the club then forfeits the rights by a certain date and that player, such as Emilio, is free to sign with any club within MLS

  75. Tim M. says:

    Don’t you know? Ruiz is going to FC Dallas. Pshhh Old News

  76. Liverpool! says:

    Wow. 2nd place last year and at present only 4 points from top four. And you think that sucks? Good luck with your club then mate. You won’t be seeing that part of the table for a LONG time.

  77. Joamiq says:

    From what I’ve seen, he dives more than the average MLS striker. Maybe not more than the average striker in other places, though…

  78. Jonthan says:

    Carlos Ruiz has still got it. He’s played well in Paraguay and Mexico since leaving Toronto FC.

    He has demonstrated the ability to dominate MLS and has one of the best goal per minutes played averages in the history of the league. Would be a great pickup for Phily.