The Transfer Season continues to chug along, and change continues to be the theme for the LA Galaxy, as forward Carlos Ruiz appears set to join Toronto FC.
The Guatemalan international has 81 MLS goals, an MLS Cup, an MLS MVP award and two MLS Golden Boots for the most goals in the league. Internationally, Ruiz is Guatemala’s highest goal scorer ever, with 39 goals in 77 appearances. However, his second stint in LA after 4 years in Dallas has been a disappointment. Ruiz has played in only 10 games, few of those appearances have been starts, and he has nothced only one goal.
LA unloads upwards of $300,000 per season in salary cap space, a Designated Player slot, and an ego to compete with the abundance of personality already present in the Home Depot Center locker room. Perhaps the Galaxy will use the space to sign American international M Eddie Lewis, who had been a rumored target in LA before new Head Coach Bruce Arena arrived. With Edson Buddle scoring plenty this season, Ruiz became surplus, and LA has accordingly been attempting to dispose of him for a good portion of the season (New York and Columbus were potential destinations).
Toronto gets a forward proven in the league (even if he is looking a little chubby and dives a lot) who can pair up with Danny Dichio. Apparently young forwards Abdus Ibrahim (17), Chad Barrett (23), Jarrod Smith (24), and Johann Smith (21) didn’t represent an immediate solution for TFC’s Director of Soccer Mo Johnston. Although Ruiz has plenty of accolades and experience, this move seems a bit desperate for the Reds, as well as an inevitable hit to the confidence of new acquisitions Barrett and Johann Smith, who haven’t even been in Toronto for a month. Ruiz carries a large price tag, has produced little this season, and can be an unsettling force similar to recently departed ex-TFC forward Jeff Cunningham. Barrett, a former Generation Adidas player, and Smith, a recent arrival from Premier League side Bolton Wanderers, are both seen as rising stars in the US Soccer world. It’s strange that the team would bring in a generously-paid player like Ruiz to take playing time away from the two of them, but Toronto is facing desperate times after slipping to a tie for last place in the Eastern Conference.
Update: Los Angeles received first and second round 2009 Supplemental Draft picks for Ruiz