|What pace will Carlos Ruiz set with Toronto?|
In case you're curious, Carlos Ruiz wasn't at practice today.
But that doesn't mean he's not coming.
TFC head coach John Carver headed off any "where is Carlos Ruiz?" questions by volunteering that the Guatemalan striker and L.A. Galaxy castoff should arrive in Toronto Monday night and connect with the team by Tuesday morning, when they head to Collingwood for a two-day training and bonding retreat.
If you haven't been keeping track, TFC acquired Ruiz last week in a trade with the Galaxy, who needed the roster spot and salary cap space (Ruiz makes $460,000 per season) to sign U.S. national team defender Eddie Lewis.
By now we're all aware that once upon a time Ruiz was the perhaps the league's most potent scorer, striking 24 times in 30 games in 2002.
We also know that the pace of his scoring has slowed dramatically since then -- seven goals last season in 22 games with FC Dallas.
But if you're ready to write him off as a player in decline, here's one more stat to muddy the waters -- 17 career playoff games, 16 goals, including one in the first round last year.
TFC acquired this guy in exchange for two picks in the 2009 supplemental draft.
So which team came out ahead in this trade?
Depends on who you ask.
Ridge Mahoney of Soccer America says TFC got fleeced.
Meanwhile, Ives Galarcep of Soccer By Ives says Mo Johnston got one over on the Galaxy.
I say wait at least until Ruiz touches down at YYZ before declaring winners and losers in this deal.
And John Carver, naturally, thinks reports of Ruiz' decline have been greatly exaggerated, and says after a rough stint with LAG, Ruiz will love BMO and flourish with TFC...if the coaches give him some TLC.
"He's one of those players you need to love," Carver said, hinting that former Galaxy coach Ruud Gullit didn't take the time to learn Ruiz' interpersonal intricacies. "He gets a couple of goals and he'll be a cult hero. He'll be the next Danny Dichio."
-- Morgan Campbell