CARSON, Calif. - Los Angeles Galaxy forward Carlos Ruiz will play for the Guatemala national team in two matches over the course of the next two weeks - one friendly and one qualifying match to the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany - while not missing any games with the Galaxy, the club announced Thursday.
"Carlos has proven his ability to succeed with both club and country," said Galaxy president and general manager Doug Hamilton. "This stretch of games with both teams will continue to allow him to represent his country in critical matches while continuing to provide the Galaxy with his services."
Ruiz, who has made more than 40 appearances with the national team, will play for the chapines in an international friendly against Central American rivals El Salvador on August 6 in Washington, D.C., before joining the Galaxy for their league match two days later with the MetroStars at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
The 24-year-old striker will remain with the Galaxy through their match on August 14 against the Columbus Crew. The following day, Ruiz is scheduled to report to Guatemala's preparation camp to their semifinal-round CONCACAF qualifying opener at Canada, which will be played in Vancouver on August 18. He is slated to play for the Galaxy against the Chicago Fire the following Saturday, August 21.
"It's an honor for us as a club to have Carlos play for Guatemala as a key component in their World Cup qualifying run," said Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid.
Ruiz has played in 66 matches - 64 starts - and scored 49 goals since signing with the Galaxy as a discovery player prior to the 2002 season. The 2002 Honda Major League Soccer Most Valuable Player scored 24 goals during his rookie campaign to lead the league. He added eight goals in the 2002 MLS Cup Playoffs, including the golden goal in the 113th minute that gave the Galaxy their first-ever MLS Cup championship, a 1-0 defeat of the New England Revolution 1-0 on October 20.
"Both matches will be very important to me," said Ruiz. "I hope to re-gain the form that I demonstrated during the last round of qualifying, while maintaining my level of play with the Galaxy." In 2003, Ruiz again led MLS in scoring with 15 goals - tying him with the New England Revolution's Taylor Twellman - and making him the only player in history to lead the league in goals scored each of his first two seasons.
So far in 2004, the young forward has scored 10 goals - tied for best in the league with the San Jose Earthquakes' Brian Ching - and added two assists in 14 games. His 22 points put him third in the league behind Ching and the MetroStars Amado Guevara.
After concluding a month-long road trip that dates back to a July 14 game at Invesco Field at Mile High against the Colorado Rapids, the Galaxy will return to the friendly confines of The Home Depot Center for a contest against the Columbus Crew on August 14 at 7 p.m. The first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a Galaxy jersey key ring courtesy of Proctor & Gamble and a Kohl's Galaxy cheer card. For more information or to order tickets, please call the Galaxy ticket office toll-free at 1-877-3GALAXY.