And because of that, his Seattle Sounders are headed to their third MLS Cup in four years.
Ruidiaz scored a brace in the Sounders' 3-1 win at LAFC in the Western Conference Final, did wonderful work in the build-up for the only goal he didn't score, and recorded seven possession recoveries. It was an all-around game for the Designated Player. He comes alive in the biggest moments.
"It’s just desire,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said of Ruidiaz in July. “He just wants to score goals. That’s who he is, that’s part of his DNA."
The Peruvian joined Seattle midway through the 2018 season from Monarcas Morelia of Liga MX, then lit the league on fire with 10 goals in 14 appearances. The aforementioned postseason excellence quickly followed. Expectations for 2019 were huge, but the lofty hopes were not always met.
Ruidiaz scored 11 goals in 22 regular-season appearances, as he missed matches through injury and international duty. He headed into the postseason having failed to score in five consecutive starts. When available for selection, his previous longest goalless run in the league was three games.
But as a professional goalscorer, like all the great ones across all sports, Ruidiaz feels the next shot will find the net. They went in against Dallas in Round One and they went in against LAFC, where he took over against the Supporters' Shield champions.
As Bobby Warshaw wrote in his column explaining how the Sounders beat LAFC, the simple yet profound ingredient to winning in the playoffs: taking chances. In Ruidiaz, the Sounders have one of the league's top pure goalscorers, the ol' archetype of a classic poacher who needs few touches to leave his impact on the game.
It's the most valuable quality to have in soccer.
On Tuesday night, though, Ruidiaz provided much more than his goals. Alongside Nicolas Lodeiro, Ruidiaz was Seattle's hero once again.