Carlos Ruiz will team up with young U.S. national team striker Eddie Johnson to form the most lethal strike force in MLS after completion of a blockbuster trade on Wednesday that sent the Guatemalan international to FC Dallas in exchange with the Los Angeles Galaxy for an allocation.
The leading goal scorer in Major League Soccer for two of the past three seasons, Ruiz has scored 50 goals since coming to MLS in 2002 -- the most in league history by a player in his first three seasons. He has scored 23 goals in 52 appearances for the Guatemala national team.
"We are very delighted to have a player of his caliber -- he is one of the league's leading scorers the past three years," said FC Dallas coach Colin Clarke. "Offseason we made a move to improve our team with the addition of (Richard) Mulrooney, (Greg) Vanney and now Carlos Ruiz."
The 25-year-old Ruiz scored 24 goals in his first season in MLS, which ended with his scoring the only goal in MLS Cup 2002 -- the Galaxy's first win in four trips to the championship game -- and he was named the league's MVP and MLS Cup MVP that year while also winning the Goal of the Year award.
He started his football career in 1995 at the tender age of 16 with CSD Municipal of the Guatemalan First Division. He stayed with the club for six years and left for the Greece first division for a short stint with PAS Giannina, before returning to Guatemala for the 2001-2002 season.
"Following the 2003 season, we gathered as an organization and compiled a list of players who, if available, we would do everything in our power to acquire. Carlos Ruiz was at the top of that list," said FC Dallas general manager Greg Elliott. "This is a deal we have been working on for several months and we are elated to bring Carlos to FC Dallas.
The one-two punch of Johnson and Ruiz will make defenders wince at the sight of both players on the pitch at the same time, while creating a coach's nightmare accounting for both players.
Both players will get a chance to get acquainted with one another on Wednesday as Guatemala ventures into Birmingham, Ala., to face Johnson and the U.S. national team in a World Cup qualifier.
"Carlos has accomplished some great things during his time in a Galaxy uniform," said Galaxy general manager Doug Hamilton. "Making this move now allows us the greatest opportunity to maximize the value he represents, when considering that he has only nine months left on his contract, and that despite repeated efforts on our behalf, we have been unable to extend our relationship."
Ron Goode is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.