Los Angeles Galaxy forward Carlos Ruiz was named Honda MLS Player of the Week by the Professional Soccer Reporters Association (PSRA) for the week ending April 25, 2004 (Week Four). The Guatemalan international's two-goal performance in a 2-0 victory over the Columbus Crew on Saturday, his 11th multi-goal game in 56 career MLS matches, raised his season total to five goals through the Galaxy's first four games.
Ruiz scored from the penalty spot in the 59th minute to give the Galaxy a 1-0 lead at The Home Depot Center. Ruiz later secured the Galaxy victory with his fifth goal of the year with only eight minutes left to play. The 24-year-old started the play by feeding left back Paul Broome on the left flank. Broome then dribbled by the Crew's Duncan Oughton, sending a cross into the center of the box where Ruiz perfectly timed a right-footed volley through the legs of Crew defender Robin Fraser and past goalkeeper Jon Busch.
"The first goal was due to the tremendous effort of Joseph Ngwenya and a good penalty call by the referee," said Ruiz following the game. "The second goal was made because of good team effort and the timing of the pass."
Ruiz continues to torch MLS opponents with his finishing prowess. Having won the 2002 Honda Most Valuable Player award, Ruiz has also finished as the League's top goal scorer in each of the previous two seasons and is again leading MLS in the category early in the 2004 campaign. This was the seventh time that Ruiz has been selected Player of the Week, having won the award three times in each of the previous two seasons. The last time he received the honors came on August 25, 2003, when another two-goal performance helped his team edge the New England Revolution, 2-1, at The Home Depot Center.
"He's clearly a very special, gifted player," said Columbus head coach Greg Andrulis of Ruiz. "His second goal tonight was just a tremendous individual effort. You've got to give him credit for that. He seems to find a way every game."
Ruiz was selected ahead of Chicago Fire goalkeeper Henry Ring and Revolution goalkeeper Adin Brown in this week's voting. The Honda Major League Soccer Player of the Week is selected every week throughout the MLS regular season by a panel of journalists from the Professional Soccer Reporters Association (PSRA).
2004 PLAYER OF THE WEEK WINNERS:
Week 1: Jaime Moreno (D.C. United)
Week 2: Pat Onstad (San Jose Earthquakes)
Week 3: Fabian Taylor (MetroStars)
Week 4: Carlos Ruiz (Los Angeles Galaxy)