FC Dallas sign veteran Guatemalan forward, longtime MLS man Carlos Ruiz

He’s back.

After several years out of the league, Guatemalan international Carlos Ruiz has returned to MLS, signing with FC Dallas on Thursday hours ahead of the league’s roster freeze deadline.  

Ruiz, who turned 37 on Thursday, spent parts of nine seasons in MLS, most recently playing 13 games for D.C. United in 2013. The 2002 MLS MVP and a two-time Golden Boot winner, Ruiz spent three years with FC Dallas, scoring 31 goals in 68 games with the club in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Ruiz, who has 88 goals and 17 assists in 182 career MLS regular season appearances, played with FCD head coach Oscar Pareja on Dallas in 2005.

Affectionately known as “El Pescadito” (The Little Fish), Ruiz spent the last two-and-a-half years with Guatemalan club Municipal. He’s been without a club since the Guatemalan season ended in May, but continued playing with the national team in World Cup qualifying over the summer, scoring both of their goals in a 2-2 draw at Trinidad and Tobago on Sept. 2 before bagging five in his final international match, a 9-3 win against St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 6.

Guatemala’s all-time leader with 132 senior caps and 68 goals, Ruiz ended his national team career with 39 goals in World Cup qualifying matches, the most for any one player in World Cup qualification history.

Ruiz, who began his MLS career in 2002 with the LA Galaxy and also spent time with the Philadelphia Union, is the 11th leading scorer in league history. He’ll be available immediately for first-place FC Dallas, who won the US Open Cup title on Tuesday night and will play at New York City FC on Saturday (7 pm ET; MLS LIVE).