Carlos Ruiz unhappy? Whoa! Who saw this coming?

3 Comments

If Carlos Ruiz begins causing headaches for D.C. United, club officials can only blame themselves.

They took on a 33-year-old striker who is used to starting and being a first-choice figure, but who has clearly entered the winter of his pockmarked career.

Further, they took on a man who is now at his eighth club in the past six years. What screams “Stay away from this guy” like eight clubs in six years?

In United’s defense, Ruiz has generally been a decent locker room presence. People always challenge me when I say that; fair enough. What I mean is that he’s generally a likable soul, a guy that teammates enjoy hanging around.

When you’re a likeable guy, teammates tend to give you a pass on certain things. They may not agree with how you conduct some of your business, but they tend to view you as some lost, wandering puppy dog and not someone deliberately out raise a selfish ruckus.

At any rate, he’s raising a ruckus. It’s about his playing time, which could generously be described as “sparse.” Playing time is always an issue with losing clubs. Players on the bench for a winner can hardly complain, after all. But for the bench warmers on a side in full, ugly spiral? Yep … the complaints over minutes are sure to come a’flyin’.

Here is Ruiz’s lament.

The story is in Spanish. It essentially says this:

He has never experienced anything like this in his long career. He wants everyone to know that he is 100 percent fit, the best he has felt in some time. (Not saying all that much, by the way, since Ruiz has never been a fitness zealot.)

(MORE: United perhaps fortunate to get the draw at home)

He also questions how United seems to feel good about a tie at home. (That’s a reasonable complaint; I said the same thing last night on Twitter.) And then he goes on to wonder if there is something personal between himself and the coaching staff, a question he says he actually asked United management.

Ruiz has no goals in seven appearances, which total exactly 100 minutes.

United snapped its club record seven-game losing streak yesterday. While that represents some small nibble of progress, United’s 9-game winless streak still sees the gang from RFK at the bottom of the league standings, with just five of a possible 33 points.

So, there is still much, much work ahead for Ben Olsen and management around RFK. They hardly need this, but they brought it on themselves.

Europa League Preview: Everton, Milan look to make group stage

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Everton look to make it back into the Europa League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season and it has a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg of its tie.

Ronald Koeman and co. travel to Croatia to face Hadjuk Split Thursday having won the first leg at Goodison Park, 2-0. Everton is coming off a hard-fought draw on Monday with Manchester City and will be on short rest heading into the match.

Elsewhere in Europa League action, AC Milan take its 6-0 aggregate lead to Skopje, Macedonia as the legendary club looks to return to the group stage of a European competition for the first time since 2013-2014.

Here’s a look at all of Thursday’s Europa League matches, with the current aggregate scores:

(more…)

EFL Cup Rewind: Southampton, Newcastle knocked out by Championship sides

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Last season, Southampton made it to the EFL Cup final. This year, it’s a different story.

The Saints were bounced by Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 at home on Wednesday in the second round of the cup. Joining Southampton of Premier League sides going home early was Newcastle, which lost 3-2 after extra time at home against Nottingham Forest.

Four other Premier League sides did advance to the third round, as Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Burnley all won their fixtures.

Here’s a look at the rest of Wednesday’s EFL Cup action:

Blackburn 0-2 Burnley

Cheltenham 0-2 West Ham

Huddersfield 2-1 Rotherham

Newcastle 2-3 Nottingham Forest

Southampton 0-2 Wolverhampton

Stoke City 4-0 Rochdale

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

(more…)

Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

[ FOLLOW: Live MLS scores ]

On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET