Carlos Ruiz unhappy? Whoa! Who saw this coming?

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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.

UEFA: Wales in trouble; Spain dominates; Buffon hits 1000

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Friday’s matches mark the midway point of the main round of qualifying in UEFA, and the tables remain tight near the top of Groups D and G.

[ MORE: Smalling hurt, Gibson called up ]

Group I, however, is seeing some distance between first and second thanks to Croatia’s result versus Ukraine.

Republic of Ireland 0-0 Wales

Neil Taylor was sent off in the 69th minute for Wales, whose World Cup hopes are in trouble.

Seamus Coleman was stretchered off after the tackle, with a scary-looking injury that will leave Everton fans sick in more ways than one. Coleman’s leg was broken, and left dangling by the challenge.

Ireland couldn’t take advantage of the sending off, and failed in a bid to overtake Serbia for first in Group D. The Irish trail on goal differential, and will host Serbia on Sept. 5.

But Wales will rue the result more, remaining four points back of second-place Ireland. Chris Coleman’s side drops a point behind Austria as well, and will not have Taylor or Gareth Bale (card accumulation) in its next match. That comes against leaders Serbia.

Italy 2-0 Albania

Daniele De Rossi scored a 12th minute penalty kick won by Andrea Belotti, and Ciro Immobile scored late to provided the goals in Gianluigi Buffon’s 1000th appearance for club and country. Fittingly, it ended in a clean sheet. The match was briefly delayed after flares were thrown onto the field.

Spain 4-1 Israel

David Silva, Vitolo, and Diego Costa stakes the Spaniards to a three-goal lead, with Lior Refaelov ruining David De Gea‘s clean sheet with 11 minutes to play. Isco scored the match’s final goal.

Spain remains atop Group G on goal differential, eight better than second place Italy. Israel is four points behind both.

Croatia 1-0 Ukraine

Fiorentina’s Nikola Kalinic’s 38th minute goal was enough for the hosts, and Croatia is now five points clear at the top midway through qualifying.

Elsewhere
Austria 2-0 Moldova — RB Leipzig’s Sabitzer nabs winner
Liechtenstein 0-3 Macedonia — Ilija Nestorovski bags brace
Kosovo 1-2 Iceland — Sigurdsson PK the match winner
Georgia 1-3 Serbia — Mitrovic, Tadic lead the way
Turkey 2-0 Finland — Brace for Cenk Tosun

Boro’s Gibson called to England after injury to Man Utd’s Smalling

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Scoring goals has been the biggest problem for Middlesbrough in its return to the Premier League, and that overshadows how well the Northeast club has defended its own goal.

Ben Gibson has been a huge part of that, and now he’ll earn the chance to represent his nation thanks to an injury to Chris Smalling. Gibson will join England ahead of Sunday’s home World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.

[ MORE: Podolski leads Germany past England ]

Gibson has far and away been Boro’s best player, leading the side in blocked shots and clearances. The blocked shots total is tied for ninth in the Premier League, 11 behind current leader and new England teammate Michael Keane.

Smalling’s undisclosed injury is a bigger problem for Manchester United, which had already lost center back depth on England duty when Phil Jones was hurt.

Dele Alli to miss next three European matches, UCL or UEL

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Tottenham Hotspur is primed to qualify for a second-straight UEFA Champions League campaign this year, and will have to start that sophomore run without Dele Alli.

The 20-year-old playmaker has banned for his next three matches. If Spurs finish fourth, that would mean both qualifying matches and an additional match.

[ MORE: Five questions for USMNT ]

If they finish higher, Dele will miss the first three group stage matches.

Dele was shown red for a tackle on Brecht Dejaegere in Spurs’ 2-2 draw with Gent in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32, as Tottenham left the tournament.

Men in Blazers podcast: Man City-Liverpool review, USMNT preview

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Rog and Davo recap the Top Four battle between Manchester City and Liverpool, ask (again) whether it’s time for Arsene to go, and break down two of the most important USMNT games in modern history.

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