Over/under on Carlos Ruiz time at D.C. United? Let’s go with “six months”

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Yes, Carlos Ruiz will continue to be a little bundle of frustration for opposition defenses; truly, he is one of the most confounding men ever to wear an MLS kit.

And, yes, Ruiz’s historic striking proficiency is impressive. His raw numbers speak volumes, as Ruiz owns one of the best goals-to-games ratio Major League Soccer has yet seen.

But I’m calling it right here: the hook-up with D.C. United will not work.

United signed the Guatemalan striker Wednesday, turning over the hour glass on a fifth MLS team for Ruiz.

First, Ruiz is 33. And it’s a hard 33. He was never a player ultimately interested in fitness and taking care of himself as a professional should. He’s the anti-Dwayne De Rosario that way. “De Ro” has always gone to great lengths to professionally look after his body.

Second, United manager Ben Olsen isn’t going to put up with Ruiz’s shenanigans. He won’t if he’s smart, at least. First time Ruiz turns up AWOL – it happened a lot in his days in Dallas – Olsen should personally clean out the man’s locker, leave the contents in a box and set it outside RFK Stadium for collection whenever Ruiz gets back into the city.

Nor will Olsen put up with Ruiz’s lack of attention to defensive detail and duty. He can’t just drag himself around the field awaiting his next chance to post up as a target. Especially not when fellow United striker Lionard Pajoy is around, a guy who doesn’t have Ruiz’s finishing skill or instincts but who is definitely willing to put in the work.

Ruiz is done with the Guatemalan national team, so that potential distraction is no longer in play. (Ruiz’s previous episodes of going AWOL were frequently attached to trips back home, when his return was mysteriously delayed on several occasions.)

And since he is 33, and since this is his eighth club since 2007 – indicating that Ruiz wears out his welcome quite quickly – perhaps the combative striker will get it. Perhaps he’ll get in line, recognizing that his window of collecting a paycheck in pro soccer is closing.

I rather doubt it, and history is on my side here.

Good luck to him. Despite it all, Ruiz has always been a likeable sort.

Still, I put the over/under on his RFK stay at six months. Which side are you taking?

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
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Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.

Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:

“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.

“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”

Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.

Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

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Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?

Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.

[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]

The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.

The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.

Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.

He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.

Toronto locks down USMNT backstop Bono with extension

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Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.

Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:

“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”

The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

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France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.

That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.

Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE