Monday, May 23, 2011
Posted: 6 p.m.
By Ryan Bright
The Union made their only contribution to the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament on Monday, in an announcement that striker and leading goal scorer Carlos Ruiz was called up by the Guatemalan National Team.
The good news for Ruiz, the countrys all-time leading scorer with 42 goals in 87 caps, is bad news for the Union. The tournament, hosted by the United States, runs from June 5-25, meaning the 31-year old could potentially miss five MLS games, as he will depart from club duty after the Unions May 28 road game against Toronto FC.
The Union, who presently sit alone atop the Eastern Conference standings, face Real Salt Lake, Vancouver, Kansas City and Chivas USA during that time.
It means a lot to me to come back to the national team after two years and play such an important tournament like Gold Cup, said Ruiz in the official release. We have a very good team with young talent and some international players such as Guillermo Ramirez, Marco Pablo Pappa and me. We will have the big responsibility to set up a good example for the youngsters on and off the pitch, and Im confident we will make a difference in this tournament and in the future World Cup Qualifier.
Picking up the slack for Ruiz, who leads the Union with three goals, will have to be second-year forward Danny Mwanga and 2010 leading scorer Sebastien Le Toux, who each have just one goal on the season. Primary bench players Roger Torres and Jack McInerney will also likely field a heavier work load.
However, the Union will not be the only MLS team losing a key cog, as the US National Team will post seven MLS players -- Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew) and Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution).
The Gold Cup, last won by Mexico, is made up of national teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The tournament is considered by many as an important stepping stone in qualifying for the World Cup, as it gives teams a chance to find out where they stand against CONCACAF competition.
Guatamala will open their tournament on June 6 in Los Angeles against Honduras, while the United States opens against Canada on June 7 in Detroit.
E-mail Ryan Bright at email@example.com