[UPDATE: The Union have officially signed Carlos Ruiz.]
Philly.com's Jonathan Tannenwald reports that the Union have a deal in place with forward Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz, who comes equipped with his own non-Chooch nickname (El Pescadito - "Little Fish") is an MLS veteran. He's had two stints with the LA Galaxy, scored 31 goals in 68 games with FC Dallas, and had a five game cup of coffee with Toronto.
He most recently played with Aris in Greece, where Americans Freddy Adu and Eddie Johnson played before also moving on. Whereas the Phillies' Chooch hails from Panama, El Pescadito is from Guatemala, where he's the national team's all-time leading scorer.
Assuming the deal closes, what can you expect from the Union's newest signing (aside from well placed elbows to the face)?
Well, if past performance is any indication you can expect lots of clutching, grabbing, faking of injury, and exaggerating. Assuming he's in form you can also expect a fair amount of goal scoring. Ruiz knows how to find the back of the net, scoring 82 times in MLS play.
Ruiz is the kind of player you hate when he's on the opposing team, but love when he's on your team. He's only 5'9" and literally has to scratch and claw for any and all space on the field. He's short and squat, kind of like Chooch, but he's way more demonstrative and wears a perpetual scowl on his face.
I am not 100% sure how or why he earned the nickname El Pescadito, but I can only assume it has to do with his flopping. I know it sounds like I am killing the guy, but he's always been very difficult to watch. I suppose a nice way to put it would be to say that he's crafty. Sure, "crafty" could easily be confused with cheap, but perception depends on which side of the fence you're on.
Another thing I'll say about Ruiz is that he is completely unafraid to mix it up. I can absolutely see Peter Nowak loving him and his willingness to do anything and everything to win or gain an advantage.
In soccer there are a number of players who are skilled in what is often referred to as "the dark arts" (think Mark van Bommel, Nigel De Jong, and Gennaro Gattuso). It's not often that a forward or striker is thought of in those terms, but Ruiz comes about as close as any I've ever seen.
If nothing else, the Union have certainly addressed a major area of need. Their only returning reliable goal scoring threats are Sebastien Le Toux and Danny Mwanga. A player with the goal scoring pedigree of Ruiz should certainly help the Union finish in the final third.
Bottom line, if he's fit the Union will likely see both their goal scoring and yellow card totals go up.