Some may recall the debate over whether or not to trade Carlos Ruiz back in the winter. Well, it looks like that discussion has new life yet again.
I’ve been going over this one for a matter of a few weeks now. I look at the LA Galaxy and see one of the best offensive powers in Major League Soccer history. Yes, believe it or not that offense is that good. We knew it would be at the start of the year when LA traded up with FC Dallas for the rights to Guatemalan striker Carlos Ruiz.
We all thought, “damn, with three designated players (Ruiz, Landon Donovan, and David Beckham) this club will probably be able to score three or four goals a game.” Little did we know that in week one Ruiz would go down with an injury and the Galaxy would be blanked by the Colorado Rapids 4-0.
Things quickly turned around for this club as they went from a practical joke to a legit contender in a matter of a few weeks. Their legitimacy probably started in Frisco, TX, with a meeting with Ruiz’s old mates FC Dallas. Ruiz didn’t see the field in the 5-1 beating but something else happened with this Galaxy squad. Another striker emerged from seemingly nowhere to score a hat trick.
Yup, Edson Buddle, we all remember Buddle from his days in Columbus and then New York. The kid could score and score in bunches. He never had too many great seasons with the Crew or MetroBulls but he was easy trade bait and later bounced around for a little while until he ended up with the Galaxy last year.
No one would have thought Buddle would be that scorer for the Galaxy after Donovan or Ruiz this season. We all expected this club to struggle without Donovan and Ruiz in the line up for National team games and what’s happened is they haven’t thanks to Buddle.
So this got me all thinking. We thought Ruiz would provide that stablity of some sorts with Donovan this year, while Buddle has proved to be that guy.
Donovan leads the league with 11 goals, and Buddle isn’t too far behind with nine of his own. Yeah, most didn’t figure Buddle in the scoring mix this year for LA.Hell some had Alan Gordon in that role while Donovan or Ruiz were to be gone with national team call-ups.
So with the iron hot on those two, plus a couple other young role players, what does that leave for Ruiz? No one really knows how well he will pair up with Buddle or Donovan. And would head coach Ruud Gullit really leave a hot Buddle on the bench in favor of a higher profile striker like Ruiz? I doubt it really.
So there brings us to the discussion. Should LA trade Carlos Ruiz this summer? I think the obvious answer after this past weekend’s 3-3 draw with Columbus is a resounding yes from a need of defense standpoint. Clearly this isn’t a defense that will win a MLS Cup this season. The offense surely will get them there but their defense against a club like a New England, or even a Columbus has shown us they can’t get the job done, even at home.
Ruiz has turned into one of the most valuable assets that the Galaxy have right now. Clubs know he can still score (hell he is scoring left and right for his National team right now!). The main thing is though, where could he possibly go if the Galaxy were to actually trade him for some help in defense?
It would be tough with his high salary, and probably his desire to not go to most MLS cities. He probably knows he is one of the most “hated” strikers in the league. No one wants to go to a city where you are totally hated. Though, I always feel that no matter how much you hate a player on your team, if the club is winning and he is scoring goals, the hate slowly fades away.
Plus there is the factor that Ruiz loves the Galaxy and loves playing for them. After seeing him in Dallas for a few years it was pretty obvious he didn’t always enjoy playing in Dallas. My bet it would be like that anywhere else.
We all know of about six or seven clubs that would love Ruiz right now. Even with the international call-ups this summer, those clubs would be happen to have his scoring until then and even after. It just comes down to dollars and cents right now for those clubs to try and make a move. We also know that LA wants to probably sign a player or two this summer so unloading a big contract would easily provide them the space to do so.
So my question still remains, should the Galaxy trade him? If so where and for what?