The Philadelphia Union confirmed the signing of Guatemalan striker Carlos "El Pescadito" Ruiz on Tuesday. He joins the team after negotiating an early termination of his contract with Greek Superleague team Aris Salonika.
Ruiz joins a growing group of forwards under contract with the Union, which includes Danny Mwanga, Jack McInerney, and Chris Agorsor. Sebastien Le Toux can also play as a striker, and Supplemental Draft pick Ryan Richter is another option up top if he earns a contract with the team.
El Pescadito joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2002 and was an immediate sensation, winning the Golden Boot and the MVP award in his first season in MLS. During this stellar season he also helped the Galaxy to an MLS Cup title, and he was a teammate of current Union captain Danny Califf. Ruiz then tied Taylor Twellman for the Golden Boot again the next year. More info on Ruiz after the jump.
After his days with the Galaxy, Ruiz also spent time with FC Dallas and Toronto FC before moving to Olimpia in Paraguay. He also spent time with Mexican Primera Division side Puebla before joining Aris in Greece.
Ruiz is the all time leading scorer for his native Guatemalan national team, with 41 goals and 86 caps. He played for his country at the recent 2011 Copa Centroamericana, which led to Guatemala qualifying for the 2011 Gold Cup, which Ruiz is expected to participate in. El Pescadito does, however, possess a U.S. Permanent Residence Card or "green card" and therefore will not occupy an international slot on the Union's roster.
He has reportedly already been training with the Union, and will be a part of their training camp in Greece as the club gears up for their season opener on March 19 in Houston.