Union striker Carlos Ruiz, fresh off his wonder goal on Saturday night, has been called upon once again to represent his country. He will lead the Guatemalan forward line at the 2011 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. With 42 goals in 87 international appearances, "El Pescadito" is his country's all-time leading scorer.
Ruiz will be joined by his fellow Guatemalan Marco Pappa of the Chicago Fire, who featured in the Union's 2-1 win on Saturday. The MLS pair are two of only three players on the Guatemalan squad list that play in foreign leagues, with the only other player coming from the Honduran league.
The group stage for Guatemala runs from June 6-13. Ruiz will take on Honduras, Jamaica, and Grenada in Group B. If Guatemala manage to advance to the knockout stage by finishing in second place or being one of the top two third-placed teams out of the three groups, then Ruiz could be away from the Union until the 25th. After the break, more on how this impacts the Union.
Ruiz is certain to miss the team's home game on June 11 against Real Salt Lake, and will probably miss the Union's trip to Colorado on June 4. It is unknown at this point if Ruiz will be available for this Saturday's away match against Toronto. Ruiz could miss up to three additional games based on how far Guatemala progresses: June 18 away to Vancouver, June 22 at PPL Park against Kansas City, and June 25 at PPL Park against Chivas USA.
[EDIT: The team has confirmed on its website that Ruiz will be available for Saturday's match against Toronto and will then join up with the Guatemalan camp.]
Ruiz is the only Union player that will take part in the 2011 Gold Cup. Keon Daniel would have been a solid bet to participate as well, but his native Trinidad & Tobago failed to qualify. It remains to be seen if Colombians like Carlos Valdes or Faryd Mondragon earn call-ups to the 2011 Copa America, which takes place in July.