Emilio or Ruiz? Who Philadelphia should choose
Philadelphia Union manager Peter Nowak has brought in a whole
host of recruits since taking control of the team last May. From those brought
in through the expansion draft to the signing of captain Danny Califf, Michael
Orozco and Roger Torres, Nowak has become a bit of a wheeler-dealer.
It appears he might spin the wheel and deal the cards again
Former MLS marksmen Luciano Emilio and Carlos Ruiz have had
their names linked to the Union of late, and there is a very real chance that
either of the names could end up plying their trade in the City of Brotherly
Love this season.
The question is: Who’d be better for the Union?
Let’s break it down.
First of all, both are on the wrong side of 30. Emilio, 31,
spent three seasons with D.C. United before signing with Rio Branco earlier
this season. A shade younger at 30, Ruiz was once one of the most prolific
scorers in MLS, notching 88 goals over seven seasons with LA and Dallas.
The two have differing playing styles, though. Ruiz is more of
a prototypical striker, trawling for goals any way he can. Emilio, who won the
Golden Boot and MVP in 2007, is more of a targetman.
As prolific as they both were, they also had their off years. Ruiz
managed only one goal in his last year in the league (2008). Emilio fared
better statistically, but certainly experienced a dip in form after the magical
So there is no guarantee either one would work out. But Emilio
seems a better choice. He’s stronger on the ball and his reputation at this
point is less sullied than that of the ornery Ruiz. The Union’s young squad needs
someone who can distribute as well as score. Emilio can do that. He and
Alejandro Moreno would make a powerful, ball-controlling front pairing.
Signing Emilio would add yet another D.C. United link to the
Union, something that the fans may start to resent if they begin to believe
Nowak is building his new team in the image of his old one. But honestly, that
shouldn’t be an issue. After all, Nowak’s old one won the MLS Cup.