After Carlos Ruiz scored in the 84th minute to give the Union a 2-2 tie July 2 against host D.C. United, team manager Peter Nowak wanted to get back at critics of the striker.

"This is why we got Carlos Ruiz, to score goals like that," Nowak said.

We hope everybody enjoyed Ruiz while he lasted.

Nowak announced after last Friday's 2-1 loss to Colorado that Ruiz, who didn't play that evening, was leaving the team. Ruiz departed without comment.

A source says that Ruiz will be sold to a Mexican team (for a large fee) and that the Union plan to purchase a young international striker before the Aug. 14 transfer deadline. That is the deadline when Major League Soccer teams request the transfer certificate of a player under contract in another country.

The Union will make another move with one of their own players, according to the source.

No matter whom the Union bring in, they will be better off without Ruiz, despite his team-high six goals in 14 games.

When he was on, Ruiz, whose salary was $306,670, was something to watch. He scored one of the most spectacular goals in the short history of the Union in a 2-1 win over Chicago, with that long blast that made its way onto ESPN's SportsCenter.

It's interesting that Ruiz didn't always score points with the fans, who questioned in various posts online whether he hustled enough. Nowak also said he was bothered when he heard criticism from fans about Ruiz's supposed lack of hustle.

Those suggestions always made Nowak bristle. Nowak pointed out that Ruiz was a scorer and people who accused him of loafing didn't know what he brought to the team.

One question: Shouldn't Nowak be ignoring what is written about his player in the papers and in the blogosphere or what he hears from the crowd?

Ruiz insisted he never paid attention to critics, and it might be a good suggestion for the team manager to follow.

We also wouldn't say that Ruiz loafed as much as he just didn't move very well. When the ball was at his feet, he was dynamic. When he had to run 10 to 15 yards to retrieve a pass, it was a different story.

The Union have become a young team with ample energy, and Ruiz, who will turn 32 in September, often slowed things down. And of course, there were countless times when he was beaten easily to the ball by opposing defenders.

Yes, Ruiz could make that one spectacular play, and he had three game-winning goals, but he was often taken out of contests for long stretches at a time.

Also, his assists total showed that when he got the ball, there was little interest in giving it up.

That assist total?


Most of all, Ruiz's departure should give a younger player such as Danny Mwanga more time, although in Wednesday's 1-1 draw against Chicago, Mwanga didn't enter the game until the 61st minute.

The one criticism of the coaching staff from this standpoint is that Mwanga should be on the field more, but we've been a broken record with that song.

The Union should use Sebastien Le Toux as the target player and Mwanga as his running mate, although if an international striker comes in, there will be a question as to whether Mwanga, Le Toux, and that player can coexist. That same question was asked about Le Toux, Mwanga, and Ruiz. So there will still be things to work out.

No question, Ruiz had talent, but in the long term, his departure will make the Union a younger team, one ready to move forward at a much faster pace.