Guatemala’s all-time leading goal-scorer was expected to miss his nation’s two World Cup qualification matches against the U.S. Men’s National Team in March, but he will now be eligible to play after his six-month suspension was cut short on Monday.
Carlos Ruiz was originally suspended by the disciplinary body of Guatemala’s top league, Liga Nacional de Futbol de Guatemala, after he struck center official Ever Lopez during a league game in November. However, the National Football Federation of Guatemala (FedefutGuate) announced he was eligible to play domestically and for the national team as of Monday.
FedefutGuate deemed the six games Ruiz missed, one game from Guatemala’s Apertura 2015 season and the first five games from the current Clausura campaign, sufficient for the striker’s suspension.
In November, Ruiz was shown a yellow card in a scoreless tie, and then subsequently struck the referee. He was shown a red card, and charged the official before being restrained.
The U.S. Men’s National Team will travel to Guatemala on March 25 for its third game of the Fourth Round of CONCACAF qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The Americans will then host La Azul y Blanco on March 29 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
The U.S. is currently level with Trinidad & Tobago in Group C with four points, while Guatemala has three points and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has zero points through two games played.
Here is Ruiz’s reaction, which earned him his suspension, from November:
What do you think of Ruiz’s eligibility? Think he should be allowed to play for Guatemala?
Share your thoughts below.