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Former Galaxy star Carlos "El Pescadito" Ruiz returns to Major League Soccer

February 22, 2011 |  8:14 pm

Nine years ago, he was the brightest star in Major League Soccer.

Nine years later, he's back.

We are talking about Guatemala's Carlos "El Pescadito" Ruiz, the striker who lit up MLS with 24 goals in 2002, when he led the Galaxy to the league championship while at the same time picking up individual honors as the league's most valuable player and the golden boot as top scorer.

Ruiz has not reached similar heights since then, but the goals have not stopped flowing, which is one reason why the Philadelphia Union on Tuesday signed the 31-year-old player affectionately known as "the little fish."

Ruiz is Guatemala's leading goal scorer, with a record 41 goals in 86 games for the national team since making his debut in 1998. In MLS, he has racked up 82 goals in regular-season play and a record 16 in the playoffs during spells with the Galaxy, FC Dallas and Toronto FC.

Since leaving the league in 2009, he has continued finding the back of the net while playing for Olimpia in Paraguay, Puebla in Mexico and, most recently, for Aris in Greece.

Ruiz will be back in Los Angeles on April 2 when the Union plays the Galaxy at the Home Depot Center.

--Grahame L. Jones