Guatemala's Carlos Ruiz has six career Central American Cup goals. (Photo: Mexsport)
DALLAS, Texas – In his first major tournament as Guatemala’s head coach, Ivan Sopegno is delighted that he can rely on Carlos Ruiz. The veteran striker scored the first goal in the Chapines’ 2-1 victory over Belize in the Central American Cup (CCA) on Sunday.
After amassing 105 caps and a team-record 55 goals, Ruiz retired from the national side on October 16, 2012. One month ago, though, the Municipal star revealed his decision to return following a meeting with Sopegno and members of his staff.
Since the start of the new club season, the 34-year-old has been in a rich vein of form, scoring seven goals – four in the Guatemalan Apertura and three in the CONCACAF Champions League.
“He is such an important player,” said Sopegno, who was named to the post in May on the heels of historic success with Comunicaciones. “He has a lot of experience. He’s running and he’s giving the necessary strength and experience to all of us. You need that type of confidence that he brings to matches. That type of experience is valuable.”
Through two CCA matches, Guatemala is a perfect 2-0-0 and can advance to the final with a draw against Honduras in the last Group A game on Wednesday in Houston.
Needless to say, Sopegno is pleased with the way his team played, especially in the win against Belize.
“They put together a great game, playing against these national teams is not easy,” the Argentine finished. “I saw it as a positive performance for the team. They generated scoring chances and we were more solid.”
Under Sopegno’s leadership, Guatemala has won four straight games, including friendlies against Nicaragua and Cuba.