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Ruiz Dreams of Taking MLS Title at Home

FC Dallas forward Carlos Ruiz, winner of Major League Soccer's Most Valuable Player award in 2002 when he won the title with the Los Angeles Galaxy, lifted the Hoops to victory with a first-half goal against the Colorado Rapids in the first-leg of the Eastern Conference semifinal. The New York Times spoke with the talented forward, who on Saturday scored his 14th goal postseason goal to tie him with Landon Donovan for the most playoff goals in league history, a title he could claim all to his own by the time the playoffs are over. "We are very motivated because if we win on Saturday, we will have another home game, and if we win that one, we will be home for the championship," Ruiz said, alluding to the fact that this year's MLS Championship is to be played at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. If Dallas were to prevail in its next three games, the Hoops would become the first team since D.C. United to play for the title at home. Many questioned Ruiz's commitment to Dallas after the forward was traded from L.A. last year. Ruiz says he was preoccupied with trying to help Guatemala qualify for the World Cup. "Last year was very stressful, too many trips, too many hotels," said Ruiz, who missed seven league games in '05 due to World Cup qualifying. "After not making the World Cup, I was very disappointed. I didn't want to play soccer. This year my focus has only been on Dallas, on this team."

Read the whole story at The New York Times »

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