No Ruiz, Valdes in San Jose

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

5:45pm UPDATE: The Union say that Carlos Ruiz has been given some rest and that Carlos Valdes is sick, nothing else.

Friday was a day of big news on Twitter.

First came this tweet from Kerith Gabriel, Union beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News: “Just learned Ruiz didn’t make the flight to Cali. Paunovic either but he was listed as doubtful anyway.”

Next, questions about the Union backline, already rampant following the trade of Jordan Harvey on Thursday, only became more rife when the club tweeted, “Defender @carlosvaldes5 will miss tomorrow night’s match vs. @SJEarthquakes with an illness. @vpaunovic listed as doubtful w/ a hip strain.

Valdes tweeted soon after, “i am sorry not to be with my teammates for the next game and this is frustrating, but i hope to feel better in a couple of days.”

Why isn’t Ruiz in San Jose?

Rumors that Ruiz is about to leave the Union for a team in Mexico have been circulating for several weeks. His absence from the team in San Jose, particularly without any information from the club to suggest he suffered an injury in practice or has fallen ill, will only further those rumors.

Turning to the immediate issue of who the Union will play at forward against San Jose, this much is known. The Game Notes for tonight’s match (available for download here) lists a probable lineup of Danny Mwanga and Sebastien Le Toux up top. In the midfield, Justin Mapp, Brian Carroll, Kyle Nakazawa and Keon Daniel are listed.

Who will play left back?

After the Jordan Harvey trade on Thursday, the conversation in the Union fan community immediately turned to the short term question of who would now play at left back against San Jose. Speculation uniformly focused on three possibilities: one of the Farfan brothers or, perhaps, Keon Daniel.

While acknowledging that he had no idea who the Union would select to replace him, Harvey himself seemed to agree with these possibilities when he spoke to the PSP on Saturday. “But in terms of bringing in someone new, I don’t know anything.” Harvey told the PSP’s Adam Cann. “They played both Farfans in back and Keon played there for a half recently, but you’re right. There is no one else who really plays the position. I’m not sure what they have planned.”

This much is known: the probable lineup listed in the Game Notes for tonight’s match lists Gabriel Farfan at left back.

If not Valdes in the middle, then who?

The Game Notes, written before the announcement that Valdes would be unable to play in San Jose, list him in the probable lineup.

When it comes to someone filling in for Carlos Valdes, several possible replacements immediately spring to mind.

When Danny Califf was unable to play against Portland because of illness—a match that Harvey also missed due to suspension following his red card against San Jose in the previous game— Sheanon Williams moved into the middle. He had experience playing the position in college and also under Union assistant coach John Hackworth when he coached Williams in the US U-17 squad.

Another obvious possibility is that Juan Diego Gonzalez will be tapped to get his first minutes of the 2011 season.

From there, as PSP contributor Tim Ulrich noted in a comment below, Amobi Okugo and Ryan Richter also have experience as centerbacks. Stefani Miglioranzi was listed as probable in that position against Portland but ultimately did not play after picking up an injury.


  1. Miglioranzi was listed as a CB at the Portland game prior to kickoff but ultimately did not play there due to a tweak before kickoff. Okguo played CB for part of the GA tour during last offseason and moonlighted there with the U-20 team. Richter also has experience at CB in college. Will be interesting to see who starts and if there are any backline substitutions.

  2. well at least its only San Jose…right?

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