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Carlos Ruiz ends New York Red Bulls' Supporters' Shield hopes

Isn't he retired? He's supposed to be retired.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The days of Carlos Ruiz troubling the New York Red Bulls were supposed to be over along time ago. He quit being relevant in MLS around 2007, though he was in the league as recently as 2013. Then El Pescadito went home to Guatemala and scored a bunch of goals for Municipal, the club where he started as a pro. A fitting end to the career of a Guatemalan legend, it seemed.

And Ruiz's career is coming to an end. He recently turned 37, and retired from international soccer as the top goal scorer in World Cup qualification history.

But Ruiz is not retiring just yet. He jumped back into MLS with FC Dallas in mid-September. Because of course FC Dallas. The club that plays the best soccer in MLS to the smallest home crowds. The club praised for its academy that won't invest in a professional reserve team. Of course that club, regularly praised for its youth development, would sign a 37-year-old deemed past it in MLS three years ago.

But Carlos Ruiz is not past it. Carlos Ruiz scored a goal in his first MLS appearance for FCD since returning to the league (and the club - he's played for Dallas before).

And that goal ended Seattle's hope of maybe snatching a late winner. And with that hope went RBNY's slender mathematical chance of winning the 2016 Supporters' Shield. FCD beat the Sounders, 2-1, and the Red Bulls were relieved of having to pretend they hadn't noticed the Shield wasn't entirely out of reach. It is out of RBNY's reach now. FCD has 59 points, and the best the Red Bulls can do this season is 57.

The Shield is officially a two-horse race now. Dallas is the favorite once again, having taken a two-point lead over Colorado with one round of matches left. FCD has the tiebreaker advantage, so it can only lose the Shield if it loses to LA Galaxy on October 23 and Colorado beats Houston.

LA Galaxy is finishing third in the Western Conference whether it beats Dallas or not, so it is quite likely many of LA's bigger names will be rested for the game. And it also now seems likely Carlos Ruiz will have a say in the matter.

The Red Bulls had such a bad start to the season that they were never really in this year's Shield race. Yet, somehow, they weren't eliminated from it until the penultimate week of the season. And they were eliminated by a goal scored by a guy whose heyday in MLS was back when RBNY was still the MetroStars.

It has been an unusual year for the Red Bulls.