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Ruiz Uses His Head as Galaxy Earns 1-1 Tie

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

It was someone else’s turn but no one else turned up, so Carlos Ruiz had to rescue the Galaxy yet again.

The 22-year-old youngster from Guatemala City scored his fifth goal in three Major League Soccer games Saturday night as Los Angeles rallied to tie the Dallas Burn, 1-1 after overtime, in front of 14,127 at the Rose Bowl.

The city is slowly waking up to its newest star. When Ruiz rose above a crowd of Dallas defenders to head the ball in off the underside of the crossbar in the 84th minute, there were suddenly plenty of blue and white Guatemalan flags waving in the stands.

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The Galaxy, one of only two unbeaten teams in MLS, has scored five goals this season and Ruiz has every one of them.

“I’m happy that we got a goal at the end,” Galaxy Coach Sigi Schmid said. “I’m happy that Carlos scored again.

“I wish somebody else would score once in a while, too, but I’m happy that we finally have a goal scorer in L.A.”

Cobi Jones and Simon Elliott helped create the goal, but Ruiz gets all the credit for the finish.

Jones was in a race down the left sideline with the Burn’s Ryan Suarez when Suarez tumbled to the turf. Referee Alex Prus gave him a yellow card for diving and awarded the Galaxy a free kick.

Elliott crossed the ball into a crowded penalty area and Ruiz, who at 5-foot-9 is several inches shorter than three of Dallas’ four defenders, leaped to head the ball off the bar and down behind goalkeeper Matt Jordan.

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“He gets up very well,” Schmid said. “He’s a very dynamic player. He’s got good speed. He’s very explosive. He can get up in the air and he’s certainly not afraid to battle in there.”

Mike Jeffries, the Burn coach, saw other qualities that make Ruiz an offensive threat.

“It’s several things,” Jeffries said. “He’s fairly active. He’s very strong. He does a very good job using his body and holding off defenders and putting himself in good spots.”

The Galaxy was in a tight spot itself before Ruiz rescued it. It had yielded a goal in the 57th minute and was only six minutes from its first defeat.

Dallas took the lead when Galaxy defender Danny Califf upended Bobby Rhine just outside the L.A. penalty area and Prus awarded the Burn a free kick.

The Galaxy set up a defensive wall, but Jason Kreis blasted a shot over the wall and into the upper left corner of the net off the fingertips of goalkeeper Matt Reis.

That appeared to be all Dallas would need, until Ruiz stepped in.

“To be ahead, 1-0, in the 84th minute, it would have been nice to walk away with all three points,” Jeffries said. “So it’s a little bit disappointing on that end. But I think a point [each for the tie] is a pretty fair result.”

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Meanwhile, by scoring five goals in three consecutive games, Ruiz has tied an MLS record held by seven other players. There is a danger in his early success, however.

If he keeps on scoring, it won’t be long before wealthier, more prominent teams start to take notice, and that’s the last thing the Galaxy needs.

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In other games Saturday:

Kansas City 2, San Jose 0--Midfielder Chris Klein scored one goal off a pass from Preki and set up another for C.J. Brown as the Wizards (1-0-1) upset the defending champion Earthquakes in front of 10,636 at Kansas City.

San Jose (2-2-0) played a man down for almost an hour after Danish midfielder Ronnie Ekelund was red-carded for dangerous play by referee Kevin Stott after a reckless challenge on Kansas City’s Diego Gutierrez in the 33rd minute.

New York/New Jersey 2, Colorado 1--The Rapids’ unbeaten streak was brought to an end by the MetroStars (3-1-0) in front of 12,411 at Denver.

Goals by Brian Kamler in the 17th minute and Brad Davis in the 78th kept the MetroStars in control throughout. John Spencer scored three minutes from the end for Colorado (2-1-1).

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