Ruiz, the Shooter

For such a high-priced signing, a lot of us didn’t know a whole lot about Bryan Ruiz. Unfortunately, I haven’t found many good information sources for the Dutch Eredivisie, but Ruiz does have a handful of Champions League and international appearances that I can pull shooting data from. A few things I was able to find:

  • Has a 60-40 preference toward his left foot, but seems competent with both. He’ll mix a few headed shots in, mostly off of set pieces and crosses.
  • Didn’t seem to create a lot of shots on crosses from out wide, but can create from central positions. That could show his versatility – he’s not necessarily just a winger.
  • Generally hasn’t been used as a set piece taker. When he misses, he’s more likely to miss left or right than over the bar, so he may not have the excessive power that many teams want on free kicks. Relies more on accuracy.

Most interstingly, he really likes to shoot from long range, and he’s really great at it. Out of the 18 games I looked at, he only had one shot blocked. That’s excellent – only about 5% vs a Premier League average rate around 25%. He put 38% on target, which is slightly below average overall, but a very good rate for long-range shooters. If you take away set piece situations (where he seems to be a bit less effective), he’s up to 50% on target despite taking very difficult shots. Fantastic.

There’s been discussion of whether or not we could use him as a striker. It’s a small sample, but these numbers suggest that he’ll be extremely effective from typical midfield positions, and we should try to take advantage of that.

7 thoughts on “Ruiz, the Shooter

  1. What struck me about Ruiz was the thought of how well he might play with Zamora as a target man. In the youtubes I’ve seen, Ruiz seems to get a lot a balls by charging towards the goal and either shooting long balls or dribbling around the on-coming defender and creating havoc. Ruiz and Zamora would be natural teammates. Let Danny send the ball to Bobby Z, who takes it with his back to the goal, and in turn feeds it to Ruiz.

    I could foresee Jol building a team around Bobby’s skill as the feeder: finding a speedy striker, another incoming midfielder, or pivot and shot.

    BTW-The vast majority of Orlando Sa’s highlights show him scoring with head balls. They all look impressive, too. Perhaps this is his speciality at 6’2″?

    1. I had similar thoughts – he seems to be a relatively direct player who likes to get forward. If he plays on the left, with Dempsey and either Dembele and Duff in the other two att mid positions, he can ghost into the area and worry about getting onto the end of things. It would almost be a slanted diamond 4-4-2.

      Dempsey and Dembele/Duff like coming deep to get the ball, so Ruiz might be the ‘outlet’ we have been looking for for several seasons.

      1. That’s what I’m hoping. It’s something we didn’t have a whole lot last season – Zamora was our leader with ~21% blocked, with Davies and Dempsey close behind. Dembele, Duff and Murphy were up around 40%.

        It’s always going to be helpful to have somebody who can make something out of nothing. Even if they don’t play the same position, we appear to have another option now besides Zamora.

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