Whether or not Copa America 2021 moves forward, Raúl Ruidíaz won’t be taking part.
The Seattle Sounders forward was dropped from the squad Thursday morning ahead of the start of the tournament, the Peruvian Football Federation announced. Peru is set to begin their Copa América campaign against Brazil on June 17.
Ruidíaz’s exclusion is a massive benefit to the Sounders, as the group stage of the tournament is not set to end until June 27, which would have caused him to miss at least three matches (LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps). If Peru had advanced to the knockout round, Ruidiaz would likely have missed matches against the Colorado Rapids on July 4 and Houston Dynamo on July 7.
For all his prolific scoring in Liga MX and MLS, Ruidíaz has never been able to translate that performance to the national team. Ruidíaz has only scored 4 goals in 47 caps with Peru, and hadn’t scored since 2018. During his most recent call-up, He had only one 30-minute appearance in Peru’s two World Cup qualifiers last week. Peru sits at the bottom of COMEBOL qualifying with a 1-4-1 record and a -8 goal differential.
Whether it was that lack of production or simply a desire by Peruvian coach Ricardo Gareca to see some other options, the Sounders will now have the second-leading scorer in MLS available for the entire summer.
As of now, the only healthy player the Sounders will be missing when they resume play is Xavier Arreaga. It remains possible that they’ll lose Cristian Roldan for the Concacaf Gold Cup that runs July 10-Aug. 1.