FARMINGTON – There's no stopping Yosmar Ruiz up front.
The Farmington senior soccer plays is swift and deadly on the attack, whether in tight or wide-open spaces, and opponents are constantly on pins and needles facing the Scropions' top scoring threat.
It's reached the point where double-teaming Ruiz isn't enough. It now takes at least three or four defenders to shut him down.
"One on one, he's (almost) unstoppable," coach Byron Farnsworth said. "You have five guys on him in a little five-by-five square, good luck. Taking the ball off his foot, it's one of the hardest things you have to do with him."
Ruiz has scored 59 goals since his freshman year in 2014, including a whopping 32 goals as a junior in 2016.
"It's just (about) being smart and finding the spaces in the defense, then just getting a good ball from teammates," Ruiz said. "You just have to get yourself in the right position."
Ruiz said his ideal production in 2017 would be to score 36 to 38 goals.
Despite his prolific scoring numbers, Farnsworth said Ruiz controls the ball well and dictates what transpires on the rest of the pitch, as well.
Farmington's plan in 2017 is to have Ruiz keep wreaking havoc on offense, but also be more active as a distributor and get teammates involved. That's why he will go from being a striker to an attacking central midfielder, helping spread out the Scorpions' offense a bit more.
"I won't have two players on me. And knowing I can rely on other players to score, it'd really help," Ruiz said. "We have Joey Rodriguez, Eric Quintana. They've all really stepped up this year, especially in the goal-scoring department. It's a lot of weight off my shoulders right there."
Ruiz said taking opponents head on with teammates nearby also will help open more space for him. After all, if opponents have to deal with additional scorers, he can play even more freely.
"There's some times where he definitely feels like he needs to run the show, and he's got to trust the guys around him. Once other guys start scoring, it takes a lot of pressure off of him that he doesn't have to beat 10 guys to score a goal," Farnsworth said.
Because of the free-flowing, attacking system Farmington runs, Farnsworth said his squad tries to help set things up for Ruiz because of his strong dribbling and scoring abilities.
Farmington (11-9-1 last year, 9-0-1 in District 1-5A) opens the season at 4 p.m. Friday at Sandia Prep.
As 2017 progresses, Ruiz looks to be as well rounded as possible in making good decisions, from shooting to passing.
"If he continues to evolve in that realm, it's just going to get worse and worse for other teams that have to play against him," Farnsworth said.
And, of course, Ruiz feeds on opposing defenders worrying about how to stop him.
"That's what I'm going for, because I like it," Ruiz said, cracking a big smile.
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.