July 13, 2012
Toronto FC trades de Guzman
By KURTIS LARSON, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Toronto FC is a better club without Julian de Guzman.
“It’s just one of those things,” head coach Paul Mariner said of Friday’s blockbuster trade, a shock move that sent the club’s first Designated Player to FC Dallas in exchange for Andrew Wiedeman.
“You’ve got to do something for the club that makes the club better,” Mariner continued. “I feel the fans are questioning some of the things we’re doing, but this (trade) really helps us.”
That is, the cap space it opened. Mariner confirmed the club is in negotiations with multiple players and will use recently opened cap room to bring in as many as two defenders.
As Wiedeman, a 2010 draft pick out of the University of California, is a Generation Adidas prospect, the 22-year-old forward won’t count against Toronto’s cap. In addition to already dropping Junior Burgos, Nick Soolsma and Joao Plata’s 2012 contracts, moving de Guzman frees up a Designated Player spot and an additional $175,000 (half of a DP’s year-long hit) in cap room.
“We need to strengthen the defensive line and this gives us the ability to do that,” Mariner said of Toronto’s recent moves. “We have a few players lined up … but that’s as far as I can take it today.”
In June, Mariner told the Sun the Reds were interested in current U.S. and Canadian national team players after taking in June’s World Cup qualifiers and friendlies. When asked if either of the above mentioned players are current internationals, Mariner refused comment after saying the move “creates significant flexibility for (TFC).”
When given the chance to bury TFC’s former $2 million Designated Player, Mariner compared de Guzman’s international form to his MLS form, implying things became “difficult” for the Scarborough, Ont. native.
“I read what (reporters) say,” said Mariner, when asked to evaluate de Guzman’s time in Toronto. “I see (him) play very well in a 4-5-1 for Canada. I think he thrives in that sort of environment … Terry Dunfield has done amazingly well so it was difficult for him … I’m sure he wanted to do well, but as I said earlier, sometimes you have to do things that help the team.”
Which could mean a replacement Designated Player is on his way to BMO Field.
Mariner confirmed the club is in negotiations with a player that would potentially fill that role – and help a fledgling defence that continues to concede multiple goals each time out.
As a result of Dunfield’s recent resurgence, de Guzman became expendable, especially at his often dwelled upon price.
“We’ve got some cover in key spots and it’s just a football fact,” Mariner said. “Terry Dunfield and Torsten Frings have done everything to a tee.”
De Guzman trained in Dallas Friday morning and has joined his new teammates on a road swing that will include stops in Colorado and San Jose.
“Julian has had a very experienced career,” said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. “He also has a lot of experience playing with (Canada). He will give FC Dallas an additional veteran that can solidify our possession style of play. He also has a bit of toughness to him that will help us … control the central midfield.”
Something he struggled to do in his hometown.