Former TFC Designated Player Julian de Guzman said he’ll never forget his former head coach’s farewell.
“Paul Mariner (said) that he (wanted) to …. send me to a last-place team and let me burn in the heat,” de Guzman told a reporter for the league’s website after Dallas topped the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 Saturday night.
Full of confidence after pounding home the game-winner against the ’Caps, de Guzman continued, bringing the playoff picture into the conversation and claiming the last laugh.
“The karma of things,” de Guzman said. “Right now who’s the last place team in the league and who’s battling for the playoffs?”
The second time in as many months the Canadian international has lashed out at his former manager, Toronto FC declined comment Sunday, electing to take the high road against a disgruntled former player it attempted to offload on a number of occasions.
During last month’s international break, the Scarborough-born midfielder threw the first punch after being traded to Dallas for what was essentially a bag of balls, where he has helped the Hoops climb to within a point of the final Western Conference playoff spot.
“(TFC is) still missing a bit of planning and direction,” de Guzman told Red Nation, an online soccer magazine, in August. “I don’t think everyone is on the same page and that’s what leads to the results.”
As fiery and as candid as managers come, although he wasn’t made available for comment Sunday, Mariner held back after hearing of his former player’s original comments a few weeks after he sent him south.
“I’ve got nothing to say about (him),” Mariner said following an August training session. “He’s a Dallas player and I don’t speak about other peoples’ players.”
On Sunday, Mariner continued that policy, leaving supporters and pundits to decide for themselves whether or not to believe the Canadian’s latest statement.
However truthful, the de Guzman-Mariner relationship — or lack there of — is a far cry from where it was at the start of the season.
“He’s got the best part of 10 months left and there’s a lot of (soccer) that has got to be played,” Mariner told the Sun during pre-season. “If he has got another one, two, four, five years left in his legs … we’ll try and keep him at the club as long as possible.
“It’s all on performance,” Mariner told the Sun in February. “It always has been, and always will be.”
De Guzman put in one for the ages Saturday night in Texas.