With the news that Danny Dichio retired yesterday, the path is cleared for Toronto FC to sign its first ever Designated Player (DP); and that player will be Canadian international Julian de Guzman.
First, a note on Dichio. Rob Longley’s tribute says it all: the journeyman striker will always have a place in TFC fans’ hearts not only because he scored the team’s first goal (in its fifth game in the 24th minute, the reason Dichio is still serenaded in the 24th minute of every TFC game) but because he gave a complete effort in every single match. And if there’s one thing Canadians appreciate from their sports figures, it’s effort.
The real story, though, is Trader Mo Johnston signing himself TFC’s first ever DP in Julian de Guzman. Make no mistake: this is a coup. No matter what the cost is (Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment can afford it), it’s worth it. De Guzman is a talented holding midfielder who is a stalwart on the Canadian national team (that’s not really saying much but it still counts for something); as such, he’ll provide vision and intelligence in the middle of the pitch. He still won’t be able to make up for Nick Garcia’s boneheaded plays but he should help forestall some of them.
I’m not sure when de Guzman will make his debut; I assume sometime in the next couple of weeks (he was a free transfer, so he can be signed anytime, not just within the transfer window). The upshot is that TFC now has the two best Canadian players on its team: de Guzman and Dwayne de Rosario. This is a good thing.