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Toronto FC Top 31 Countdown: Number 12 - Julian de Guzman

Our first DP, though in 3 years he only sporadically lived up to that tag. Though many have reportedly tried, Paul Mariner was the one who finally managed to ship him out, with a few shots coming back after he'd left. The man with the knockout punch, bail bondsman extraordinaire, at number 12, it's Julian de Guzman.

We'll both be here next year Julian, don't worry about that.
We'll both be here next year Julian, don't worry about that.
John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE

Average Ranking: 13.24
Highest Ranking: 8
Lowest Ranking: 26

Duncan: 12 I really wanted de Guzman to work out the whole time he was here, but it just never got going for him sadly, and 2012 was no exception. Some good games, some not so good ones, and when it really really counted, for Canada in Panama and in Honduras, didn't really do much at all, though he was hardly alone there.

As you'd expect for a defensive midfielder, a lot of his best work wasn't really noticeable, though this cross here for a Danny Koevermans goal was a lovely highlight in what was a great game for him in Houston. Often he was most noticeable when he wasn't there, in that game against Houston, and in the following game against New England, two of his best of the year, he was curiously subbed off and TFC went on to cough up the lead.

His relationship with Paul Mariner seemed to sour as he found himself often on the bench before eventually being moved on to FC Dallas, his dp spot opened up, and Andrew Wiedeman underwhelmingly brought in in return.

It was always his salary and DP spot, and the expectations that they engendered that meant he was judged harshly by his critics in his time with the club. I'm sure his personalised licence plate Hummer and Lamborghini comforted him somewhat, but he finally put that money to good use before that Houston game where he played a comic part in the whole Club Escobar shambles, bail being officially posted by Julian B. Guzman. Classic.

His most memorable moments this year were all on the dramatic side, there was the handbags against Vancouver, where he destroyed Jun Marques Davidson with a vicious left hook.

There were also some interesting quotes after he was traded, in this interview with Red Nation Online, and later on when he said the following in a post game interview when things were going well with Dallas.

I'll never forget the words of [current TFC manager] Paul Mariner saying that he wants to make sure he'll send me to a last-place team and let me burn in the heat. It worked out for myself, getting the last laugh, the karma of things. Right now who's the last place team in the league and who's battling for the playoffs?

For me, he'll live on in infamy, as a verb as follows. De Guzman: To take an ambitious shot from outside the box that goes high and wide. Usage : He was wide open, and had a go, but he totally de Guzmanned it!

Think I'm being unfair? He had 23 shots in league play this year for TFC, only 3 of them on target, a ratio only beaten by Joao Plata's 2 in 20 among those who took at least 10 shots. Of course, he had to go and get the last laugh by doing this after he went to Dallas, the bastard.

John: 12: Ah yes, our first DP. Like so many players that have been brought in, attached with so much hope that springs ever eternal...and unfortunately for Julian de Guzman, he formerly of the big hair, he was another one in a long line of disappointments. Some of it was of his own doing, while some may be of the inflated expectation that comes with the Designated Player tag.

He was finally dealt away to FC Dallas for Andrew Wiedeman, then took a nice swipe at Paul Mariner in the media. While you really can't blame him for throwing down the gauntlet to Mariner after he left, it just all seems to be unnecessary and credibility damaging, it was perhaps better that he simply kept his cool and sashayed away.

But alas, it is what it is. What JDG leaves in Toronto is another record of a big name brought in under massive hope, only to depart in ignominy -- joining names like Laurent Robert and Mista. It's a shame, really. He could have been so, so much more.

Dave: 12 He was solid this season before being traded to FC Dallas but the problem with being JDG is that solid is just not going to be good enough based on what the club was paying him. His final season with TFC was another one that left the fans with a lot to be desired and he probably won't be missed by all that many around the club.

Michael: 11 Puzzling player but set aside DP tag, one of the better mid-fielders we had.

Kristin: 13 Had his best season as a red before being traded. Was never my favourite but also didn't have the ire towards him that many did.

The Yorkies: And so ends the frustrating tale of a guy who should have never left Spain. Not that he really wanted to.

The Ghost of TFC Future: So polarizing. A victim of salary-based expectations. Cut his salary by 80% (!) and people would have been perfectly happy with his play. Never really played to his capabilities, but looked much better with Frings next to him, rather than behind him desperately trying to organize a shambolic defence. I don't know what's in store for him next. I can't imagine Dallas giving him a new DP contract and I can't see him staying in North America for non-DP money. Back to Europe, I suppose.

Casual Soccer Fan: Far too many turnovers. He's a $60K-100K player.

DichioTFC: Love him (as I did) or hate him (as seemingly everyone else did), there was no denying JDG's potential. A star for the Canadian National Team and coming through in the clutch in the Canadian Championship and in CCL matches throughout his career with TFC, he once again led TFC to victory in 2012 - earning a questionable red card but also baiting Sebastian Le Toux into picking up his second yellow. Falling out of favour with Mariner and being traded for next to nothing, JDG publicly aired his dirty laundry and threw his former manager under the bus. Questions of professionalism aside, JDG was always TFC's least appreciated asset and 2012 was no different. As an aside, I'm sure JDG's case will be a lesson for future players in Europe, questioning the decision to come to MLS in the prime of their careers to a league with massive fluctuation.

Shem: Got traded during the season, but 10 fold the better player than Dunfield in my opinion.

Prizby: He gave up that penalty that ultimately led to the downfall at Torreon in the CCL semi-final. Other than that, he really didn’t do much to stick out good or bad until he was traded other than be paid way more than he was worth. Should note that on his #CanMNT profile, he lists Toronto FC as a favourite; got to believe he loves the club, just not the people within it.

Sir Alphonso Applegate: I have a soft spot for JDG (former teammate of his growing up in Scarborough rep system) and he was mishandled by the club and misrepresented by his price tag.

Ignirtoq: Here too long for too much.

Shel Soze: Great when played with Frings and other skilled players

JC_Plante: He couldn't leave soon enough, a liability. Addition by substraction, tell me TFD was a huge downgrade at a fraction of the cost.

Panos Kelamis: Never should have been a DP, but I understand the club's rationale, Canada's best holding midfielder was never going to 'WOW' the TFC faithful, but for what his role was he accomplished it. AVERAGE at best

Number 11: Eric Hassli

Number 13: Eric Avila:

Full Top 31 Countdown