FRISCO, Texas – The words “win-win situation” were thrown around by just about everyone in July after FC Dallas acquired midfielder Julian de Guzman from Toronto FC. Three months later, as the 2012 season comes to a close, those feelings seem to have only gotten stronger.
“This team has given me life again in football and everything around it,” de Guzman told MLSsoccer.com after practice on Wednesday.
Since arriving in Frisco, the Canadian international has indeed enjoyed a new life on the pitch. He started 10 of 14 games at defensive midfield, coming out on the losing end just twice as FCD just missed out on the Western Conference's final playoff spot.
Central to the his rebirth on the pitch is Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. While Hyndman’s no-nonsense style with rigidly defined roles doesn’t mesh with every type of player, it certainly seems to have gotten through to a grizzled veteran like de Guzman.
“He’s straight to the point and makes himself very clear,” de Guzman said of his current manager. “He doesn’t really beat around the bush and that’s something I look to in coaches like him and past coaches that I’ve done well with.
“Sometimes they may seem like [expletive], but those are usually the better coaches I’ve had in the past.”
Just like every good relationship, however, the talk will eventually turn to finances and an awkward conversation is ahead in the coming weeks for de Guzman and FCD. Dallas have been lucky enough to have the 31-year-old’s Designated Player contract paid by Toronto FC up until this point, but should he remain in red and white next season, a new deal will have to be ironed out.
“There’s a chance [he stays] if he really likes what he has here,” Hyndman said. “We’re going to try to keep him.
"At the end of the day, with the trade, Toronto’s paying his salary and we obviously could not make that same commitment and he knows that. What it really comes down to is, are we going to be closer to the numbers and then is he going to want to continue to play MLS soccer.”
Judging by de Guzman’s words about FC Dallas and the coaching staff in place, the second part of Hyndman’s statement doesn’t seem to be an issue. The question is, will they – and should they – offer de Guzman enough to stay? The answer should be clear in the next few weeks.
“Of course the money is a factor that you have to sit down and talk about,” de Guzman said. “That comes with the decision as well and it’s just a matter of how everything matches up. Being accepted in a club is most important and everything else that comes with it will come with talks.”