When East Scarborough’s Julian de Guzman steps on the field for Toronto FC Saturday against David Beckham’s Los Angeles Galaxy, he’ll be facing a situation he’s used to.
The league’s newest designated player has met Beckham before.
When de Guzman was playing for Deportivo la Coruna over the past four seasons, the two matched up during Beckham’s time with Real Madrid.
“My first and only goal for Deportivo came against him and Real Madrid,” de Guzman told reporters after practice on Tuesday. “It’s always great to play against guys like Beckham and any kind of star that plays for Real Madrid or another big team in the world.”
If the midfielder suits up Saturday, it will mark the first time he has played since donning the red and white of Canada in the Gold Cup.
Despite the layoff, de Guzman says has been working hard since signing a contract with the Canadian soccer club.
“This week has been good so far,” de Guzman told CBCSports.ca. “I’ve done a lot of intense work with the guys and I’m feeling better and better as each day goes by, so if I stick to the program, I don’t see why I shouldn’t get a chance to play.”
Toronto FC head coach Chris Cummins doesn’t want to tip his hand on how he plans to use de Guzman.
In the past, the Canadian soccer star has played as a defensive midfielder with his Spanish club, but was given more of an attacking role with the national squad.
“I’m used to doing it with the national team, and if that’s the role that’s given to me with this team, I’m ready to give it my best,” he said.
Cummins hopes de Guzman can develop some chemistry with playmaker Amado Guevara.
“He’s got that little bit of quality where he can open up defences, very similar to Amado,” Cummins said. “The two of them together, if we can get them in the right areas [on the field], they’re going to create things for you.”
Whatever de Guzman’s role will be with the club, captain Jim Brennan is excited about the potential debut.
“If he plays, that would be great because Julian’s a fantastic player … He’s got a big future with this club so the sooner he can get involved the better,” Brennan said.