OTTAWA — Julian de Guzman was quickly reminded how much endurance it takes to play the game of soccer.
The former Canadian national team midfielder came out of retirement and suited up in the Ottawa Fury’s 1-0 loss to the Montreal Impact in a friendly on Wednesday.
"It was fun until two runs and then I got lightheaded a little bit," said de Guzman, who retired in January and is in his first season serving as Fury assistant coach.
"Playing in that position for so long and being reminded how many kilometres you run per game, it’s a no-joke position. That’s something I will always cherish and every time I see a player play in that role means a lot to me."
The 36-year-old Toronto native — wearing number 89 as a tribute to his 89 caps for Canada — subbed into the match in the 58th minute.
Montreal’s Calum Mallace scored the game’s only goal three minutes in on a free kick.
Daniel Lovitz was fouled just outside the 18-yard box and Mallace stepped up and put his free kick past Ottawa goalkeeper David Paulimin.
"Tonight was an important game for a lot of players," said Impact coach Mauro Biello.
"Some had the opportunity to get minutes, and it was important to work on our rhythm and on our confidence. We also saw some others come back from injury. There are a lot of positives to take out of this game. I think the players reacted well. They put in the work and were focused."
Montreal came close to doubling its lead near the end of the first half.
Louis Beland-Goyette moved the ball up field for Shamit Shome, who just missed wide with his kick.
"It was a good, intense game for me," said Shome. "It was great to get my first minutes with the Impact and a big honour to have played with the first team. I feel we dictated the tempo of the game for the most part. We got in good positions to score and to keep the ball as well. We also did well defensively against a very direct team."
In the 77th minute, the Fury could have come back in the game after a cross from the left by Aron Mkungilwa, but Tucker Hume’s header went straight in James Pantemis’ gloves.
In January de Guzman called an end to a distinguished career that saw him play for clubs in France, Germany, Greece and Spain as well as Major League Soccer and the North American Soccer League.
He captained both Ottawa and his hometown team Toronto FC. But he is best known for his time in Germany and Spain’s La Liga, where he played for Deportivo la Coruna.
De Guzman played 97 games in Spain and 78 games in Germany’s Bundesliga. He also saw action in 77 MLS games with Toronto and Dallas.
"I’d love to give him a hard time, but when you see him you can tell that if he wanted to, he could still play," said Fury coach Paul Dalglish.
"You can see the class. With some of the things he did out there you’d almost wish you could turn the clock back and stick him back in the team, but unfortunately, time is something no one, not even Julian de Guzman, can fight."