Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fabian Castillo and FC Dallas Blow Past the Colorado Rapids 3-2 - SportDFW

Frisco, TX â€" FC Dallas came into their match against the Colorado Rapids with their playoff hopes hanging by the thinnest of threads.  The Rapids were one of the teams ahead of FCD in the table, so a win was imperative.  The match started and ended poorly for Dallas, but a breakout performance by Fabian Castillo in-between propelled them to a 3-2 victory on a night dominated by Colombian-born players.

FC Dallas fans Emma Dawson, Brian VanDeMark, unknown and Heather Hoskins. Photo Credit: Art Cantu, Jr. - SportDFW Staff Photographer

In the 12th minute, some poor defensive play by FC Dallas and great hustle by Colorado midfielder Brian Mullan led to the first goal of the match.  Rapids defender Hunter Freeman sent a through-ball from the right side towards the edge of Dallas’ six-yard-box that looked like it was too heavy and headed out-of-bounds.  FCD defensive midfielder Julian de Guzman tried to escort the ball over the endline, but Mullan sped past de Guzman and slid to save the ball just before it crossed the line for a harmless goal kick. Mullan kicked it right to the feet of Colorado striker Jaime Castrillon, who had an easy tap-in past Kevin Hartman for the goal.

The Rapids continued to dictate play for most of the rest of the first half and probably should have scored two more goals.  At the ’22 minute mark, Kevin Hartman made an inexplicable decision to come out for a ball that was thirty yards from goal (even FCD Head Coach Schellas Hyndman later said, “I don’t know what he was doing.”)  Colorado’s speedy Jamaican forward Omar Cummings bolted to the ball first and then dribbled around Hartman for an open look on goal.  Luckily for Dallas, he missed the wide-open net by about five yards.  Then in the 34th minute, Kevin Hartman made two point-blank saves in a row on a wide-open Cummings from less than ten yards.

Hartman’s heroics seemed to energize the team because the game turned around dramatically in a span of about three minutes just before the half.  First, Colombian youngster Fabian Castillo created a little bit of space for himself after receiving a pass from de Guzman and hit a low, hard shot past Rapids goalie Matt Pickens in the 41st minute to tie the match at 1.  de Guzman was awarded an assist on the play, but full credit should go to Castillo as he worked himself into the open position and fired a beautiful shot.  Then at ’44 minute mark, Castillo was fouled about thirty yards from goal and Dallas was awarded a free kick.  Defender Jair Benitez (also Colombian) hit a highlight-reel free kick that, “…Beckham would be proud of,” according to Hyndman for his first career goal in his 87th match.

David Ferreira celebrates after scoring his first goal of the season to seal Dallas' 3-2 win. Photo credit: Art Cantu, Jr. - SportDFW Staff Photographer

The Colombian connection was not done there, though.  Just four minutes into the second half, Fabian Castillo broke free on the right side of Colorado’s penalty area on a brilliant through-ball from Julian de Guzman.  Castillo took one touch and squared the ball to attacking midfielder David Ferreira (you guessed it…Colombian).  Ferreira also took one touch and then cracked his shot low and right past Pickens to give the Toros a 3-1 lead.  That goal turned out to be the game winner as midfielder Jeff Larentowicz pulled one back for the Rapids just six minutes later before the game weirdly devolved into Dallas playing bunker-ball despite being up a man.

Colorado’s own Colombian, Jaime Castrillion, was red carded in the 71st minute for an UFC-illegal kick to George John’s head while John’s knees were on the ground.  Despite being down a man, Colorado controlled the run of play and created multiple chances during the final twenty minutes plus injury time.  “The thing I can attribute <the drop off in play> to is fatigue.  The second thing is fear.  I think the guys were just scared to make a mistake,” said Hyndman.

But the story (and official man of) the match was Fabian Castillo.  He gave Colorado’s defenders fits all night and in the span of about eight minutes of game time, Castillo scored a goal, earned a free kick that lead to a goal and assisted on a third goal.  After the game, Coach Hyndman explained why he thought Fabian had such a good night:

“I think it was a combination of three things.  I think the first thing is he is maturing into the player we all hoped he would be.  He’s got tremendous speed, quickness and he’s creating some really dangerous situations.  The second thing is I think <Colorado> is a good matchup for him.  Whether he’s playing against Zapata or Hunter Freeman, those two players don’t have the pace to stay with him, nor do either of those players have the experience in the league.  The third thing is he really wants to do well for Oscar.”

The Oscar that Hyndman referred to was Colorado head coach Oscar Pareja (yet another Colombian), who brought Castillo to FC Dallas back when he was a Dallas assistant.  When asked about Castillo’s performance, he quipped, “I shouldn’t have brought him here.” Quick aside: Oscar Pareja once played in a soccer match with Pablo Escobar at the infamous drug lord’s personal La Catredal “prison”.  Read about that experience here.

FCD leapfrogged Colorado in the standings and is technically now in 6th place in the West, but it is likely they’ll have to win out to move up to the five slot and make the playoffs.  They are still seven points behind the LA Galaxy, who have played one less game, and while they are tied with Chivas USA at 26 points, the Goats have a whopping five games in hand on Dallas.

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