FRISCO, Texas – In the 57th minute of Saturday night’s 2-0 home loss to the San Jose Earthquakes, FC Dallas fans were finally given something to cheer about: the debut of Designated Player Fabián Castillo.
The 18-year-old, who had been in the United States for less than a week, was active and dangerous in his first performance in Dallas colors. Head coach Schellas Hyndman was pleased with what he saw from the Colombian U-20 star.
“I thought he was very good,” Hyndman said after Monday’s training session. “He’s very explosive, which he showed when I went to Colombia. He’s a player that moves as quick with the ball at his feet as he does without it.”
Initially lining up on the left side of midfield, Castillo made several solo runs at the San Jose defense, showing both his speed and ball control.
[inline_node:332271]Castillo’s ability to cut and run threw off defenders. In the process he showed what appears to be his signature move.
Seen in YouTube videos and again against the US U-20s last Thursday, Castillo runs at the defender, stutters, then takes a big touch on the ball and sprints toward the end line. He ends up in a position to either play the ball across the box or take a tight-angled shot on goal.
“I thought he made an immediate impact on taking people on, getting people behind the opposition, and putting San Jose under some pressure,” said Hyndman.
In the 73rd minute of Saturday’s game, Castillo took his talents to the right side of the pitch.
After receiving a pass from right back Jackson Goncalves, Castillo took a big touch to get around defender Ramiro Corrales before sprinting towards goal.
Inside the 18-yard box, Castillo wrong-footed midfielder Sam Cronin, then chipped a pass to the back post. A waiting Milton Rodriguez missed the open net with his sailing header, but the play was indicative of the danger Castillo can create.
Castillo, whose favorite player is Lionel Messi, noted the endurance that players must have to play in MLS.
“Teams run a lot,” said Castillo. “I think it’s very competitive and the teams run much more.”
After playing 22 minutes against the US U-20s, Castillo played 33 minutes against San Jose and expressed his discontent with the loss.
“When you lose, you can’t feel good,” said Castillo. "It’s only the second game of the season and a lot is still missing.
And though the FC Dallas fans voted him as the player of the game, Hyndman said he knows that a young player like Castillo will have his ups and downs.
“He’s still a very young player so he’s going to make some poor decisions or miss some opportunities,” said Hyndman. “But I think he is going to be very good for our team and very good for the league.”