FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas begin their second quick-turnaround, two-game road trip of the month on Wednesday, and despite their draining schedule and a surprising string of injuries to key players, the team are confident they can get a result on Wednesday against the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center (10:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE) before traveling to Utah to take on Real Salt Lake on Saturday (9:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE).
“We all have a chance to get our points in any game,” FCD head coach Oscar Pareja told reporters on Tuesday. “I said at the beginning of the year that it is one game at a time. Today is not an exception.”
Winless in their last five games, Dallas have been hit with the loss of another important player in free-kick expert Michel, who did not travel with the team to California on Tuesday.
“Without Michel, you might lose some power in the service, but you might get something else with another player,” said Pareja.
A large part of that confidence comes from strong performances by Jair Benitez and Fabian Castillo in last weekend's 1-1 tie against Chivas USA. Castillo scored the game-tying goal with a quick touch in traffic shortly after taking a knock to his right leg that threatened to force him to leave the game.
“I thought for a moment that we were losing another one. He was brave enough to be back in the field,” Pareja said. “He was in the right place and he scored. Well deserved. That is probably what we are lacking: being more decisive in front of the goal. “I think we are thinking too much. I am asking them to be quick and make it happen, because we are creating those options.”
On Tuesday, Castillo said he's feeling no ill effects from Saturday's scare.
“I feel fine now,” said the 21-year-old. “It was just the knock, and I am ready to travel and get to these two battles that we have.”
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The game-tying cross came from Castillo’s left-sided teammate and fellow Colombian, Benitez. In Michel’s absence, the left back's skills will be even more important. Against Chivas USA, Benitez played in the midfield in order to move his offensive attributes closer to goal. He has also taken free kicks for the team.
“He tried to do something creative and penetrate,” Pareja said. “That initiative I value a lot, in addition to the hard work that is normal for him. We wanted him to have a position wide who can come in the middle and join us and see if we can get some attacking from that side.”