FRISCO, Texas – Plagued by injuries and suspensions all season, FC Dallas will once again rely on two of their healthy bodies -- Fabián Castillo and Zach Loyd -- to play key roles on Wednesday night when Dallas visit the Portland Timbers (10 pm ET, ESPN2, match preview).
Castillo scored the winning goal against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, allowing Dallas to snap an eight-game winless streak (0-6-2). While it continued a history of success against Colorado – he has scored more goals (3) against the Rapids than against any other team – Castillo's teammates hope it will build his confidence as he seeks his first goal against Portland on Wednesday night.
“Great confidence-building for Fabián going into next week,” Loyd said of Castillo’s game-winner. “It was pretty spectacular, just seeing him do what he does: He kind of glides and dances through people. To put that finishing touch was great to see.”
Castillo has already notched four goals on the season, his fourth in MLS, just two shy of his career high, set in 2012.
“We have to be patient with a player that is young but has a lot of potential,” head coach Oscar Pareja said. “I see him working non-stop, and I can’t tell you how much these guys have been improving.”
Snapping the winless streak gave FC Dallas a chance to breathe easier for a night, but with Portland only two points back in the standings heading into Wednesday's game, Castillo was not about to relax.
“The team has been working hard and we knew it was coming” Castillo said. “We’ve been playing well. We’re going to enjoy it, but we know we have a very difficult game coming up against Portland. So we’ll enjoy this for a little bit and then get ready for Portland.”
Loyd scored the second of three FC Dallas goals on Saturday, marking the first time FCD had scored two goals in a match since an April 19 victory over Toronto FC and the first time the team had scored twice in a half since a 3-2 loss to the Seattle Sounders on April 12.
“Great to get the win, a weight off the shoulders,” Loyd said. “As a team, we sat down and had a meeting, just the players, and discussed how important it is to get a result, because obviously there is a break, and you want to go into the break feeling good for the second stretch of the season.”
The 5-foot-9 Tulsa, Okla., native was also asked to take on a different role on Saturday, moving to center back after both starters, Walker Zimmerman and Matt Hedges, left the game due to injury. Loyd said he is prepared to fill in again on Wednesday if needed.
“It has been a while, but [Stephen] Keel did a great job talking to me and getting me through it,” Loyd said. “Center back is kind of my second position. If guys go down, I know how to play it.”