After spending the better part of the last year in a relative haze, Fabian Castillo looks like he’s getting back to his bad self.


A year ago, Castillo was the toast of MLS. He didn’t have the goal totals of Sebastian Giovinco or Kei Kamara, but the FC Dallas winger had turned into a full-fledged nightmare on the flank, recording eight goals and six assists in his first 19 games of 2015. His numbers were even more impressive when you included the second half of 2014, with the young Colombian racking up 13 goals and eight assists in 33 regular-season and playoff appearances dating from Aug. 3, 2014 to last year’s All-Star Game.


He even put on a show against Tottenham in the ASG, using his world-class speed to generate a couple of really solid chances and memorably turning Spurs defender Kieran Trippier like a top in Colorado.


FC Dallas were in first place, and Castillo, who was about a month from making his Colombian national team debut, had the world at his feet.


Then things started to dry up. FCD lost five of eight coming out of All-Star, a run that would essentially cost them the Supporters’ Shield. Castillo’s production took a pretty serious nosedive, too. His three goals and three assists in 15 games after All-Star and through the playoffs were nothing to sneeze at, but the numbers were a far cry from the stats he’d posted in the preceding 12 months.


After an offseason of rumors connecting him with Club América, Castillo’s haze (and I should be clear, even a middling Castillo is still pretty damn good) carried into the first part of 2016. He notched just three goals and three assists in 17 regular-season contests through June 19, giving him a total of five strikes and six helpers in his last 32 games dating back to July 25, 2015.


Not exactly 13 and eight, is it?


He’s finally emerged over the last three weeks, re-announcing himself to the rest of the league with two goals and two assists in his last four starts – all wins for FCD. He really turned heads with his first assist in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Chicago, gliding down the left flank, looping a ball over two Fire defenders and placing an inch-perfect, why-the-hell-not rabona cross on Maxi Urruti’s forehead for one of the assists of the year.

Stejskal: Be afraid, MLS – FC Dallas' Fabian Castillo is back to his best - https://league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/styles/full_landscape/s3/images/DAL%20celebrate%20goal%20v.%20CHI%207-16-16.jpg

Castillo added another helper in the game’s dying moments, powering past Fire right back Rodrigo Ramos (spare a thought for him today, folks) and cutting a ball back to Mauro Rosales for FCD’s third.


Both plays show Castillo at his best. His mixture of speed, power, precision and flair is already enough to strike terror into opposing defenders. But that rabona? That was a coup de grace, a move so fantastic, so audacious, so unnecessary that it can only be pulled off by a player at peak confidence.


If Castillo – who's still just 24, by the way – can continue in this vein, FC Dallas might just claim the Supporters’ Shield they came so close to winning last year. They’re currently in first-place in the league table, and with Mauro Diaz firing on all cylinders and Matt Hedges recently returned from injury, boast one of the most talented, deepest rosters in MLS.


They’ll play one of the biggest matches of the 2016 season on Saturday, when they’ll travel to Colorado to take on Jermaine Jones, Tim Howard and the Rapids (9 pm ET; MLS LIVE). FCD are three points ahead of Colorado, but the Rapids have three games in hand on Dallas and lead FCD in points-per-game average. A result at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday, where Colorado are 8-0-2 this year, would be a huge step toward the Shield.


Of course, they have some business to take of in the US Open Cup first, with a quarterfinal matchup at Texas rivals Houston Dynamo set for Wednesday (8:30 pm ET; live stream via YouTube).


If Castillo is back to his best, FC Dallas are more than capable of transforming from a talented group of youngsters who challenge for trophies into a terrifying team that doesn’t just threaten for titles, but wins them.


It looks like he’s getting there now. That’s a great sign for FCD, and one that should deeply frighten the rest of the league.