FRISCO, Texas — With Fabián Castillo away with the Colombian U-20s and the forward position already thin because of injuries, there is no better time than now for an FC Dallas striker to step up.
“We may have to activate [assistant coach] Marco Feruzzi,” head coach Schellas Hyndman said jokingly. “I don’t know how you replace somebody. [Castillo] obviously is a pretty special player.”
The search began to replace Castillo began earlier this week while Hyndman has opted to stick with a 4-4-2 for Saturday's home game against the Portland Timbers (8:30 pm ET; watch LIVE online).
Castillo and teammate Marvin Chávez are counted upon to provide speed, flare and unpredictability to opposing teams, but now Hyndman must now provide Chávez with a consistent and complimentary partner atop the formation until further help arrives.
“This will be another great opportunity for Maykel Galindo, Mílton Rodríguez, Ruben Luna and others to have some opportunity to play,” Hyndman said.
The fact is, FCD’s forwards haven’t exactly been lighting up the stat sheets this year. Out of the team’s 20 goals scored, only four have come from a true forward.
Castillo has two, Chávez has one, and Rodríguez scored his only tally of the season with a back-heel on opening day.
“We are happy for [Castillo's] call-up,” Rodríguez said of his young compatriot. “Who has to replace him? If it’s my turn or whoever they choose to replace him, we trust that we can do great work.”
Rodríguez represents one of three likely replacements for Castillo while he spends time with the U-20s in Colombia. The 35-year-old striker, whom Hyndman predicted in preseason could score 10-12 goals in 2011 for FC Dallas, hasn’t lived up to the billing midway though the season.
Rodríguez has struggled to keep pace with younger players like Castillo, Brek Shea, Eric Alexander and Andrew Jacobson. As a result, on several occasions this year Rodríguez has gone unused in games.
After Rodríguez in the depth chart is Luna. The 19-year-old future star has made 10 appearances totaling 277 minutes this season, mostly receiving time as a late-game substitute who can hold the ball as the FC Dallas attack carries steam up the pitch.
And that leaves perhaps the most interesting player of them all, Galindo.
The former Chivas USA star sat out for more than a month with plantar fasciitis but returned to the pitch last weekend against none other than his former team. He demonstrated his ability to get forward and create dangerous plays.
“Whichever player can’t be here, something is always going to be lacking,” Rodríguez said. “There aren’t other players that do what they do. But it’s a good team because there are a number of players that can do other things, too.”