FRISCO, Texas – Put the Vancouver Whitecaps on notice: Fabián Castillo is back in training, feeling good and focused on Saturday night’s showdown with FC Dallas (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
The Colombian winger, arguably the best in the league over the month of August, was sidelined with a hamstring strain– and sorely missed – in FCD’s 1-1 draw with Seattle last time out, but he returned to full training yesterday with spirits high giving Dallas a full arsenal in attack this weekend.
“I’m really happy to come back,” Castillo told MLSsoccer.com through a translator. “It’s been a really tough two weeks. I wanted to play in the last couple games, but I couldn’t. I want to help the team in any way I can.”
The timing couldn’t be better for Castillo’s return as Dallas, four points behind Vancouver for the final Western Conference playoff spot, host the Whitecaps in a hugely crucial battle that could determine their postseason fate. He scored the game-winner at Vancouver last time these two teams met, a 2-0 win for Dallas.
“This is the kind of game that every soccer player wants to play in, a tough game and very competitive,” Castillo said of Saturday’s match. “Hopefully we get the result. We know Vancouver is going to be a tough team.”
Perhaps it’s a testament to just how far Castillo has come in a short time that FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman noted his absence to the press after both the LA loss, where he was forced to come out early, and the draw with Seattle, where Dallas had no options off the bench to break the deadlock.
“Castillo brings a tremendous explosion and speed,” Hyndman said after Wednesday’s practice. “And I think we all recognize just how much he’s improving.”
Since David Ferreira’s return to the squad, Castillo has blossomed with goals in three of his last four starts, all coming in FC Dallas wins. And he says he’s not done yet.
“It’s been one of my best moments with FC Dallas,” he said of his three-game scoring streak. “I’ve been in a really good stretch scoring goals and I’m coming back confident that I’m going to step on the pitch and keep the [goals] going.”
“We know that this game is do or die … we’re all focused on that. We know it’s not going to be an easy game so we’re working 100 percent for the result.”