After a disappointing loss in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup semifinals on Tuesday, FC Dallas needed to shake off the disappointment. To do that they turned to the player who has come up big at every turn for them lately, Colombian winger Fabian Castillo.
He did not disappoint, contributing to the first four of the team's five goals in their 5-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium, including two he scored himself.
The victory keeps FC Dallas as the league leader in goals scored with 43 and the maturity of Castillo is a big part of that success. After Saturday's match, Castillo has earned a goal or an assist in his last ten appearances for the team across all competitions, and is now on eight goals and four assists for the year; it's a big leap from the two goals and six assists he earned in 2013.
“He has grown immensely on being a team player,” said head coach Oscar Pareja after the match. “Now he's sacrificing, he’s working, he’s making the tactical movements and everything is coming together for him."
Whereas previously Castillo had almost exclusively been effective at left wing for FC Dallas, this year he has been productive all across the forward attacking spots.
“He has a better understanding what his responsibilities are without the ball,” Pareja said. “And when you have a player who understands that and is a team player, not just an island, all these things come together.”
Castillo credits the coaching staff for the significant change in his performance.
“I have more confidence in myself,” the Colombian said. “The coach gives me more confidence to play. Every year one gets better, get practices in. I think I’m just practicing hard and getting better every year.”
“I think I used to be a very predictable player and now I know how to move a lot better and how to change things up.”
The young winger also made it clear that he is not done yet.
“I promised Oscar that I would get to 12 goals this year, but hopefully I will pass that mark.”