FRISCO, Tex. -- For FC Dallas, there’s no place like home.
After five weeks away from Toyota Stadium and struggles to find the back of the net, the FC Dallas attack found its footing, regardless of how wet the pitch was after constant rain throughout the evening, in a 2-0 win over the rival Houston Dynamo on Friday to clinch the Texas Derby trophy, El Capitan, for another season.
And although the first goal was an own goal by Houston defender Jermaine Taylor, both goals were products of an aggressive and effective Fabian Castillo, who now leads the team with six goals on the season.
“I think we have to give the credit to Fabian,” head coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “I don’t think it was weakness from the opposition. I thought it was something that is sometimes unstoppable. Fabian, when he takes people on, it’s dangerous. That’s what he is.”
Pareja mentioned after the match that they knew Houston had made changes to their defense, most notably starting Raul Rodriguez at right back once again instead of his usual centerback position.
That change alone signaled blood in the water for FC Dallas’ shark, as Castillo followed the coaches’ gameplan and attacked Rodriguez on the flank for the entire 75 minutes he played.
“We knew that even if you’re a good player, you’re not playing in your natural position,” Castillo said after the match via translator. “So we knew we could take advantage of that. I noticed he didn’t feel comfortable, so I went and attacked him.”
The 23-year-old midfielder was only credited with one goal on the night, but his presence alone gave the Dynamo fits. Through much of the first half, Castillo was firing shots and crosses in front of the goal. Early on, Houston alertly blocked many of the attempts.
But when Taylor’s block attempt in the 33rd minute went awry and found the back of his own net, both Pareja and Castillo denied luck as a factor. Castillo said the ball would have found striker David Texeira for an easy chip-in anyway, and Pareja attributed the goal to being tactically in the right position.
“The ball bounced our way, but it’s not because we were lucky. We worked for it,” Pareja said. “We have to keep doing it. When the ball isn’t bouncing your way, you have to wonder if there’s something that you missed.”
Whether it is considered a lucky bounce or the result of well-timed attacking, Castillo was the heartbeat of FC Dallas’ first league win in 48 days.
And also for the first time in that stretch, the home fans at Toyota Stadium were finally able to witness a win.
“We had the urgency to get the result tonight. That was the emphasis during the week,” Pareja said, referencing his team’s 0-3-2 record over the previous five-game road trip. “It puts us back to where we belong, which is winning games.”