Fabian Castillo: Star has to hit another gear to propel FC Dallas

For FC Dallas to make a run at the MLS Cup, they will need their star to take his play to another level.

FC Dallas finds themselves even on points with the Western Conference leading Colorado Rapids. They are towards the top of the league in goals scored, also still unbeaten at home. Outside of a 5-0 drubbing by the Houston Dynamo and a 4-0 blowout loss to NYRB, FC Dallas has been very consistent in their play.

2014 Rookie of the Year Tesho Akindele and Colombian Michael Barrios are even atop the club’s list for goals. Mauro Diaz and Kellyn Acosta have been their usual playmaking selves, and Maxi Urruti has been a welcome addition from Portland.

Fabian Castillo finds himself third at the club in assists and goals currently. While Diaz is the person who sets the offense for FC Dallas, Castillo is the player that can blow open a defense with his pace and skills. MLS defenses know they have to limit Castillo’s impact, because if they don’t his speed creates chaos among the backline players.

While his season has been average to above average so far, for FC Dallas to win its first ever MLS Cup, they will need him to take elevate his play even higher. While he has played pretty well this season, he also has disappeared in matches.

Perfect example was in the rain-soaked match against rival Houston. Castillo was able to blaze by Jalil Anibaba, who Houston specifically used to mark Castillo due to his athleticism. He cut back at the endline and fired a picture perfect ball into Ryan Hollingshead, who easily blasted it home. Vintage Fabian Castillo play, using his torrid pace, then having the skill to put it into a teammate. Unfortunately, that was the only contribution for Castillo in the match.

He largely vanished, not being able to put FC Dallas up another goal, or at least threaten Houston’s midfield and defense enough to stifle their own attacks. Houston leveled the match, and FC Dallas was forced to share points at home with their Texas rival.

Castillo needs to continuously impact the game, and also be more efficient with his shots. He has 33 shots on the season, only 14 on goal, and only three hitting the net. While his impact is largely his physical gifts, he needs to be an effective finisher if he is going to push FC Dallas to the title. However, do not think this article is saying Castillo has been anything close to below average. They are great with his current play, but will be elite if Castillo can find another gear for the rest of 2016.

FC Dallas opens up after the Copa America break with an ESPN Soccer Sunday matchup with Dom Dwyer and Sporting KC.