Colombian Michael Barrios has been a key part of FC Dallas’ 2016 success. He discussed his club, his country’s food, and going for the MLS Cup.
It has been an up and down 2016 season for FC Dallas, but yet, the club finds itself in first place in a competitive Western Conference, already clinching a playoff berth. The club was also able to win the US Open Cup, beating New England Revolution 4-2 at home in Frisco. While the club has dealt with the departure of Colombian Fabian Castillo to Turkey, they have enjoyed the continued growth of one of his countrymen, Michael Barrios.
Barrios has been with FC Dallas since February of 2015, after spending four seasons in the Colombian first division. He currently leads the club with 9 goals, including two game winners. What the 5’4 Barrios lacks in size, he makes up for with great pace, and natural skill on the ball.
I was able to chat with Barrios about how the club has been able to replace Fabian Castillo, going for the MLS treble (US Open Cup, MLS Cup, and Supporters Shield), and what Colombian dish all Americans should try.
Q: How excited were you to win the US Open Cup?
Barrios: It was amazing. It was something inexplicable because we work so hard for this. Thank God we got to celebrate with all of our people and families. That gave us great satisfaction.
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Q: What will FC Dallas need to do to also win the MLS Cup in 2016?
Barrios: I think if we keep working the way we are on a daily basis, and every game demonstrate the work we put in. Mark goals, and to better our game in general, and play better at home, as well as on the road.
Q: How great is it to get service from, and play alongside Mauro Diaz?
Barrios: Mauro is an excellent player, and wonderful person, on and off the pitch. We try to utilize his abilities to the max. He has provided a lot to the team with little experience. With his quickness and strategic moves, combined with my abilities, I think it helps a lot. We try to use that as much as we can.
Q: How have you been able to step up since Fabian Castillo left the club?
Barrios: There is no replacement for Fabian. We worked side by side, he was on one, and I was on the other, but we have a good understanding. We understood each other, with Mauro and Maxi(Urruti), and I am in charge of making the penetrating run.
Q: Oscar Pareja has been mentioned as a potential national team coach down the road. How do you feel he would fare at that level?
Barrios: I think that he has earned his position on the team, and in the league, but if they give him that opportunity, he will take full advantage. He provides a lot to the players, on and off the pitch. Any player under him benefits from his coaching. It’s up to God to decide what’s best for him.
Q: This is the end of your second season in Major League Soccer. What can you say about the talent in the league?
Barrios: Year after year, MLS has shown it gets bigger and bigger with the players they add. They bring in world-renowned European players, and I think that helps bring awareness to MLS, on television and all types of press. In the future, it will get more popular.
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Q: What is one Colombian meal that every person in the United States should try?
Barrios: Fried fish, coconut rice, aguapanela, and patacones. It is a very important meal in Colombia. If you get a chance to try it, you will like it.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do in your free time away from soccer?
Barrios: I come home to relax with my family, eat and watch some TV. I really just spend time with my wife and son.
Q: Since you do play in the Lonestar State, have you bought a cowboy hat yet?
Barrios: No, not yet! But I do know how popular it is here in Texas.