When FC Dallas lines up to face the Colorado Rapids today at 7:30 p.m. in FC Dallas Stadium, there's a very good chance that Fabian Castillo will be sitting up top in one of the forward slots in a 4-4-2 formation, rather than his usual wide midfield starting position. The 20-year-old winger has primarily played midfield for FC Dallas since his arrival in 2011.
Though the move is being made out of necessity, Castillo’s performance at forward impressed his head coach in FC Dallas’s final preseason game last weekend. Castillo’s efforts may not necessarily produce great stats, but even when they don’t produce direct results, Hyndman says, Castillo is still effective because he keeps the opponent on their heels. “I thought we had a better game against San Jose [when] we brought Fabian up to the attack,” he said. “With his speed and his quickness, he kept their defense much deeper and that gave us a little more space to play.”
Since he signed with Dallas in 2011, Fabian Castillo, a.k.a. "The other Designated Player from Columbia," has developed a reputation, among fans at least, as a one-dimensional player. That one dimension, elite speed, makes him a crucial component to the FC Dallas attack force, but deficiencies in other parts of his game, like passing and defense, seem to make him somewhat of a liability at times, especially late in games when holding a lead.
However, Hyndman says he thinks the move to forward, even if only temporary, could actually help plug a hole or two in Castillo’s game. “[With Castillo] as a forward, we've got a lot of players behind him that can protect his space in case he doesn't put pressure on the ball,”
Hyndman also defended his speedy attacker, explaining that Castillo’s lack of defending prowess is not necessarily a function of desire -- or lack thereof -- but one of physiology.
“Fabian is extremely quick and athletic. When you have those red muscle fibers, they're very explosive. What they don't do is, they don't carry you for a very long time. They're not the endurance muscle fibers. You get one or the other. Very seldom do you get a player that has both qualities. So in the position that Fabian's playing, he doesn't have that endurance level to come back and defend, even though he wants to. It's just that he puts so much going forward.”