The 20-year-old Colombian was hugely impressive in the second half of the season. Are even bigger things ahead?
Over the next month, we will be reviewing each and every player on the roster to analyze what they brought to the table in 2012, if they've improved/regressed and the best moment of their season.
The first player we're going to start with is Fabian Castillo, one of the two or three brightest young talents on the FC Dallas roster.
Steady Improvement With young players you want to see them consistently moving forward and developing their game. I think we've seen that out of Castillo in 2012. He finished with nearly 550 more minutes played than last season, seven more starts and four more goals than last season.
Goal Scoring It's a simple statement, but there's no more important thing you can do and if 2012 is any indication, Castillo could be a 7-10 goal/year scorer in this league for quite some time. Also encouraging is five of his six goals came in the last 13 games which shows a level of fitness that doesn't break down towards the end of the year like so many young players do.
Colombian Connection Simply put, David Ferreira and Fabian Castillo have an understanding on the field that you don't see very often. It seems like Ferreira always knows where Castillo is going to be on the field and that created some incredible goal scoring opportunities this year.
20 years old Fabian Castillo is younger than Bryan Leyva and Ruben Luna. Let that sink in for a second. He will not be able to drink until next June and he had six goals and three assists this year.
Moment of the year
FC Dallas was 13 games winless heading into the game at Colorado in mid-July and Castillo had what was at the time his best game as a professional right when Dallas needed it. Getting that monkey off their backs was huge in giving them time to make a run at a playoff spot before it was too late and Castillo's goal+assist in the 2-1 victory was a season-changing moment.
Can he do it without Ferreira? Though he has hobbled by the injury bug earlier in the season, it's impossible to ignore that Fabian Castillo is a remarkably better player with David Ferreira on the pitch. Does that mean that Castillo with a healthy Ferreira in 2013 could have the type of season that would have a big money offer come in from Mexico/Europe next winter? It's very possible.
What's his position? It was a question we had last year in our season review and it still remains true. Is he a right-sided midfielder? Is he a left-sided midfielder? Could he play centrally? Is he a starter on this team when Brek and Jackson are fit? All questions still not answered about Fabigol.
I think there's a lot of signs that in 2013, Fabian Castillo could make a run at MLS Best XI. It might sound a little crazy, but five goals and two assists in the last 12 games of the season with Ferreira on the pitch extrapolated out over a whole year suggests he could have some major stats next year.
Also, when you take into account that 2011 was the year that Fabian simply got acclimated to a new country, league and culture at 18 years old, while 2012 was the year that he really began to learn the league and get comfortable...suddenly things really set up for a huge year out of Fabian next season if he can stay healthy. You wonder if he's on the radar of Colombia for U20 World cup Qualifying as well.
I've heard through the grapevine that Dallas turned down a fairly significant transfer offer from Mexico for Castillo this summer and if he keeps on his current track, the price may be too big to pass up eventually.
1-10 scale...10 being MLS MVP...9 is MLS Best XI....8 is team MVP...7 is indispensable player...1 is Eric Quill.
I'm going to give Fabian a 6.5 this season. I don't like how the first half of the year went for him, but he was so good in the second half, scoring some very important goals.