August 18, 2012; Sandy, UT, USA; FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman (1) yells to his teammates during the first half against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
As I read the Ferreira article again, it made me realize that while Ferreira deserves the lion's share of credit for turning things around, simply praising him and ignoring everyone else is a pretty big injustice. Here are my three biggest reasons (beyond Ferreira) that things have turned around.
3. Julian de Guzman's insertion into the lineup
With all due respect to everything Daniel Hernandez has done to stabilize the midfield in 2009 and 2010 (which will probably be forever underrated by many fans), the trade for Julian de Guzman could end up being the best move of the entire season. The Canadian has provided a range in the midfield that was missing while bringing out the best side of Andrew Jacobson's game. Perhaps the thing I've been most impressed with is just how rare it is that JDG turns the ball over in bad areas. He's so good in tight space that most times he's able to wriggle out of trouble and find the open man or at least dump the ball to safety.
While David Ferreira brings out the best in everyone else's game, you wonder if Julian de Guzman brings out the best in Ferreira....
2. Fabian Castillo Raising His Game
It's clear for all to see the effect that Ferreira has on Fabian Castillo's game, but it's not fair to Fabian to simply chalk all of his success up to Torito. You've got to make the runs and put the ball in the net too, some would even say that's the most important part.
We've seen flashes of greatness out of Castillo before but his last month he has simply come of age. It's truly amazing to think about what Castillo has done when you realize he turned 20 years old just a couple months ago. Castillo has four goals and two assists in eight games while three of those four goals opened the scoring in the game and the other one was the game-winner in Colorado.
Out of the 41 players in Major League Soccer with at least five goals, Castillo is the youngest by nearly two years.
Where would FC Dallas be in this stretch without Kevin "El Gato" Hartman? I wrote about it after the Colorado game where Dallas would not have won if Hartman hadn't saved their butts and that's the same for games in Vancouver and Salt Lake as well. All you need to do is go back and watch the highlights to see big Hartman saves before the Dallas goals.
You're watching a living legend in action.
Matt Hedges proving that he's a slam dunk finalist for MLS Rookie of the Year...Contributions from homegrowns coming off the bench...No red cards