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2011 Season in Review: Fabian Castillo

FRISCO, TX - MARCH 26: Fabian Castillo #15 of of FC Dallas dribbles past Ramiro Corrales #12 of the San Jose Earthquakes at Pizza Hut Park on March 26, 2011 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)
FRISCO, TX - MARCH 26: Fabian Castillo #15 of of FC Dallas dribbles past Ramiro Corrales #12 of the San Jose Earthquakes at Pizza Hut Park on March 26, 2011 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)
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2011 Season in Review is a Big D Soccer series that recaps the performances of players and coaching staff while looking at pros, cons, the best moment, the worst moment and overall feelings on each individual's 2011 season.

The transfer signing of Colombian U20 star Fabian Castillo right before the start of the 2011 signaled quite the change of philosophy at Pizza Hut Park. Myself, and many others, were highly skeptical of the rumors surrounding FCD and the young Colombian simply because the team has never been known to pay a transfer fee in the past, much less the sizable number it would take to bring Castillo to Frisco. However, the move was finalized on March 6th as you saw here in what was rumored to be a $750k deal. After the signing, I speculated that the move was about improving team speed and a possible look to a 4-4-2, and a few of the reactions from you:

Drew Epperley:

High risk, high reward Boy this is going to be one interesting week here in Dallas. I look forward to seeing this kid when he comes up here.


So happy for this kid and for FCD. Major props to Gorman, Schellas and the FO for having the guts to invest in youth with major upside rather than declining veterans who are known quantities to sell a few tickets with marginal on-pitch contribution. Whether or not this pans out, I applaud the move and hope this is a sign of things to come.

Let's look at the pros, cons and more from the kid who doesn't turn 20 until June of next year


A change in philosophy Much like jyj said, whether this deal works out or not, the fact that the owners were willing to spend money on a kid that Oscar Pareja and co. were high and and could afford to buy is a move that should be applauded. Castillo is a huge, huge part of the Dallas attack in the coming years and short of Brek Shea, the player with the highest potential on the squad.

Combines very well with David Ferreira Granted it was a very limited amount of time, but Fabian Castillo and David Ferreira spent about 3 games on the field together and combined very well while on the pitch. This bodes very well in 2012 as an attacking combination of Shea, Ferreira, Castillo and a starting quality forward is pretty formidable.

19 years old When I get frustrated at the kid, I remind myself he's just 19 years old and won't be 20 until the middle of next season. In a team with lots of young talent, the progression of Fabian Castillo may be the most fun player to watch as we ready ourselves for the sale of Brek Shea to Europe. There's definitely a ton of talent in Castillo and he is a player that made a bigger impact in MLS than Brek Shea did at 19 years old. He's got blinding speed and cuts in well off the wings.

Low Salary The MLS salary list has Fabian Castillo at just $42k a year. I'm not really sure how accurate this is as there may have been some funny math going on with that and his transfer fee, but Castillo should be at a very manageable salary for a player of his talent.

Best Moment of the Season

It was very tough to decide as there's two candidates. The best individual moment had to be scoring his first goal against Los Angeles and then the David Ferreira tribute. However, his best game was far and away the Philadelphia home game where he terrorized a Union defense that had not allowed two goals in a game for a goal and an assist. Let's just watch both of them.

Castillo goal at 4:00

FC Dallas 2 - 0 Philadelphia Union


Where does he fit? The biggest worry for me with Castillo is finding exactly where he fits with the FC Dallas offense. If Dallas moves to a 4-4-2, it's very easy to see. However, I don't see that happening as long as David Ferreira is a part of this club and that makes it difficult to find the young Colombian's spot. The left side is held down by Brek Shea while Marvin Chavez has the right wing on lock. I think I'd like to see how Castillo would work as the lone forward, alternating positions with Chavez during the game. He is a better finisher than Jackson and as I mentioned previously, links up well with Ferreira. For the beginning of 2012, however, I do see him as a super sub off the bench.

Fell off the map after U20 World Cup It's tough to say exactly why, probably a mix of his mysterious spine injury and the overall struggles of the FCD offense, but Castillo wasn't really heard from after leaving for the U20 World Cup in June. I've harped in the past on how young talent is inconsistent, so I'm not really too worried about it as I think some time off will bring him back stronger than ever in 2012, but his end to this season was pretty forgettable.

Final Thoughts

Castillo showed a ton in the first two months of the season as arguably the most dangerous attacker on the roster behind Shea. It's tough to really hold too much of the final months of the season against him as there was just nothing going on anywhere offensively on the roster and you don't blame the 19 year old for that. When healthy with the team firing on all cylinders, Castillo was a major part of things that defenses had to account for and I expect him to take another big step forward next year with David Ferreira back in the middle of things.

2011 season rating: B