Well that was just nice wasn't it? The biggest road victory in club history for FC Dallas on Saturday was just flat out nice. I know on Saturday I wrote up in the preview and prediction post that the club would lose due to the injuries and quick turnaround but man it was nice to be proven extremely wrong about that.
The 5-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes was the largest in club history and as crazy as it sounds when you look at this season, FC Dallas has gone to win back to back road games for the first time in who knows how long and earn back to back road shutouts since I believe 2005. Yeah, Saturday night was a good night to be a FC Dallas fan where ever you may have been.
Castillo's time has come
What more can you say about the young Colombian? Ten games with at least a goal or an assist for Fabian Castillo across league play and US Open Cup matches. Just ridiculous.
I'll let Oscar Pareja explain what we are seeing with Castillo though.
He has a better understanding of what his responsibilities are without the ball. When you have a player that becomes a team player, success will follow. He has grown immensely at being a team player. Now he's sacrificing, working harder and making the right tactical movements. Everything is coming together for him.
That last sentence is really the key in that statement. Everything is coming together for him. Goals. Assists. The way he is reading the game. The way he is playing with this team. Everything.
Castillo has gone from a player that most of us cringed when watching him on the ball to a guy that truly is living up to that potential we all thought he had based on his first touch on the ball a couple years back when he first landed with the club.
Saturday was just another example of a young player that has taken the team on his shoulders and is carrying them potentially into the playoffs.
Character of the team
Again I will point out the character of this team. In years past a loss like Tuesday night in the USOC would have killed this team and potentially wrecked the season. But this group is not like the ones we have seen in the years past. Maybe that has something to do with how Pareja coaches this team or maybe it is just a factor of the overall character of this entire group.
It just seems like everything this team gets knocked down, they get right back up and prove folks wrong, including myself.
Pareja did himself some big favors this past week though by giving the team a day off before traveling west. He also played the cards well when getting guys like Ryan Hollinsghead minutes and being able to put Jair Benitez and Kellyn Acosta back on the field.
The team definitely took that day to heart and came back more focused than ever. Tesho Akindele used that time off to get ready to score a hat trick. The defense used that time to earn their second straight shutout.
Right now the unbeaten run in league play is up to nine games where FCD is out scoring teams 20-8. The team isn't just clicking on offense but they are cleaning up things more so in the back.
The road ahead gets tougher
While all of this has been great over the last nine games, the road won't get any easier from here on out (maybe outside of a game or two). Just ten games left. Yeah, just ten. The margin of errors to reach the playoffs this season are thin based on how tight the playoff race is.
You could pretty much argue that San Jose and Chivas are out of things right now. Nine points out of the final spot, Chivas doesn't have any games in hand at the moment. While San Jose does, this past weekend proved they are a long way away from a playoff spot.
Right now there appears to be a two team race at the top of the West with RSL and Seattle. I'm not going to get ahead of myself by saying FCD needs to be in that conversation just yet but should they get by RSL this week, I may change my mind. LA was in that thought but they're really starting to be too inconsistent for my thinking.
That means the final three spots come down to FCD, LA, Vancouver, Portland and Colorado. LA has the games-in-hand.
This past weekend proved to be big not just because of the 5-0 win for FCD but because of the other results. LA lost big, Seattle lost, Colorado lost big and then Vancouver and Portland both tied in their games.
There is still a ton to be played but FCD should begin to feel some confidence about where this team is heading.