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The Splendid: Earth-Shaking Performance

Talk about a man-made natural disaster! FC Dallas lit up the Earthquakes on their home turf in very impressive fashion.

He's controlling the ball with his mind....
He's controlling the ball with his mind....
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

What a game, huh? I don't think any of us saw that one coming. Buck Shaw has never been kind to the Hoops. From Jair Benitez's missed penalty kick last year to this year's failure while being up a man to get a result, that stadium has haunted FC Dallas for a long time. They put those ghosts to rest with an absolute shellacking of the Earthquakes in front of their home crowd. The entire league watched in awe as the Hoops showed no mercy in California. Many positives to talk about in this one.

The Splendid

Fabi-Sho

These young men were something special on Saturday night. Fabian Castillo is something else right now. He continues to terrorize defenses on a weekly basis, putting incredible amounts of pressure on defenders to think quickly and make rash decisions. While that sometimes works in the defender's favor, you almost never see Castillo lose round two. He has them out-thinking themselves at times. We have all known that Fabian has the physical tools to compete on the professional level, but he continues to impress me this year with his improvements and growth mentally. Castillo is this team's MVP and I never thought that would be possible considering the start Mauro had to the beginning of the season.

Another impressive element to the FC Dallas offense has been Tesho's knack for being in the right place at the right time. We all know that Fabian, historically, has not been one of the best finishers inside the opposition penalty area. This year, we have seen someone continue to be committed to getting on the end of those chances Castillo creates on a timely basis. That individual is the effect of a leap of faith by FC Dallas management in Oscar Pareja and his scouting abilities. Tesho Akindele does all the dirty work for this team. It was about time he got rewarded for his continued commitment to following up efforts. Castillo creates (and sometimes finishes) the chances. When he does not finish them, you can count on Tesh.0 to be there for a crack at it.

Slick Vic

Hard work pays off for the FC Dallas academy product. It has been one of the most underrated MLS stories of the 2014 season, but Ulloa has been an absolute monster for the Hoops in 2014. Considering his contract was not renewed at the end of last season, there were doubts as to whether or not Vic would actually make this team. Oscar Pareja was quick to invite him back to camp with a chance to win a roster spot and Ulloa responded by playing well enough to earn that spot. Since that time and a few injuries later, Ulloa has been one of FC Dallas' most consistent players in one of the most important positions on the field. His play even deemed Andrew Jacobson expendable, shocking considering the fact that AJ was named captain by Pareja prior to the start of the season. Ulloa has even started getting more involved in the attack, unleashing shots on goal while continuing to work on his free kick taking abilities. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a young man succeed after it appeared his career was on the downward trend. It kind of makes you wonder what could have been with the other academy players who were unable to crack the lineup in the old FC Dallas regime. Regardless of the what-ifs, Victor is here and now. He is going to be an integral part of this team's playoff push. We have seen that Ulloa has character and resolve. He responded to adversity with excellence. That's a great quality to have in a player for any sport.

Hedges and Loyd

This partnership is really starting to blossom in the most extraordinary of circumstances. If you had told me at the beginning of the season that Zach Loyd and Matt Hedges would be starting in front of our keeper and doing well, I would have laughed at you. The reality is, nobody trusted this conversation would succeed except the most important individual on this team, Oscar Pareja. The flexibility of Zach Loyd coupled with the aerial prowess and leadership of Captain Matt Hedges contribute to a real synergistic relationship at the center of defense. I do not know if Loyd will continue to play at center back once the newest member of the team, Cabrera, is ready to suit up. If Acosta is ready to go this weekend, you could possibly see both of those players together on the pitch vs. Real Salt Lake, fascinating considering we all thought Kellyn was going to be Zach Loyd's replacement. Loyd and Hedges have been marvelous when called upon. The only question is whether or not Oscar sticks to it or makes changes to the lineup? Either way, these two have been our two best defensive players this year. They fight for the shirt with every opportunity they are handed.

Thoughts? Any honorable mentions you want to throw out there?