FC Dallas has moved on here without Fabian Castillo for the better part of a couple weeks now. They’ve posted a solid 2-0-1 record across two different competitions without him but now that things are official, how will the team really be?
The Godfather of Big D Soccer, Daniel Robertson, posted this tweet late last week that got us thinking.
Food for thought: FCD is a *different* team without Castillo on the field but are they a *worse* team?— Daniel Robertson (@DRobertsonFCD) August 5, 2016
Our staff give us their take and answer to the question for this week’s Quick Burns.
Jason Poon - Team will win without him
Absolutely not. Castillo’s role on his club, at least for this year, has been a luxury offensive weapon. Dallas has not relied on Castillo’s offensive output for results, and obviously will not for the rest of the season.
The argument that teams can zero in on Mauro Diaz is also faulty. Diaz was and is, always the first option you stop if you’re the opposing team. That has not gone well for any team, even when Castillo was “out of form” for long stretches earlier this year.
If given the choice between having Castillo or not, I’m always in favor of having him, but I’ll give Pareja his due. This team will win without Fabian.
Edin Halilovic - Its a double-edged sword
Yes and no. Without Castillo, the team now lacks a key difference maker in attack and loses some of the rich repertoire that they possessed in a player that had flair, explosiveness, and dynamism etched into his game and was always important in FCD’s attacking exploits.
However, at the same time, without him the team is more balanced overall, especially on the defensive end with someone like Ryan Hollingshead starting on that side now who is solid on both sides of the ball and is capable of offering more consistent defensive support for Maynor Figueroa than Castillo who did put in his fair share of work at times but was more often than not positioned higher up the pitch usually and played as more of a forward.
As Jason already pertained to above, having a player of Castillo’s talent and quality was more of a luxury for Dallas than anything, especially since the club already has a similarly explosive goal scorer on the wings with Michael Barrios on the other flank. The balance between defense and attack is better now than before which is crucial to have figured out when challenging for championships and is an important step in the right direction but losing a match winner like Castillo in the process could be a potential blow for the team as the season heats up and the decisive matches near across all three competitions.
So for me, I believe that Dallas should be fine without Castillo with there being at least one or two capable replacements for his position ready to step up to the plate but losing a key goal scorer and player is a blow, especially as the team will now have to rely mostly on the streaky Urruti, Tesho, and Barrios for goals whilst also seeing its offensive depth weakened in the process.
It’s a bit of a double edged sword but there’s no need to panic with the team still in a good position and with enough options to cope with the loss. However, we won’t truly know what the answer to the question is until we see how things play out later on in the year when it’s crunch time and if some of the aforementioned players above can step up and be counted upon with Fabian gone, which is something that they themselves must realize that they’ll have to do at some point in the near future.
Jared Tilley - Team is still in great shape
The key to Daniel’s tweet is the word ‘different.’ What exactly does that entail? For me, the front office and Papi were already changing FCD’s game plan. They have become a lot more defensive this year as well as more of a possession/build-up based offense. In a lot of ways, Portland showed teams how to stop Dallas so Oscar had to pivot to other options. I believe it has honestly been a blessing in disguise. This years team is a lot more dangerous than the FCD teams of the past. I don’t think the team will be that much different. The only change will be, instead of clearing the ball to let Fabian run onto it, the ball will be cleared for Urruti or Barrios.
Overall, I don’t think the team is worse than they were. I also don’t think they will be better. I honestly think it will be more of the same. They still have the homerun threat through Urruti and Barrios. Ryan Hollingshead will slide in to provide from the wide area and will probably offer more positional integrity. With the loss of Fabian, you might not have the player who can steal a game late for you or end up on SportsCenter, but you aren’t losing an irreplaceable player. Look at the smaller teams that have won MLS Cup. Portland, had a cohesive team effort for their run through the playoffs, same as Kansas City. In terms of the playoffs, I personally think the loss of Blas Perez is going to be harder to overcome than Fabian Castillo, but that argument is for another time.
I think this team is still in a great place. They still have their best player in Mauro and the most important in Hedges. Yes, it hurts to lose Fabian, but thats the nature of the business. I am still expecting big things from this team and am very excited about the future.
Drew Epperley - Addition by subtraction
I could be way off here but this entire time that we had to deal with Castillo leaving to go to Turkey in the manner that he did made me think this was going to be an addition by subtraction type move. Sure you are losing a massive weapon on offense but given the general moodiness that he brought to the team at times, you potentially gain a locker room that will fight just a little harder now to prove that they can still be the top team in MLS without him.
Mohammad Bushnaq - Might be better without
From a pure talent perspective, FC Dallas will be worse-off without Fabian Castillo. You just cannot replace that kind of speed in the lineup. From a team perspective, however, they will be better. Having Hollingshead (or whomever Pareja continues to select to replace Fabian) in the lineup really gives FC Dallas the chance to have that workhorse on the wings that may have been lacking with Fabi recently. As an all around team, they might just be better without him. Replace “Fabian Castillo” with “Mauro Diaz” in the question and you will see an entirely different slate of answers from our crew, for sure.