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A Hole on the Right Wing and Our Hearts

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With Michael Barrios off to Colorado, a huge piece of Dallas’ identity is gone with it. Let’s celebrate Michael Barrios’ tenure in Frisco.

MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy at FC Dallas Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

When Michael Barrios signed with FC Dallas in 2015, the speedy goal scorer arrived at the right time for a Dallas club ready to unleash a revamped attack. Fabian Castillo roamed on the left side of the field, emerging as a threat and nightmare for defenses to deal with, while Barrios promised to bring a crucial balance on the right, challenging opponents to pick their poison. Who do you focus on? Who do you stop?

Though Castillo was likely the higher rated of the duo and got more press and hype, it was Michael Barrios who ended up being a steal of a signing.

Before forcing a transfer to Turkey, Fabian finished his MLS career with 34 goals and 30 assists, while Barrios has registered 31 goals and 44 assists through a similar number of games. For a guy who was never a Designated Player and never took up a huge chunk of the team’s budget, that’s incredible value.

On top of his on the field production, I don’t believe we ever had a single rumor about Barrios instigating dissent or drama within the club’s culture. He quietly and professionally went to work week in and week out, a steady presence and a good teammate (as far as we know). He stayed healthy and found crucial goals to keep the team’s hopes alive. Can you ask for much more?

Sure, like Castillo, Barrios was streaky. He could go for stretches with whiffs and half-chances. It would be frustrating to watch him get in a dangerous position then make the wrong decision, although let’s be clear he was never as bad as Fabian Castillo in that area.

But when he was on for this team, he was ON, a true difference maker.

If there was one team that hated to welcome Michael Barrios to their house, it had to be Sporting Kansas City for performances like that above. I don’t know if Barrios had success against SKC because he didn’t like them or they never really matched up well against the winger, but Mikey was a terror against the former Wiz. I’m half surprised that Peter Vermes didn’t make a play for the Columbian, just to be sure he no longer brought damage and chaos to their matches. The nightmare may not be over, as now Kansas City will have to see Barrios line up against them in Colorado for the immediate future.

What’s clear is that 2020 was a weird year for everyone, Barrios no exception. He’s been such a trooper for this team, but the break in play made it difficult for him to get his groove back, finishing the season with just 1 goal and 5 assists. Eventually, Gonzalez turned to other players to try to get a spark going down the stretch. Barrios was relegated to bench duty.

I know we had a lot of back chatter about what this season meant for Barrios.

Was it just a one off weird season that should be graded on a curve?

Was Barrios ready for a change of scenery?

Or were we seeing the decline of a player who had hit his peak the last few years and now would need to figure out how to impact the games without relying on his speed and creativity in the same ways as before?

Colorado gives Mikey a chance to answer that question, and I don’t envy FC Dallas visiting altitude to see him lineup against them. My gut is you can expect Barrios to find another gear for a season or two as opponents struggle with their oxygen. Regardless of how he does, we were privileged to see such a great winger in his prime in Frisco, one of the best signings that FC Dallas ever made. He leaves a big hole - on the wing and in the hearts of a lot of FC Dallas fans.

Thank you for everything, Mikey!