FRISCO, Texas -- After months of scouting and traveling in search of the right striker, FC Dallas have found their guy in 18-year-old Fabián Castillo of Colombian side Deportivo Cali.
A member of the Colombian Under-20 national team, Castillo is judged by many to be one of the top prospects in his country. FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman has equally high hopes of what his new signing can accomplish in MLS.
“We are happy to have Fabian Castillo with the team,” Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com by phone from Arizona, where the team is currently training. “He will continue to grow with us and hopefully he can adjust and be a contributor to the team and get himself out there to do the things that we think he can do. I think he is going to be a player that is going to come in and make our league better.”
Castillo joins a club already loaded with South American players, including three Colombian compatriots in MLS MVP David Ferreira, forward Milton Rodriguez and left back Jair Benitez.
Since bringing on Hyndman as head coach midway through the 2008 season, FC Dallas have been aggressive in mining South American talent. Ferreira, in particular, has become a key cog in the team’s success with its fast-paced, possession game.
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“We have been very fortunate to get some extremely talented players that we believe are good players and help us in our style of play,” Hyndman said. “And just as important is that they are good human beings with good character.”
In Castillo, FC Dallas have acquired a player who Hyndman says, “has tremendous quickness and speed and the ability to stop on the dime, put on the brakes and go in a different direction.”
Those skills have resulted in European interest in Castillo, including from Portuguese powerhouse Benfica. He is expected to be one of the stars for Colombia in the upcoming FIFA Under-20 World Cup that will be hosted by the South American country in July.
After developing in the Deportivo Cali youth system, Castillo finally got his chance with the first team in 2010. He scored three goals in 17 appearances en route to the 2010 Copa Colombia.
The natural question is how the acquisition of Castillo, who joins an FCD forward corps consisting of Ruben Luna and Rodríguez, will fit into the 4-1-4-1 formation employed in recent years by FC Dallas. Hyndman indicated that the tactics may be about to change.
“I think first of all we are in a 4-1-4-1 formation more out of necessity than anything else,” Hyndman said. “I think at the same time it’s been a very, very productive formation for us.”
By productive, Hyndman cited consecutive Golden Boot seasons by Kenny Cooper and Jeff Cunningham in 2008 and '09, respectively, and more recently, the MVP year by Ferreira last season. All came in the 4-1-4-1 formation.
“There are a lot of strengths and there are obviously weaknesses in the system," Hyndman said, "but I think from where I’m looking at it, we could very well go into a 4-4-2 with the right type of players. You may have a system of choice and I think anybody that knows me knows that my choice has always been a 4-4-2.”