FRISCO, Texas — Possessing natural speed and plentiful amounts of energy, the FC Dallas forward tandem of Marvin Chávez and Fabián Castillo is rounding into form for the Western Conference’s second-best team.
“I think [Chávez] and Castillo are two of the most dynamic, aggressive, athletic players when you put the two of them together with speed,” FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman on Wednesday afternoon.
Each player began their seasons lined up along the flanks, using their lightning quick movements and step-overs to stymie defenders.
But shortly after the injury to star David Ferreira at the end of April, Hyndman changed formations from the Ferreira-oriented 4-1-4-1 to Hyndman’s preferential 4-4-2, moving Castillo and Chávez to forward, a position the Honduran says he had never played before in his career.
“The last few games are the first games I have played as a forward," said Chávez. "The coach wanted me to play up there and I am doing the work that the coach wants me to do.”
While the goals aren’t exactly pouring in for each of them, the Honduran national-teamer and Colombian Under-20 are giving opposing teams all sorts of trouble. Chávez currently leads FC Dallas in assists with four and the 18-year-old Castillo has adjusted well to the league with two goals and two assists through 12 games.
“I feel calm and I feel happy at forward doing work for the team, getting satisfying results and raising the team’s level of play,” Chávez said.
Added Castillo: “At the beginning, I wasn’t quite ready, but now it’s about working hard and taking advantage of the moment.”
Their burgeoning partnership on the field is complemented by their off-the-field friendship. During a break in training sessions or on a regeneration day, Castillo and Chávez often play around shooting penalty kicks at one another or playing soccer tennis.
“Fabián is an interesting player, a very dynamic player,” Chávez said. “He is an excellent person and very happy. We are doing great work together and we hope to continue playing in the same manner that we have been."
Their recent play, particularly last weekend at Houston, demonstrated that good things come with time. In the 25th minute at Robertson Stadium, Chávez received the ball after defender Jackson Gonçalves regained possession.
Chávez held the ball along the right sideline, helping teammates get forward before finding Castillo to his left. Castillo took two dribbles and rattled the crossbar with his left-footed shot, creating an easy rebound for Andrew Jacobson to head in for a 1-0 lead.
“I think that the team right now is a band of brothers,” Castillo said. “The team is fighting and it’s a very good team. It’s a team where everyone works together.”