FRISCO, Texas – Ugo Ihemelu may have scored the game-winning goal, but the true difference maker in FC Dallas’ 1-0 win against New England on Thursday night was forward Fabián Castillo.
The 19-year-old phenom (pictured above, in June 2011) had missed Dallas' last three games due to a knee contusion but returned to the field in electrifying fashion. Castillo helped stretch the field as FC Dallas switched to a 4-4-2 formation and penetrated the box with ease.
“This is Fabián’s first game back in four weeks,” FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman said. “I thought he was extremely dangerous, especially early in the game when he had his legs under him.”
Castillo created a number of opportunities for his teammates, but FC Dallas failed to convert time and time again. Castillo got his chance to be the hero in the 91st minute but New England goalkeeper Matt Reis made a sensational save.
“I was happy to be back out there with my team,” Castillo said. “What I want is to be able to be out there on the field. I have a lot of joy because I was able to contribute to our win. We put all our effort out there, and that’s why we were able to come away with the win at the end.”
Although he admitted he was getting frustrated throughout the night as his team failed to capitalize, he said it was satisfying to help end FC Dallas’ two-game losing streak.
“When you create opportunities and you don’t finish them, there is always a chance the opposition is going to finish their own chances,” Castillo said. “You’re always asking yourself why goals aren’t going in. You start thinking about all the negatives, but thankfully at the end of the game Ugo was able to get us three points.”
Despite the stellar play, Castillo showed signs of fatigue down the stretch. The Colombian striker admitted that he is not at full strength yet, but said he will be putting in extra work this week to ensure he does not get winded in FC Dallas’ next match against Montreal on April 14 (7:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest Plus).
“The truth is I don’t feel 100 percent,” Castillo said. “The rest of the players on our team have been playing all of the games. I’m working towards that, and the team is helping me knowing that I’m coming off of an injury. I just need this match play to get back to the same level as everybody else.”