Fabian Castillo relishing another game with Pareja's Rapids

FRISCO, Texas -- There’s no doubt about it, Fabian Castillo loves to face the Colorado Rapids.

At least for as long as Oscar Pareja is their head coach.

“It’s always special and motivates me to play when Oscar [Pareja] is there,” Castillo said through a translator on Friday. “God willing, we can get three points again against Colorado this Saturday.”

The 20-year-old Colombian had arguably the two best games of his 2012 season against Pareja’s Rapids, tallying a goal and an assist in each of the final two meetings of the season. Castillo will always be linked to Pareja, a man who was instrumental in uprooting the precocious winger from his hometown of Cali, Colombia and bringing him to FC Dallas at the tender age of just 18 years old.

“I think a lot of it is emotional,” Schellas Hyndman said of Castillo’s performances against Colorado. “Oscar and I both went to Colombia to look at him and evaluate him when he was 18 years old. He lived with Oscar for, I think, three weeks to get sorted out. There’s definitely a connection there with him and his family.”

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The timing for Saturday’s game against Colorado couldn’t be much better for Castillo, as he seems to be rounding into his best form of the young 2013 campaign. The Colombian speedster scored his second game-winning goal of the season in Saturday’s 1-0 win over San Jose, and while he didn’t score at Fort Lauderdale in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup action on Tuesday, the winger was arguably Dallas’ most dangerous player with a team-high three shots.

“I think right now, we’re focusing on helping him with his finishing,” said Hyndman. “I think it’s the one area that could separate him from going from a good player to a very good player, so we’re spending time with him. He’s embraced it and working hard on it daily.

“I thought his game against San Jose was one of his best games of the year. Not only did he score the game-winning goal, but he was a constant threat while connecting on passes and remaining focused throughout the game.”

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Perhaps most importantly, Hyndman mentioned how Castillo has been a constant threat throughout the match rather than the on-again off-again winger that we sometimes see. Castillo knows that to repeat last year’s performance at Colorado, he’ll need to be focused for the entire 90 minutes.

“We just need to concentrate,” Castillo said regarding the key to winning on Saturday. “I think if the whole team concentrates, especially as forwards, we can take the opportunities when they’re given to us.”