BRADENTON, Fla. (Saturday, Feb. 22) – Behind a goal and two assists from Fabian Castillo, FC Dallas defeated NASL side Fort Lauderdale Strikers, 6-1, tonight at IMG Academy Stadium in Bradenton, Fla.
Fort Lauderdale got on the board first in the eighth minute when Aly Alberto Hassan found a pocket of space in-behind the FC Dallas defense. Fort Lauderdale’s Carlos Salazar played a ball in to the feet of Hassan and the forward knocked a hard shot beyond the reach of FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz and into the back of the net.
FC Dallas quickly evened the score nine minutes later when Fabian Castillo streaked up the left flank, around a defender, tip-toed down the end line and centered a pass for Blas Perez with the goal at his mercy. The Panamanian striker didn’t disappoint, hammering a hard shot high into the top right side of the net to tie the game 1-1 and score his fourth goal in the last two preseason games.
Just as on Wednesday, FC Dallas scored twice in short succession when Je-Vaughn Watson switched the point of attack from left to right in the 19th minute. Michel was there to receive the long pass, bringing the ball down with his right foot before slipping a pass inside to Castillo with his left. The young Colombian struck the ball hard with his first touch, beating Fort Lauderdale goalkeeper Lionel Brown to make it 2-1.
Castillo continued to dominate on the left flank, burning past another defender in the 31st minute before crossing a dangerous lofted ball to the back post. Right back Kellyn Acosta came forward from his defensive position and rose above his marker to nod home Dallas’ third goal of the half.
Perez picked up his second goal of the game just before halftime to make it 4-1 in favor of the MLS side. Je-Vaughn Watson set up the goal with a low, hard cross that beat Strikers’ goalkeeper Lionel Brown and enabled Perez to knock a simple pass into the back of the net.
Dallas equaled its goal output from Wednesday night’s 5-1 win against the University of South Florida in the 57th minute when Andrew Jacobson chipped a short through-ball to Watson. The Jamaican caught the ball on his chest on his way through a pair of Strikers’ defenders and sped to the loose ball inside the area. Watson was a step quicker to the ball then Brown, and slipped a low shot into the right corner of the goal to extend Dallas’ lead.
New 22-year-old Colombian signing Andres Escobar made his FC Dallas debut in the 64th minute, when he came on for Acosta while Richard Sanchez made his mark on the game with a diving save on a free kick taken by Fort Lauderdale’s Manny Gonzalez in the 70th minute.
The scoring was finalized when Mauro Diaz earned a penalty kick for FC Dallas as he was tripped in the box in the 78th minute. Michel converted the penalty kick to make the score 6-1.
FC Dallas returns to Frisco for their final two weeks of preseason with only a match at the NASL’s San Antonio Scorpions on Saturday, March 1 left on their preseason schedule. FC Dallas opens the 2014 MLS season at Toyota Stadium on Saturday, March 8 vs. Montreal Impact presented by AdvoCare.
FTL: Aly Alberto Hassan 8
DAL – Blas Perez (Fabian Castillo) 17
DAL – Fabian Castillo (Michel) 19
DAL – Kellyn Acosta (Fabian Castillo) 31
DAL – Blas Perez (Je-Vaughn Watson) 44
DAL – Je-Vaughn Watson (Andrew Jacobson) 57
DAL – Michel (PK) 78
FC Dallas – Chris Seitz (Richard Sanchez 46), Jair Benitez, Moises Hernandez, Matt Hedges (Danny Garcia 69), Kellyn Acosta (Andres Escobar 64), Hendry Thomas (Victor Ulloa 60), Andrew Jacobson, Je-Vaughn Watson, Mauro Diaz (Aaron Meyer 85), Fabian Castillo (Coy Craft 84), Blas Perez (Jonathan Top 80).
Fort Lauderdale: Lionel Brown, Shawn Chin, Rafael Alves, Jahbari Garibaldi, Alen Flott, Nickardo Blake, Fafa Picaunt, Heitor Pinotti, Carlos Salazar, Darnell King, Aly Alberto Hassan.
DAL – Moises Hernandez (caution) 9
FTL – Aly Alberto Hassan (caution) 10
FTL – Shawn Chin (caution) 39
DAL - Blas Perez (Je-Vaughn Watson) 44
Referee: Andrew Pfeffercorn
Assistant Referees: Mark Cahen, Scott
Weather: Foggy, 70 degrees
FC Dallas midfielder Andrew Jacobson
Overall thoughts on the match
I think it was a complete performance both halves we executed what we wanted to do. We really knew what our intentions were and we went out and did it. Everyone was on the same page and knew what was expected of them and we did it.
Fabian Castillo was huge especially in the first half, how did you see his game?
Fabian is playing at a different level than he has in the past. He’s taken a very big jump and it’s a good start but we just need to push him to do that for a full season and give him the belief.
You return home to Dallas tomorrow after the week in Florida, how do you think this week went overall?
I think it went very well. We kept pushing our fitness, kept pushing tactically on what we want to do and it’s just a progression. We look to get a little bit better each week and this week we definitely got better.
Today was your first chance to play a game next to Hendry Thomas, your thoughts on the first game with Hendry?
He’s a very hard player, very strong, very smart. He’s always in the right spots and he’s just such a competent player. He knows exactly what he’s doing and I think everyone can build off that because everyone else knows what he’s doing so we can play off him. He plays a very good role in there.