By BRYAN ROBISON
FRISCO, Texas– On a night when three different Colombians scored goals, no Colombian player stood out more in Saturday's FC Dallas-Colorado Rapids tilt than Fabian Castillo, who helped Dallas beat the very man who helped bring him to Major League Soccer.
Castillo provided a goal and an assist to help lead FC Dallas to a 3-2 victory over the Rapids on Saturday night. Dallas shook off an early deficit to jump out to a 3-1 lead, and fought off a Rapids comeback before a Colorado red card allowed Dallas to take control and close out the victory.
The win helped FC Dallas climb up to sixth place in the Western Conference, jumping ahead of the Rapids and Chivas USA. Dallas sits seven points behind the LA Galaxy for the final playoff spot in the West.
The star of the night was Castillo, who drew praise from both coaches, including Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja, who helped Dallas sign Castillo when Pareja was a Dallas assistant.
"Fabian is maturing into the player we hoped he could be," Hyndman said. "I think also that Colorado is a good matchup for him. He wants to do well for Oscar, as Oscar was so important in him coming to Dallas. When Fabian first arrived, he stayed a month at Oscar's house."
When asked about how Castillo seems to do so well against him and his team, Pareja joked "I shouldn't have brought him here."
The first half brought a flurry of goals, as Colombian natives filled up the scoreboard with every attempt that hit the back of the net. The first score on the night belonged to the Rapids, with Jaime Castrillion scoring his team-leading sixth goal of the season in the twelfth minute. This was the MLS rookie's first goal since June 30th against Portland.
From there, the physicality between the two participants in the 2010 MLS Cup Championship became much more heated, as there were quite a few yellow card worthy tackles and hits, yet the referees let the teams play on. That seemed to play in Colorado's favor, as they were getting the better of the home squad, and visibly frustrating Dallas teammates David Ferreira and Jair Benitez. But FC Dallas would have their revenge.
After a 38th minute tackle by Hunter Freeman on Brek Shea saw Colorado receive their first yellow card, FC Dallas immediately turned the tables. First, it was Castillo, who has enjoyed most of his success in 2012 against Colorado. The speedy forward found his way at the top of the box and drilled a shot past the diving Matt Pickens for his third goal on the season, and second this year against the Rapids.
Just three minutes later, Jair Benitez had a free kick from 25 yards out. Facing his first career MLS goal, the Colombian knocked in the left-footed shot that head coach Schellas Hyndman said "David Beckham would have been proud of" to put Dallas up 2-1 and turn the tides in the final five minutes of the half.
After the break in action, Dallas came out in the second half just like they had ended the first half. Fabian Castillo again saw himself open at the top of the box, this time attacking the net and serving it up to a wide-open David Ferreira, who knocked in his first goal on the year. The goal not only gave Ferreira's squad a two-goal lead, but also gave Ferreira his first goal since April 17th, 2011. The former MLS MVP missed over fourteen months of action due to a broken leg he suffered in May of last year.
"It was so great to see David score a goal," said Hyndman. "I gave a halftime message and told the team that we were losing the midfield. I told them not to hesitate the first 5-7 minutes, and they didn't."
Colorado Rapids head coach, and former FC Dallas player and assistant coach Oscar Pareja agreed with Hyndman's assessment.
"We had the game in our control until the last five minutes," said Pareja. "It was very competitive and getting chippy. The referee has to control the game much earlier than he did tonight."
Colorado would not go out without a fight, though. Jeff Larentowicz joined the action in the 55th minute to bring the Rapids within a goal.
Unfortunately, Larentowicz and his hair was not the only red Colorado saw on the night, as Jaime Castrillon was shown a red card after kicking a downed George John following an attempted tackle. The match's opening goal scorer was escorted out, and Colorado was forced to play a man down for the final twenty minutes.
They were never able to recover, as FC Dallas held on to the 3-2 lead, preserving their second win in their last three home matches. In those three matches, they have scored eight goals.
FC Dallas will next travel to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps on Wednesday night for the first of a three-game road trip.Meanwhile, Colorado will return home to Dick's Sporting Goods Park, as they will face Chivas USA next Saturday night.
Here are the match highlights: