While the clock began to wind down on FC Dallas’ 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union, dark clouds began to lurk over Toyota Stadium. As the clouds rolled in, Fabian Castillo tried a shot that he drug just wide of the far post.
Castillo then went down out of play just in front of the Dallas Beer Guardians. Castillo had injured his aductor. While Castillo had to be stretchered off the field, head coach Oscar Pareja said the injury is not as severe as it seemed.
“I think [Castillo] will be back soon,” Pareja said. “He will be fine. It’s a muscular problem and that can be healed soon.”
Pareja believes Castillo will be back in two or three weeks. FC Dallas would like him back as soon as possible. The Colombian international continued right where he left off last season, picking up a goal and three shots on target on Opening Day.
Castillo’s opening goal was backed by Maximiliano Urruti’s first regular season goal in a FC Dallas shirt. Urruti also was a big help in creating space with a chance created and three shots on target.
An unsung hero for FC Dallas was newcomer Carlos Gruezo, who made his first start for Dallas. Gruezo was signed from VfB Stuttgart in the winter, and made his mark immediately known despite not showing up on the scoresheet.
Gruezo made an outstanding tackle, then found Mauro Diaz who found Castillo for the goal. Gruezo covered massive amounts of ground in the midfield, and completed 62.2 percent of his passes in 90 minutes of play. Diaz also picked up his first of two assists on that play.
Despite this, Gruezo thinks the best is still to come from him and FC Dallas. It is only the first game of the season after all.
“I think we’re still feeling a little heavy from the preseason,” Gruezo said through a translator. “My main function is recovering the ball. I believe my job is to make it easier for my teammates.”
FC Dallas should have had more goals, as they had no problem picking the Philadelphia defense apart. The finishing could have been better, but that is water under the bridge, for now.
The FC Dallas defense really shined in Saturday’s clean-sheet. Pareja rolled out a never before seen backline of Maynor Figueroa, Walker Zimmerman, Matt Hedges and Atiba Harris.
While Figueroa is the only newcomer to FC Dallas, the four had never played together in a regular season match. It did not phase the group as they kept Philadelphia off the score sheet, and only forced Jesse Gonzalez to make two saves.
FC Dallas played great defense last season, and it seems as if the defensive unit that has had a year and pre-season to grow together will be able to perform no matter the four Pareja puts out there.
“I think this preseason has been the most competitive preseason, we as a whole group, has had,” Zimmerman said. “You look at each position and the goal is to have people who could step in day one and start, and I think that’s what we have created here.”