August 13, 2012
by Phil Stephens, Dallas Soccer News Editor
NO GLOOM, DOOM AMONG PLAYERS
Luna says FCD aiming for playoffs
In general, when asked, most journalists aren't counting on covering FC Dallas beyond its last regularly scheduled game Oct. 28 when it hosts Chivas USA. The odds are heavily stacked against them to earn a playoff spot and the way the season has gone, with its myriad injuries and suspensions, those odds are not improving all that much, even with the victory on Saturday over Colorado.
|Robert Luna, (center) Dallas' youngest player, not only played in FCD's 3-2 victory Saturday, he started and logged 90 minutes.
Photo by Michael Stephens
But in the wake of FCD's thrilling 3-2 victory Saturday at FC Dallas Stadium, Dallas players were not talking gloom and doom. The young Fabian Castillo had his best night of his FCD career, firing in the opening goal and assisting on the winning goal. David Ferreira passed a milestone for this season, scoring his first goal since returning to action just a few weeks ago.
Certainly FC Dallas Head Coach Schellas Hyndman noted Castillo's play, saying, “It’s a combination of three things. He’s maturing into the player we all hoped he would be. He’s got tremendous speed, quickness and he’s creating some really, really dangerous situations. The second thing is I think it was a good matchup for him. The third thing is he really wants to do well for Oscar [Pareja]. When he came to FC Dallas, he stayed a month in Oscar’s house to get acquainted with the culture and get comfortable. I know Oscar is very important in his life, so that’s something that is external motivation for him. I give him a lot of credit for trying to perform well.”
Pareja, of course, is now the Rapids' head coach and had the best seat in the house to see Castillo play his best game.
Luna showed some maturity beyond his years. As Dallas' youngest player on the field, he showed he has playoffs on his personal radar, beyond his first MLS start. After mentioning his starting role, he started talking about the playoffs.
“I’m happy.,” Luna said. “I’m happy because we won and happy because I played 90 minutes. This game was very important because now we have the chance to work to play in the playoffs. Despite everything that we’ve had to go through, today we needed a win and we won.”
Luna hit the nail on the head when he said, and its worth repeating, “Today we needed a win and we won.”
The Dallas mentor also did a bit of bragging on Ferreira, whose improvement shows more each week since coming back to the lineup May 19 after a year and a half's absence. In so many ways, how Ferreira goes, so goes FC Dallas.
“He held the ball up well,” Hyndman said. “He kept good possession of the ball and don’t underestimate how physical he is. He frustrated Colorado quite well. I know Drew Moor picked up a yellow card, just in retaliation and frustration of kicking at him, and he might have created another situation with another player on a card. So, I thought he did really well.
He was a last-minute substitution. Scott [Sealy] picked up a hip strain and to keep him healthy, we thought the best thing to do was to keep him out of the top 18 so that he will be ready to play the next games.”
FCD goalie Kevin Hartman kept on doing his thing, a very good thing between the pipes. The Dallas veteran had a workout in keeping the Rapids trailing, once Colorado fell behind. Hartman played a key role in leadership, both on the quick saves against Omar Cummings and his save on that almost looked like stopping a penalty shot. But Hartman knew the difference.
“I’d rather be out there than in a penalty-kick situation because at least there I’ve narrowed his angle and I’m in the position to maybe make a save,” Hartman said. “One of the things you get excited about as a player is when you realize how important the save was in terms of the timing.”
Even Luna was moved to comment on Ferreira's play, saying, “The team was feeling a little bit dominated during the first 15 minutes. We did not come out and get into a rhythm that we wanted to play. It was definitely the two stops of El Gato [Hartman] that pushed us and woke us up to push us forward.”