What we said at the end of 2016:
Dennis Castillo, Kortne Ford, and possibly Liam Callahan are on hand to apprentice.
2017 Counting Stats:
MLS Regular Season: 3 GP, 3 GS, 0 G, 0 A, 244 min, 1 YC
US Open Cup: 2 GP, 2 GS, 1 G, 1 A, 180 min, 1 YC
w/ Charlotte USL: 11 GP, 10 GS, 2 G 0 A, 875 min, 0 YC
2016 Stats: 4 GP, 1 GS, 1 G, 1 A, 123 min, 1 YC
Castillo scored the game-winning goal in the Rapids US Open Cup fourth round victory against OKC Energy on June 27th. Earlier in the game, he also tallied an assist to Dominique Badji.
In terms on on-field play, there really isn’t one. I suppose getting shipped back to Charlotte on August 11 might count as his low. That move was likely a function of the signing of Stefan Aigner , which put the team over their limit for international slots, and not because of Castillo’s game performance. That probably sucked for Castillo; he was good enough to deserve to play for the Rapids but he wasn’t good enough to force one of the other 6 international players onto a plane to North Carolina.
For some reason that I don’t understand, Dennis Castillo just doesn’t rate for the Colorado Rapids front office. In terms of his on-field performance this season, he’s been very good. Castillo got into five matches this season. In MLS regular season, he played in a loss away to Atlanta, a win at home against Houston, and a loss at home against Seattle in the big July 4th game. In the US Open Cup, Castillo played in both of the Rapids matches: a 3-2 win over OKC Energy in which Castillo got a goal and an assist, and a loss on the road against FC Dallas.
Castillo was pretty solid in all of those matches. He provided great service into the box - he had a gorgeous cross in the July 4 game * that should have been converted for a goal - and generally was a good offensive fullback, providing solid passing. Defensively, he was only really guilty of one error that lead directly to a goal, as he got beat by his man in the Open Cup to give OKC their opening goal.
Each season I’ve watched him, he has a moment or two early in his first game when he turns over the ball in a bad spot, and then he recovers and has a nice tidy game for the Rapids. He got more playing time in MLS this year than last year as a result of steady improvement. But he still didn’t get that much - he had the 3rd fewest minutes on the team, ahead of only Ricardo Perez and Sam Hamilton. Based on his playing time and his being loaned out, the coaching staff still puts him on the depth chart behind Eric Miller, Mike da Fonte, and Mekeil Williams, and I don’t understand it.
At 24 years old, Dennis is moving past the stage where he’s young and promising. As a Costa Rican international, he would take up one of the Rapids international slots if he’s on their roster. That’s a significant impediment for him, since the Rapids are close to or at the max on internationals, and are likely looking to sign some players in the offseason that come from abroad. To this point, the Rapids haven’t trusted him to be the starting right back, and with the need for roster construction, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to use a precious international slot on a a backup fullback.**
Based on all this, I sense that we’ll see a major decision for Castillo very soon; fish or cut bait. Either the Rapids go all in on him, and plan for a 2018 tandem of Miller at LB and Castillo RB, or he’s released so that someone else can take a flyer on him. Clearly, I think you know where I stand. I still don’t think we’ve really seen Dennis Castillo get a chance for the Rapids. Having a cheap starting right back frees up money that can be spent in other places, and you can still take another right back with potential in the Superdraft or from Europe or Central America if it doesn’t seem to be working out midseason. Considering how poor the Rapids defense was in 2017, what have we really got to lose going forward?
2017 Grade: Incomplete
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* That July 4th backline for the Rapids, due to injury and squad rotation, was, left to right; Williams, Miller, da Fonte, and Castillo. 1) Castillo was the best of the four on the night. 2) It was as bad as you’d imagine it would be. That game could have ended 5-0.
** He could always get a Green Card, which would convert him to a domestic player for MLS roster rules. Micheal Azira and Axel Sjoberg are considered domestic players because they have Green Cards. But hey, I’m not an immigration attorney.