COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (August 28, 2018) – The Colorado Rapids have had a terrible season. They just suffered one of their worst losses in club history over the weekend, a 6-0 blowout at the hands of Real Salt Lake. There have been few bright spots this season, but one undoubtedly has been left wing back Edgar Castillo.
Edgar Castillo: The 2018 Colorado Rapids MVP who needs to be re-signed
Castillo came to the Rapids during the off-season on a one-year loan deal from Liga MX club C.F. Monterrey. The New Mexico native had spent his entire professional career playing in Mexico before coming to MLS. The loan deal did not involve a DP spot or Targeted Allocation Money.
The 31-year-old’s loan deal will expire at the end of the season. He didn’t play a lot in 2017 and at his age, his stock is probably declining. He’s unlikely to be a starter in the 2019 Clausura. Recently, Castillo stated recently that he wants to stay with Colorado.
If there’s anything the Rapids front office needs to urgently secure for 2019, it’s a permanent transfer deal for Castillo’s 2019 services. There is a precedent to suggest that most (if not all) external MLS loan deals have a pre-arranged option-to-buy transfer fee for the loaned player.
It’s unclear how large that fee might be, but how Monterrey values Castillo, it might be a reasonable or bargain price.
“Eddie’s been fantastic. He’s a brilliant character and someone you want on your team. He can be a real threat,” said head coach Anthony Hudson.
Even if it takes some haggling, the Rapids need to lock down Castillo for 2018. He’s been the 2018 season MVP so far. He’s started and gone 90 minutes in all but three league games this season. He leads the Rapids in assists with 5 and is tied for the team Golden Boot among active Rapids with 3 goals.
The plays he’s made have been spectacular. He’s regularly been able to outplay his wide defending opposition, mostly by cutting inside to set up a teammate for a shot at the top of the box or by shooting quickly himself to catch the goalkeeper off guard. He’s a weapon when he overlaps and is able to receive the ball in space.
Even with almost a season’s worth of film, opponents haven’t been able to slow him down. The only games where Castillo has been completely neutralized has been when the opponent has an elite winger on his side of the field holding him in check, preventing him from getting forward. While effective, it requires a personal and tactical commitment from the opposing manager.
“We’re looking for Eddie all the time. We know if we get him the ball, he’s going to do something special. He’s scored a few good goals. Everytime he gets [into the box, he’s going to try and score,” said midfielder Jack Price.
Castillo remains the most consistent offensive threat for a team desperately in need of offense. Even if his salary is tripled (he’s due to make $130,000 this year), he’s still a great value. He’s said he wants to stay. Monterrey are probably willing to part ways with him. If the Rapids are going to make the playoffs in 2019, they’ll need Castillo or someone better at left back.