CASTILLO HOPES TO CLAIM LEFT BACK
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BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, September 2, 2011
The position of left back has long been the Achilles Heel of the US national team but Edgar Castillo is hoping for a solid effort in the upcoming friendlies to give the team a major boost moving forward.

Castillo, 24, is now back with US team for the third time in his career but unlike the two previous occasions, he will have the benefit of playing in a full camp to fit into the team.

"I am really happy to be called up again," Castillo told YA. "I've been called up twice before and the first time was a few years ago under Bob Bradley and I only played 30 minutes. Last month I got to play the full 90 and I am really excited to be back."

Like most of the players on the US team, Castillo is getting used to the coaching style of Jurgen Klinsmann who replaced Bob Bradley as coach in August. Castillo has so far been impressed initially by Klinsmann's relaxed approach.

When he was the coach of the German national team in 2006, Klinsmann earned the reputation as an offensive-minded coach that emphasized creativity. Castillo has found this to be true last month when he was encouraged to move forward into attack.

"He's a nice guy. He lets you play," Castillo stated. "He tells you what to do but he doesn't put pressure on you. Under him you are relaxed to play. He's a good coach. It's a different approach to the game than under Bob Bradley. Klinsmann was a great player and now as a coach he can teach you all the stuff he learned as a player. He knows what players think."

Castillo's game against Mexico last month in Klinsmann's debut was generally an uneven performance. In the first half, Castillo made noticeable mistakes with turnovers but he improved in the second half as the US team rallied for a 1-1 draw.

Castillo freely admits he was nervous on the occasion. The game had added meaning for him on two important and personal levels. On one hand, it was his first ever start for the United States and, second, it was a game against Mexico.

Castillo was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico to Mexican-born parents. As a young player, Castillo played for Mexico and he even started for El Tri's U-23 Olympic qualifying team in 2008. In 2009, he used his one-time switch to play for the United States.

Now playing for one of the biggest club's in Mexico at Club America, Castillo is still has many friends on the Mexican national team. It was a difficult experience for his first US start to come against a national team he once played for.

"I was a little nervous, to tell you the truth. I was nervous because it was my first US start and nervous because we were playing Mexico," Castillo admitted. "I played for Mexico in the past. I was nervous but as the game went on, the nerves went away."

Now with the US prepared to face Costa Rica and Belgium in the next few days, Castillo is excited and prepared.

"I think I'll still be a little bit nervous," Castillo discussed. "I'm always a little nervous but I'm also going to be excited. I am ready. Even if I don't play, I'll be happy to be there with the team."

Castillo has worked his way back into the US national team picture largely because of his recent play at Club American where he is the team's starting left back.

Castillo began his career with Santos Laguna and was a starter for the team that won the Mexican title in 2008. His solid play at Santos earned him a transfer to Club America in 2009.

Shortly after joining Club America his fortunes changed as he was set out on loan three consecutive times. He was first loaned to Tigres, then to San Luis, and finally to Puebla. With each passing loan he was earning fewer and fewer minutes.

During this past summer, however, his career has been rejuvenated in his return to Club America. Since the start of preseason, he has earned the trust of head coach Carlos Reinoso.

Looking back on the ups and downs of the recent years, Castillo is confident in his believe that the multiple loans have helped him as it has given him a new perspective on his career.

"It helped me," Castillo said of the three loans. "I've been all over the place. At San Luis I only played in [a few] games. At Puebla I played the first few games then I didn't even make the bench. But it all makes you think better and realize you belong to a club like America. When a club like America gives you a second chance to come back, I have to do my best. I'm doing my best."

Castillo is now playing in the high pressure of environment of one of Mexico's biggest clubs. He is aware of the pressure but attributes his growing maturity as the biggest factor that has helped him succeed this season.

"At a club like America, you always shoot to be the best team in Mexico," Castillo concluded. "It's a big club. If you don't do your best you could be gone. I'm more mature now. I have three kids. You have to look out for them so that they can have the best."
kent
Monday September 5, 2011 1:45 pm
Edgar Castillo should never wear the Crest again, plain and simple. If he starts against Belguim, it will say alot about Mr.Klinsmann.
Luke
Monday September 5, 2011 11:38 am
His play has not been good, plain and simple. He has given the ball away too much, misplays the ball in the air and has been barely an upgrade to Bornstein, which is not consistent with all the hype. Jose Torres has played well in his second chance, but Castillo has done nothing to take the spot everyone seems to give him. If he gets badly outplayed against Belgium, how long before we start calling it like it is? Different coach and different LB, but same situation. Hanging on to a player because you want to be right, not because his play warrants it.
Danillo
Sunday September 4, 2011 12:03 pm
Edgar had a great 1st half. Just like everybody else tailed off in the 2nd half. I like his recovery defense. A upgrade from Bornstink.
Luis Ramon
Saturday September 3, 2011 9:35 am
Was at HDC last night and thought Castillo showed poise and I really like his speed in the position. Also, he pushed up during most of the match as JK wanted him to do.

After reading interview and article I believe Castillo showed he can be a good fit for Team USA but definitely agree with Alex comment you got to have depth on the squad.
smith
Friday September 2, 2011 10:42 pm
what is this site's pre-occupation with Castillo? you guys were pimping hard on his behalf for the past year, then he goes out there vs Mexico and looks like a player 3-4 levels below an international and your columnists did not have the guts to call it like it is... "uneven performance" ? it was awful-flat out... the turnovers without any pressure, the bad positioning, the misplays of balls in the air and on the ground... there was absolutely nothing redeeming about it...

I hope he turns out to be the answer-but to rip Bornstein a new one and go easy on Castillo is inconsistent.
joe ham
Friday September 2, 2011 4:59 pm
Castillo is good! And he is American. Duals or sons of immigrants know what I mean.

GO USA
jordan
Friday September 2, 2011 1:14 pm
Edgar is good
Alex
Friday September 2, 2011 12:21 pm
The most important thig is that Klinsmann never stop looking for LB's. Just because somebody is good now doesn't mean he'll be good a year from now or will be injured. We need depth at all positions so JK can call upon whomever is fit and playing well. If players sense opportunity they will flock to the position.
DougieB11
Friday September 2, 2011 12:07 pm
I'm not tat big a fan of Castillo, for a guy that is supposed to have great speed MB made number of covering runs. I also think he needs to get stronger if he has any chance of being a regular.

Personally I still think the job is Eric Lichaj's until someone shows they can play it better. Though now is the time for Edgar to show that he can cut it with Eric down for roughly 4 months.
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