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Fireside Chat: Talking Fire v Dallas with Brian from Big D Soccer

"While FCD ... leads the table now, let's not forget the three times [they have] lost by four goals. ... this team is hot and cold ..."

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

In advance of tomorrow evening's Brimstone Cup clash, we talked to Brian Wachholz of Big D Soccer about the matchup.

HTiOT: Fabian Castillo is no secret in MLS circles, but it seems like the Colombian wing forward's stature has jumped up a notch in the last year. Which leads me to three (sub-)questions: How long can Dallas hold onto Castillo? How would they adapt to his departure? And how much money, in your opinion, should it take to secure FCD's cooperation - what's the fee you're looking for?

BDS: I don't think it is any matter of luck that Fabian Castillo signed a long term contract with FC Dallas, taking him through the 2019 season. Dallas will hold onto Fabian as long as they can; he is a player you can build a team around. If and when he does leave, Dallas will have to take a step back and rebuild for a season or two. Their time investment in Castilllo is significant - he can't be replaced. They would have to build a new team, with different dynamics.

Because of silly season rumors, I have at least some kind of idea of transfer fee. A Greek team is supposedly looking at him and coming up with a fee of less than $5 million. That's not going to get a second look from FCD ownership. I believe Brek sold for around $4 million when he left for Stoke City. FCD won't respond to anything less than $10 million. At least. Signing Castillo as a Young Designated Player in 2011- they have invested more than just money in him. His potential is still very high, so they would be looking to be compensated for everything they've put into Fabian as well as everything to come.

HT: Older MLS fans look at Dallas' lofty perch - first overall, first in points-per-game, just plain ol' first - with a bit of a sneer, for one reason - "The heat's gonna do 'em." And history is littered with Dallas squads that roared boldly into August only to creep meekly from September, the desiccated husks of their dreams cast aside in favor of simple survival in the face of impassive, unrelenting furnace conditions. Why is 2015 different?

BDS: Dallas has been inconsistent. They've been very hot or cold. Last season or maybe the season before, FCD said records for both longest winless streak and most points earned in a season. We've won 5 games in a row, but before that FCD was winless in 6. I don't agree with your assessment of the heat however. The heat, if anything, is usually Dallas' merciful edge. When teams like Montreal or Vancouver come to Texas in the summer, it's almost comical to watch them melt on the field. Our boys are practicing in these conditions every day. It's not easy, but I don't think it causes Dallas to drop points either.

Injuries have been a persistent problem the past 4-5 years. Summer is typically when they really started piling up because we are this deep into the schedule. Schellas was notorious for overplaying the same 12 guys rather than reaching down the depth chart. He'd rather play Brek out of position for every match than start an 18 year old kid. The situation is different now because Oscar will test every man on the roster. He's not afraid to take risks.

As for another swoon, Dallas finally hired physical training reinforcements this past winter. It is seeming to pay off because lost minutes to injuries is way way down compared to last year. This weekend in Chicago, Dallas will have zero absences due to injury or international call up. We're at full strength.

HT: What is the highest building Oscar Pareja can o'er-leap? When Oscar Pareja turns his gaze upon youth players, how does the blessing show itself? Do flowers bloom wherever Oscar Pareja treads, and is that frustrating for the grounds crew? What is it like to have a manager whose independence and competence are undoubted?

BDS: It is fantastic to have Oscar Pareja here. However, he is not the anointed one. He was no accident either. Oscar has been with FC Dallas in some capacity almost every season since 1998. He was Academy Director for FCD. His insight into the youth players is due to the fact that he was there when they were coming up. We trust Papi because he has earned that trust long before he was offered the head coach job.

From the outside, his independence may be a little exaggerated as well. Fernando Clavijo is the technical director. And while he and Oscar may share a vision and collaborate well together, some of that control is outside Pareja's hands. And let's not forget the hardest working cheap owners in MLS, the Hunt Sports Group, who hold the checkbook.

Oscar is doing the best that he can with the roster he's been given. After almost two seasons in charge, he is imparting his opinion on changes and reinforcements to continue building in a way that supports his philosophy. However, he is not totally independent. For as good as FCD has been and is this year, where would we be if Oscar was given a couple of blank checks/contracts? The FC Dallas depth debate has been raging since February. While FCD has had success and leads the table now, let's not forget the three times in 2015 that FCD lost by 4 goals. Again, this team is hot and cold, black or white, zero or sixty.

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Big thanks to Brian for answering my questions! My replies to his queries can be found here.