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Studio 90: MNT Reacts to Tie in Toronto

Edgar Castillo

  • DOB October 8, 1986
  • Age 27
  • Place of birth Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • POSITION Defender
  • HEIGHT 5'7"
  • WEIGHT 145
  • U.S. CAPS 16
  • CLUB Tijuana
  • TWITTER @edgarcastillo40 (152K followers)
  • Current ASN 100 Rank 36
  • Previous ASN 100 Rank 32
  • ASN QUESTIONNAIRE Read now

Right before kickoff, Edgar Castillo always lines up in the left back position for Club Tijuana, where he officially plays. But that might be as close to his own goal as you’ll often see him in the course of a game. Don’t be fooled by semantics or pregame formations: Castillo is, for the most part, only nominally a defender. But in his opponents’ half, he can be a crucial part of his side’s attack.

Castillo has speed, and throws caution to the wind on counterattacks, going full-tilt toward goal. He can even pop up in the box, but usually likes to hover only as far as the edge. Castillo was a key part of Club Tijuana’s stellar Clausura run into the playoffs in the team’s inaugural season in the top division—where the club, incredibly, conceded the fewest goals in the second half of the year.

Castillo’s successful loan spell last season earned him a permanent transfer at Xolos, and ended a turbulent time in which he was loaned out by Club America to Tigres, San Luis, Puebla, and Tijuana in consecutive seasons. Internationally, Castillo is one of only a handful of players who’ve represented multiple countries at the senior level. He was called up to Mexico from 2007 to 2009, earning three caps. A few months after he was unable to travel for a series of friendlies due to a supposedly missing passport, Castillo expressed interest in playing for the U.S. Later that year he debuted as an American in a friendly against Denmark, obviously an unpopular decision in Mexico.

“I have made my decision,” Castillo said. “I want to represent the country where I was born, the place where I live.” It took two years for Castillo to make his second appearance for the U.S. national team, now under Klinsmann, deputizing for Fabian Johnson at left back.

Castillo readily admits his shortcomings on defense, but says he’s working on it—with bigger goals in mind. “I’m trying to go to the World Cup now,” he said. “Get there, try to go somewhere else. If not, I’ll stay here in Mexico.” His 2012 appearances with the U.S. have been mostly positive, particularly an excellent defensive performance against Mexico in the U.S.’s 1-0 win at Estadio Azteca.

There is still work to be done, but at the moment Castillo seems capable of handling the job.—ADAM ELDER

Noteworthy Reads

Castillo Lands on His Feet in Tijuana (NYTimes.com)
After Flirting With Mexico, Castillo Pledges His Soccer Allegiance to the U.S.(New York Times)
Castillo Likely Out for US, Creating New Left Back Quandary (MLSSoccer.com)
AmericanSoccerNow.