CARSON -- Edgar Castillo was on the field for Club America on Wednesday night at Home Depot Center, his second start in as many preseason games for the Mexico City giant -- another chance to prove he belongs.
The New Mexico native, who first signed with the Aguilas 2½ years ago but has mostly been on loan since, to UANL Tigres, San Luis and Puebla, appears to be in the Aguilas' plans, perhaps at left back, his natural position.
He spent some time there and a little in midfield as America rallied for a 2-1 win over Primera Division rival Atlas, with another American -- Calexico's Isaac Acuña -- scoring the 63rd-minute equalizer. Vicente Sanchez netted the winner in the 88th.
“My hopes are high ...,” Castillo, 24, said afterward. “I've been all over. Now I get to come back to America, and I'm telling you, I'm very happy to be back. They've given me a second chance to come back, and I've got to do things right to be a starter.”
He looked solid as the Aguilas dictated play much of the night in a spirited encounter that drew 16,241 to HDC, just as he looked good in last week's 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers up north.
Honduran forward George Welcome came off the bench to give Atlas a 50th-minute lead, scoring on a twisting header from Francisco Torres' free kick. Acuña headed home a cross from Oscar Rojas to pull America even, and Sanchez fired across the goal and inside the right post from Rosinei's feed for the winner.
Both teams finished with 10 men, with Atlas' Daniel Arreola sent off in the 56th minute and America's Juan Valenzuela in the 76th, both with their second yellow cards.
Castillo, who lasted 82 minutes, leaving with Sanchez came on, would benefit greatly from regular playing time at America -- it could lead to another call-up to the U.S. national team. Castillo started his international career with Mexico's under-23 team and made three non-binding appearances for El Tri's senior team, but he's committed to the U.S. and has played once for Bob Bradley, 30 minutes in a loss at Denmark in a November 2009 friendly.
Left back is one of the question marks for the U.S. -- Aston Villa's Eric Lichaj appears the frontrunner for the starting job -- and Castillo thinks he has something to offer. That hit home as he watched Mexico dominate on the right flank after Tigres' Jonathan Bornstein came on at left back after Steve Cherundolo's injury in the Americans' loss in last month's CONCACAF Gold Cup final.
“I've played there all my life,” Castillo said. “If I get called up and do things right, why not win that spot? ... To tell you the truth, I was watching [the Gold Cup final] at home, and I was thinking I could have been there. But coulda-woulda -- I can't say anything.”
He'd like to play in Major League Soccer one day, after he's done in Mexico.
“Down the road. We'll see what happens,” Castillo said. “It's a good league, but I think the Mexican league is a little bit higher, no?”