If the good reporting from Ives Galarcep proves correct, and no reason to believe that it will not, then Colorado management has a lot of questions to answer on this Oscar Pareja fiasco.
There is something alarming here when examining the long- and the short-term timeline of Pareja’s departure from a position in which he was excelling. Barring a whopper transfer target landing in MLS before games begin in March, this will be among the bigger off-season talkers in the league.
The Rapids had something special going with Pareja, who surely deserved more Coach of the Year consideration – getting the job done in a smaller and far less heralded MLS market, one that doesn’t find its way into nearly as many domestic soccer headlines, had a lot to say about that.
He was signed on for another year at DSG Park. So how did this fissure in the relationship come about?
Best theory here: This is why contracts don’t mean much when a coach wants to explore some other opportunity. Do you really want a guy around whose heart is telling him to go somewhere else? So you have to question the strategic thinking when Colorado management apparently refused permission for FC Dallas boss Dan Hunt to interview Pareja in November.
Dallas has been without a manager since removing Schellas Hyndman in late October. Pareja, with strong ties to Dallas and a great relationship with Hunt, was among the Texas club’s first considerations. With good reason, too: Pareja was well respected for his work as an assistant and director of Dallas’ youth academy, which helped him gain the position two years ago at Colorado.
So, that’s the short-term issue. Here’s the long-term timeline issue:
Pareja replaced Gary Smith, who was one year removed from an MLS Cup title when his relationship with upper management completely deteriorated. He left, never mind the fact that Colorado was still doing fine.
Smith and technical director Paul Bravo didn’t share a stylistic vision, and things went sideways from there. Either way, if one relationship with a successful manager goes awry … well, that happens.
But two in a row? That’s starting to look like a disquieting trend.