Orlando City is getting close to signing a veteran striker in the form of Argentine scorer German Cano, according to manager Oscar Pareja.
Cano has spent the last two seasons lighting up the scoreboard for longtime club Independiente Medellin, where he’s scored 94 times in 134 games in two stints (2012-14 and 2018-19).
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Cano will be 32 at the start of the season, and recorded 19 goals and six assists in parts of four seasons in Liga MX.
So there’s no guarantee he’ll walk into MLS and be Orlando’s missing striker, but Pareja will have a keen understanding of Cano due to their shared lineage at Independiente. Pareja was also born in Medellin.
Can he combine with Nani and Dom Dwyer to light up the scoreboard? Pareja has organized the right pieces at two different MLS clubs, but doing it in Orlando would be his biggest achievement.
Oscar Pareja is returning to Major League Soccer for a third stint.
The former Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas coach will now be plying his trade for Orlando City SC, leading Nani and Dom Dwyer as the fourth full-time coach in six MLS seasons.
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A longtime Dallas player and assistant, Pareja led the Rapids to the playoffs in 2013 before leaving for the head job at his former club.
FCD won the Supporters’ Shield and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup under his watch before he left for Club Tijuana in 2018, where he went 23W-4D-21L.
Here’s Pareja, via OrlandoCitySC.com:
“The future of this Club is extremely bright, with so many opportunities to grow and succeed at all levels of the Club – from the new training facility to the world-class stadium and from the Development Academy all the way to the MLS side. Orlando is an incredible soccer city, with an especially passionate and dedicated fan base. I can’t wait to get started.”
Pareja should be a huge asset in developing the club’s top young talents into professionals, but he’s got a lot of work to do in building a competitive roster. Orlando finished eight points out of the playoffs in a league in which making the playoffs isn’t that difficult of a proposition.
Oscar Pareja has been named the fourth head coach of Orlando City SC, MLS’s proverbial revolving-door job, since the franchise joined the league five years ago.
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After spending 18 seasons with FC Dallas as a player, academy coach and head coach, Pareja left Dallas and MLS in November of 2018 to take over at Club Tijuana in Liga MX. The 51-year-old Colombian was relieved of his duties as Tijuana boss last week.
Pareja was highly regarded for his preference to play young, academy-developed players during his time in Dallas, something the hierarchy in Orlando will be hoping he can replicate while also guiding the Lions to their first-ever MLS Cup Playoffs appearance.
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“Oscar is the perfect fit for the Orlando City organization, something I can say with confidence from our history of working together,” Orlando City SC EVP of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi said in a team release. “He possesses the talent and passion to help our Club reach both its short term goals on the field and long-term plans for the organization. Oscar checked all the boxes we were looking to fill and his vision is aligned with the plans that we have as a Club – to invest in and develop players at all levels of our pyramid to be both proud and successful when wearing the Orlando City crest.”
FC Dallas announced on Sunday that 38-year-old Luchi Gonzalez, the second-youngest head coach in MLS, has been chosen to replace the recently departed Oscar Pareja as head coach.
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Gonzalez, who was seen as the favorite to succeed Pareja since the day the job came open, has been director of the FCD academy, and head coach of the program’s hugely successful U-16 team, for the last three years. Prior to that, he served as a coach on the academy’s U-18 staff.
Pareja recently resigned from his post at FCD as he sought a new challenge. He was named the new boss at Liga MX side Club Tijuana last month.
Given Gonzalez’s appointment, and his intimate knowledge of an academy system bursting at the seams with elite prospects — not to mention the payroll which FCD has managed to shed already this offseason — it seems likely that the 2019 team skew extremely young. While Pareja was always painted as a champion of academy products, an uncomfortably large number of graduates were unable to establish themselves as members of the first team during his tenure.
Yahoo Sports’ Doug McIntyre has added a second name to the list of people interviewed for the USMNT opening.
McIntyre reports that Oscar Pareja had an in-person interview with U.S. Soccer general manager Earnie Stewart, joining presumed favorite Gregg Berhalter in a fairly exclusive group of four.
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The post, which also says Berhalter has a lot of leverage in negotiations thanks to interest in LA and his current home of Columbus, has this to offer:
I’m hearing that Berhalter and Pareja were among four finalists identified by Stewart. I don’t know the identity of the others, at least not yet, but am told that the list included at least one international candidate from outside MLS.
So it’s going to end up being Berhalter, Pareja, David Moyes, and Tab Ramos, right?
Again, this process stinks, but it would be very wrong of USMNT supporters to grade Berhalter as anything other than a strong candidate. He’s succeeded with low resources, and respects the overseas standard of the game.
McIntyre also says Ramos is a prime candidate to take over for Pareja in FC Dallas, raising the question of whether the U.S. U-20 coach would be granted leave for the U-20 World Cup during Dallas’ season. It would be nice to see, but a lot of pro clubs wouldn’t risk showing their sides as anything but the only thing that matters to a coach. That said, the team could hold its pre-tournament in Dallas, and is likely to have at least two FCD youths (Brandon Servania, Paxton Pomykal) on the roster.
Pareja spent all but four of the past 20 years in Dallas, but left for Club Tijuana this month.