Oscar Pareja lauded as 'perfect fit' for Orlando City

After a year away, Oscar Pareja is back in MLS.

After coaching at the Colorado Rapids (2012-13) and FC Dallas (2014-18), he will coach his third MLS team, Orlando City.

The move comes one year after Pareja departed FC Dallas to coach Liga MX's Tijuana. But he left Xolos after they failed to make the 2019 Torneo Apertura playoffs.

He will be reunited with its executive VP of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi, who worked with him at FC Dallas.

“Oscar is the perfect fit for the Orlando City organization, something I can say with confidence from our history of working together,” Muzzi said. “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.”

Pareja spent 18 years as a player and coach in Dallas, helping set up its highly regarded academy program, before heading to Tijuana after the 2018 MLS season. Pareja led Xolos to the 2019 Torneo Clausura playoffs but couldn't duplicate the feat this fall.

“I’m very excited to be returning to Major League Soccer and to be joining the Orlando City organization,” Pareja said. “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 replaces James O'Connor, who was fired less than 24 hours after Orlando City's 5-2 loss at home to Chicago ended the 2019 regular season. The Lions finished 22nd out of 24 teams in MLS with a 9-15-10 record after ranking 22nd out of 23 teams in 2018.

Orlando City is MLS's worst-performing expansion team since Toronto FC, having failed to make the postseason in each of its first five MLS seasons. Toronto FC went eight years without making the playoffs before breaking through in 2015.

7 comments about "Oscar Pareja lauded as 'perfect fit' for Orlando City".
  1. John Polis, December 5, 2019 at 8:48 a.m.

    They thought he was the ticket in Colorado and were counting on him to be the future leadership of the Rapids when he decided to bail right before the season. Looks like the big break at Tijuana was overrated and perhaps Oscar is too. What has he won? Good luck Orlando, Oscar's latest stop. 

  2. Rey Phillips, December 5, 2019 at 10:49 a.m.

    When he was at Colorado, his heart was still in Dallas.  It will be interesting to see if anything has changed on that front.  I think he has a knack for developing young talent and has overproduced based upon the size of the budget.  But at the same time, I'm not sure whether it's the scouting or the budget or what, but you're right that his teams haven't taken the final step, and it looks to me to be a problem with the older players not producing.  I'd love to see him at US Soccer in the developmental programs, once US Soccer gets its head on straight (which probably means completely new leadership, but I digress).

  3. Dean Mitchell, December 5, 2019 at 11:41 a.m.

    In Tijuana, Pareja lost players from his 1st season like Gustavo Bou and to a lesser degree Angulo without adequate replacements. He saw the no win situation of a "Selling Team" that fires coaches frequently for not winning with table scraps.

    I will say that his "youth movement" never got started and he quickly fell into the Liga MX short season trap of "win now or else". His predecessors used way more young players than him. I had hoped he'd renew the Xolos old strategy of using local young Mexican American players like Joe Corona and Paul Arriola. I honestly believe he tanked the last game—not starting his best players—to get out of his contract.

  4. Jonathan Mamula, December 5, 2019 at 2:33 p.m.

    He is a really great motivator--especially with young talent, but his teams in Dallas ALWAYS played hard and had success considering the talent he had at his disposal.  I think he is a great hire for Orlando.

  5. Ric Fonseca, December 5, 2019 at 5:12 p.m.

    Hey amigos, how about giving the guy a chance to get started and wait until the first couple of games before you start castigating him before he's even completed his move from TJ to Miami?
    Mucha y buenisima suerte Profesor Pareja!!!

  6. Craig Cummings, December 5, 2019 at 9:39 p.m.

    dean you seem to know zolos very well do you go to the games in TJ? I do not follow them as much now  as most americans have left the club.

  7. Tony Biscaia, December 11, 2019 at 6:31 p.m.

    I first met Oscar when the Revs brought him to MLS in the Wrongen days, he was a bit shy though diplomatic in broken english but just didn't have the team around him that could play to his level.

    Fast forward to a stellar career as a player and now, coach.

    I'd be honored to play for him or have him on my team in any capacity, he's a great human being beyond soccer.  Look for Orlando success, unlike the forever Kraft neglected Revs.

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