Dallas Soccer: Oscar Pareja

Before Sunday night, Drew Moor had returned to FC Dallas Stadium on three occasions as a member of the Colorado Rapids, but had never seen his current club leave with three points. Of course, that streak ended with a 2-0 win by Colorado in a game that FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman called disappointing as Dallas played the final 55 minutes or so with just nine players.

And Moor figured in the ejection of FCD striker Blas Perez in the 36th minute as the Dallas native and Perez were going for what Hyndman called a 50-50 ball. Perez went into the challenge with a cleat up and Moor displayed the scars after the game to show he definitely took one for the team. And yes, the ex-Dallas back liner talked about that play right off the bat.

“To be honest, I think he was trying to bring the ball down out of the air. His cleat was extended. I don’t think he meant any malice in it whatsoever. But it was a scary situation. I hit my head pretty hard and wanted to be sure that was OK,” Moor said.

Of course, Sunday’s match marked the first trip back to Frisco for former FCD player and assistant coach Oscar Pareja and while he said he wasn’t nervous, his current captain begs to differ.

“It’s always tough to come back and play here. Oscar [Pareja] might not tell you he was nervous, but I know he was nervous as well. This club meant a lot to both of us and to be able to come in and win three points like this at this point in the season where we’d had a dip in form at the end of a three-game week, it’s big,” Moor said.

Sunday might have marked the fourth time he’s been back in the Metroplex as a member of the opposition and while the newness of the experience has worn off a bit, that unique feeling of returning home and playing in front of friends and family never gets old.

“Yeah, it’s always special, a lot of family and friends in the crowd, a lot of friends who supported me when I played for Dallas and who continue to support me even with the Rapids. It’s a special place,” Moor said. “I played over 100 games here for FC Dallas and it’ll always be a special place to me. A big part of my heart stays here. I think it makes it that much sweeter to get three points here finally.”

And considering that along with striker Andre Akpan and fellow defender Hunter Freeman that he’s one of three DFW products on the Rapids, that makes coming back even more special.

“Of course, we talk about it all the time. Unfortunately, Andre [Akpan] isn’t here with us on this trip but yeah, the three of us love coming back here,” Moor said. “We talk about Dallas, we talk about Texas all the time. Its home for us and it always will be.”

Some might have noticed that there was one difference for the affable Dallas native this time around besides the favorable outcome for the Rapids. He was also serving as Colorado’s captain, a role he inherited when Pablo Mastroeni was forced off the pitch due to ill effects from a concussion earlier this year. Not surprisingly, it’s a role he embraces.

“It’s been great. Pablo [Mastroeni]’s still our captain. He’s still a huge part of us and we see him plenty and we hope nothing but the best for him because he’s going through some scary stuff right now. You don’t want to mess with concussions and I’ve had a couple myself and they can be very scary,” Moor said. “Always proud to wear the armband, I wore it several times for Dallas when Pablo Ricchetti was injured or missing games and it’s always special. It never gets old.”
Obviously the turning point in the Colorado Rapids win over FC Dallas was the quick red cards FC Dallas received putting them down two men.

Coach Oscar Pareja, being Colorado's coach, of course said after the game he felt both cards were the correct call.

Coach Schellas Hyndman, being FCD's coach, didn't think they were as legit saying, "I think it’s real easy for me to sit here, bicker and complain about the obvious. But I would ask you to take a look at the videos. The first play of the game, Jackson gets taken down by [Tyrone] Marshall on the first breakaway. That was the tone, that was the tempo and I think that was probably Daniel’s comment. So I challenge you to take a look at the video and you come up with your own judgments."

So here's the video, what do you think? Are you with Coach Pareja or Coach Hyndman?

Head Coach Schellas Hyndman

On the five cards issued in the first half…

It is real easy for me to sit here and bicker and complain about the obvious, but I would ask you to take a look at the videos. The first play of the game when Jackson gets taken down by [Tyrone] Marshall on the breakaway, that really sets the tone and the tempo. I challenge you to look at the video, and you come up with your own conclusion.

On the red card to Blas Perez…

I did see it as a 50/50 play, and I don’t think there was anything intentional. It was simply two players going for the ball and it is what it is.

On James Marcelin’s debut in the second half…

He did fine. It was just a difficult game. We needed someone in there for Daniel [Hernandez]. We had choices and we could have gone with a striker, or two strikers. You can appreciate that in the back of my mind, I was wondering if we were going to lose another man. At what point of time do you try and make it a battle?

On some of the positives the team can take away from this game:

I don’t think you ever want to underestimate that there are positive things to come out of games, win or lose. It was just a disappointing event. The players, I was really proud of them for how much they gave. It says a lot about the character of this team. They don’t give up. If we would have played another 45 minutes, they would have given the same effort. The game really gave us an opportunity to work on being a man down.

FC Dallas midfielder James Marcelin

General thoughts on the match… For me personally, I feel good. I feel good that I got in the match, but not too good because of the loss. It was a tough loss for the team, but we really couldn’t do anything about it.

On playing two men down…

It’s so hard to play against a team up two men. The defense is constantly under pressure, trying not to give up any goals. We would have loved to have not given up any goals, but we did well only allowing two.

On the short week, playing Seattle on Wednesday…

We’ve got to move forward and keep positive. If we work hard in practice, we should be able to get a good result against Seattle.

Have you ever played in a match where you were down two men?

No. That was my first time. Coach told us to take the ball to the outsides to attack. [Colorado] already had more players in the middle before the red cards, so we tried to attack on the outsides.

FC Dallas defender Zach Loyd

What was the team’s mentality, playing down two men?

As a team, the biggest thing is to come together. Despite the loss, we showed a lot of character, a lot of our guys who played the full 90 worked exceptionally hard. It’s obviously hard going down two guys. I thought we were resilient. We kept them from scoring a goal for a while but they just managed to break us down eventually. But overall, the team did a good job and showed a lot of fight today.

What did Schellas say at halftime?

He just told us it’s about character. When you go down two guys, the biggest thing is to not give up. You’re in a fight. You’re still trying to get a point. We did well as a team. I think the fans appreciate the hard work we put into the game when the odds were against us. Overall, it’s not the performance we would have liked to put on here at home but given the situation, I thought we fought hard.

What can you take out of today’s game?

The biggest thing we can take from today’s game is character. A lot of guys showed character today and that they’re willing to put in the hard work for this team going into a tough stretch of games.

Colorado head coach Oscar Pareja

General thoughts on the match…

The second half, FC Dallas gave us a lot of difficulties. We couldn’t put in more goals. Now it is a different game when you’re playing a team with two men down, but I have to give all the credit to our players that came up with intelligence and patience and we put the things together. Scoring a goal is not easy when you put in a 4-3-1, which they did. The win was well deserved. Even when we were playing against their 11, we were a much better team than them.

Talk about facing FC Dallas for the first time as an opposing coach

It’s awkward you know. I spent 14 years here. But that’s the profession. You just have to come in here and do the job. It happened to me as a player. Sometimes you have to go and play against the players you love, the team you love and the city you love. As I said it’s a little awkward, but we came in and did our job.

On the offensive sub at halftime

This is the challenge that we have. When you have to play as one, it’s normal. We were expecting to play a team that put two forward waiting for a mistake to come at a run at us.

On playing against a team two players down…

When a team is down two you want to score goals because you have two more players. That desperation can become a challenge, but we did a good job. We wanted to put in Conor [Casey] to put in two forwards to have more offensive moments. We did a good job even though they had nine guys. You know you still have to create options.

Colorado defender Drew Moor

On the red card…

His cleat was extended into me. I don’t think he meant any malice in it whatsoever, but it is a scary situation. I hit my head pretty hard and I wanted to be sure that was ok. It was a physical game. It always is when the two of us line up against each other and that’s the way it went tonight.

On playing in Dallas…

You know it’s always tough to come back and play here. Oscar might not tell you he was nervous, but I’ll tell you he was nervous as well. You know this club meant a lot to both of us. And to be able to come in and win three points like this at this point in the season where we had had a dip in form at the end of a three-game week, it’s big. It’s always special. I had a lot of friends and family in the crowd. A lot of friends who supported me when I played for Dallas and continue to support me even when I play with the Rapids, so it’s a special place. I played in over a hundred games here for FC Dallas and it will always be a special place for me. A big part of my heart stays here. It makes it that much sweeter to finally get three points here.

On being captain

It has been great. You know Pablo [Mastroeni] is still our captain. We see him plenty and we hope nothing but the best for him because he’s going through some scary stuff right now. You don’t want to mess with concussions. I’ve had a few myself and they can be very scary. But I’m always proud to wear the armband. I wore it several times when Pablo Recendez was injured or missing games and it’s always special and it never gets old.

Colorado forward Conor Casey

On getting three points in Dallas…

It felt great. It was a great game to come into being up a couple men. It was good to get a good run in myself and then obviously great for the squad to pick up three points. This was huge for us. With such a long amount of time off, it’s important to go in there feeling good and obviously we are happy with the win and it’s going to make this week more enjoyable for sure.

How did you feel?

I felt great. I felt great. Obviously being up two men makes it a little bit easier. You don’t have to run as much. It was a great game for me to come into with the first chance to get some real good minutes. I feel good about it and I just want to build on it.

Oscar Pareja returns to Frisco with Rapids

May, 6, 2012
5/06/12
11:15
AM CT
Colorado Rapids first-year coach Oscar Pareja has a long history with FC Dallas, spending the majority of his career with the club in multiple roles.

In his first trip back as a visitor, Pareja is more concerned about Colorado ending its slump.

The Rapids seek to avoid a fifth consecutive road loss Sunday night against Dallas, which is unbeaten in five home matches.

Pareja began his MLS career with New England in 1998 before being traded to Dallas later that season, ending his playing career with the team in 2005.

He was an assistant coach for Dallas from 2005-07, left for one year to help coach the U.S. under-17 national team, then returned as the team's director of player development through last season.

Pareja, who took the Colorado head coaching job Jan. 5, said he expects to have some emotion about facing his former team, but his main concern is getting the Rapids (4-5-0) back on track. They fell 2-1 at New England on Wednesday, their fourth straight road loss.

"Honestly, I haven't had time to think about it," Pareja told the team's official website. "I'm approaching this game the same way I've approached the first nine games. It's simply a game with the same importance as the previous ones and the ones ahead. I haven't had a chance to think about that extra component."

Colorado has dropped four of five overall and will look to avoid the club's first five-game road losing streak since April 26-June 28, 2008.

"It's a new opportunity for the team to get an important result," Pareja said. "I think the group is playing well. We are building and are in a process that continues maturing."

The Rapids are 0-2-1 in their last three at Dallas, last winning there Sept. 4, 2008. Ending that winless streak likely won't come easy against a Dallas team that is 3-0-2 on its home turf this season.

Brek Shea scored his second penalty kick in as many games as Dallas (3-3-3) played Los Angeles to a 1-all draw last Saturday. He exited in the 76th minute, though, because of a nagging injury that bothered him through a stretch of three games in eight days.

"I've been fighting turf toe since (April 21)," Shea told the league's official website. "We've had the traveling and three games in a week so it finally caught up to me."

Shea and his teammates got some rest over the past week but now face another rough stretch, with Sunday marking the first of three games in seven days.

"It's part of the game, part of the season," defender George John said. "Every team has to go through it, so we're just going to have to be mentally prepared to have three matches in a short period of time."

Coach Schellas Hyndman has been strategically working practices throughout the week to help his team be prepared for Sunday's match but also well-rested.

"I not only have to give the guys a chance to catch their legs, but I've also got to save their legs for the games coming up," Hyndman said.

The teams split two meetings last season after Colorado beat Dallas 2-1 for the 2010 MLS Cup.
COLORADO RAPIDS vs FC DALLAS
FC DALLAS STADIUM, Frisco, Texas
May 6, 2012
6 p.m. CT (Galavision; FS-SW;)


REFEREE: Mark Geiger.
MLS Career: 93 games; FC/gm: 26.4; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 18; pens: 31
SAR (bench): Steven Taylor;
JAR (opposite): James Conlee;
4th: Armando Villarreal

INJURY REPORT:

- FC DALLAS - OUT: MF David Ferreira (R foot surgery); MF Ricardo Villar (R foot strain); MF Andrew Wiedeman (sports hernia repair); MF Carlos Rodriguez (L elbow dislocation); MF Bobby Warshaw (R foot fracture); PROBABLE: GK Kevin Hartman (lower back spasms)

- COLORADO RAPIDS - OUT: DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); MF Ross LaBauex (sports hernia); DF Marvell Wynne (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Jamie Smith (R knee ACL tear); PROBABLE: FW Conor Casey (L Achilles tear)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED:

WARNINGS:

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none

SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS:
DAL: Jair Benitez ...
COL: Jeff Larentowicz

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (53 meetings):
FC Dallas 25 wins (2 shootout), 87 goals ...
Rapids 18 wins (1 shootout), 64 goals ...
Ties 10

AT DALLAS (27 meetings):
FC Dallas 18 wins (2 shootout), 52 goals ...
Rapids 5 wins (1 shootout), 26 goals ...
Ties 4

RETURN MATCHES:
7/14: Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas, 7 p.m. MT;
8/11: FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids, 8 p.m. CT

LAST YEAR (MLS):

4/8: DAL 3, COL 0 (Ihemelu 26; Ferreira 40, 46)
10/1: COL 1, DAL 0 (Moor 26)

- Each team won at home in their two meetings last year, the first two after Colorado's extra-time triumph in MLS Cup 2010 in Toronto.
- The last win for Colorado at Dallas came in 2008, while the last win for Dallas at Colorado came in 2007. But both teams won on the road in a fractious Western Conference Semifinal Series in 2006.

Coaches record:
Schellas Hyndman vs. COL: P9 W2 L3 D4 ...
Oscar Pareja vs. DAL: first game

FC DALLAS TEAM NEWS

- FC Dallas took their first point on the road at LA, though they nearly pulled off a road victory. They have back-to-back games at FC Dallas Stadium before going on the road for four of the next five.

- Brek Shea has scored in each of the last two games - both goals coming on penalty kicks. He has scored the last three goals for FC Dallas.

- Shea took the penalty despite noticeably limping. He was taken off after 76 minutes in favor of Hernan Pertuz.

- Chris Seitz has started three consecutive games in goal in place of Kevin Hartman - the league's all-time career goalkeeping win leader - who has been sidelined with back spasms. FCD has allowed one goal in each of the three games.

- After missing back-to-back matches, Andrew Jacobson was able to return to the first XI, starting and playing 82 minutes. But during the week, FC Dallas lost Bobby Warshaw when he suffered a fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot in a reserve match.

COLORADO RAPIDS TEAM NEWS

- The Rapids have lost four of their last five games - three of those on the road - and have allowed two goals in three of them as well.

-The Rapids uncorked a season-high 19 attempts at goal, putting seven on target.

- Jaime Castillon scored his second goal in MLS - his first came in the Rapids' second game, the 2-1 win at Philadelphia.

- Martin Rivero collected an assist for a second consecutive game, and now has three assists in five appearances since coming to Colorado.

- The Rapids were forced into one change in their back four the day before the match when center back Marvell Wynne suffered a hamstring strain in a training session at Gillette Stadium.

- Hunter Freeman made his first start for the Rapids since his first stint with the club ended in 2006, coming in for Kosuke Kimura at right back, who had started the first eight games.

- Conor Casey did not make the trip to New England, remaining behind to continue his comeback from injury.

Five quick hits heading into Colorado game

May, 5, 2012
5/05/12
10:16
AM CT
We’re just over 24 hours from FC Dallas hosting the Colorado Rapids on Sunday night in Frisco, so here are five quick hits on the game.

1) Will we see the Kevin Hartman of old? -- Hartman has looked pretty solid this week in training. However, FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman said that while El Gato told him he felt good, he wanted to hear him say he felt great. To his credit, Chris Seitz has done well in Hartman’s place. This could be the game when Big Kev returns, but is he back to his old self?

2) How will James Marcellin figure into this thing? -- With Bobby Warshaw having foot surgery on Friday and going on the six-game injured reserve, Dallas added Haitian midfielder James Marcellin, most recently of the Portland Timbers, on Friday. But how much can we expect to see Marcellin? He will most likely come off the bench for FCD and his signing was done mainly to give the club some cover in the middle of the park.

3) Brek Shea: Go or no-go? -- Even while battling turf toe, Shea has scored in three of the last four games. But this week in training, it was clear the Bryan native was ailing a bit. Hyndman said he would be wearing orthopedic insoles to help his condition, but Shea sat out training on Friday as a precaution. With three games in seven days, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him sit this Sunday’s match so he is ready for Wednesday’s visit from Seattle Sounders FC. Or vice versa.

4) Who will control the central midfield? -- The Rapids might currently be without Dallas' longtime nemesis Pablo Mastroeni, but Oscar Pareja’s club still has plenty to contend with in the central midfield. Newcomer Martin Rivero currently leads the Rapids with three assists and we’ve all seen how deadly Jeff Larentowicz can be on set pieces. Colorado is also pretty stacked at forward with the likes of mainstay Omar Cummings plus talented newcomers Tony Cascio and Kamani Hill.

5) Will we see a bounce-back performance from Jair Benitez? -- Last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Los Angeles was definitely a low point for Jair Benitez in his nearly two years with FCD. Many have been calling for Hyndman to bench him, but considering Hernan Pertuz has been coming off the bench the last few games, that appears unlikely. So, with Benitez most likely back in the first 11 at left back, hopefully he shows well for himself against the Rapids, especially since atoning for that abysmal performance against the reigning champs should be foremost in his mind right now.

Rapids an intriguing foe for Schellas Hyndman, FCD

May, 1, 2012
5/01/12
1:24
AM CT
When FC Dallas starts their next tough stretch of three games in six days by hosting 2010 MLS Cup champion Colorado on Sunday night at FC Dallas Stadium. Of course, the Rapids are coached by ex-FCD player and assistant coach Oscar Pareja.

Here’s Schellas Hyndman on several Colorado-related subjects after a short recovery session on Monday morning.

On facing Oscar Pareja for the first time

Hyndman: It’ll be good. I know it’ll be a real emotional game for him and I know his players will play their hearts out for him. I think we’re steadily improving. It helps getting people healthy. It helps getting Jackson there. So I think we’re going to continue to find ways of getting those three points.

On how the Rapids already have three clean sheets this season

Hyndman: I think they’ve got a solid defense. I think their back four is good. I think they’re playing with two holding midfielders now. I think they’ve got a real good defensive structure, good goalkeeping and Omar [Cummings] has been very effective up front, so I think it’s just going to take a little time to all get on the same page with what Oscar [Pareja] wants.

On what Kamani Hill has meant to them so far

Hyndman: A good player, I think he’s a player that kind of fits into what Oscar’s looking for-a technical player. He scored this weekend. The ball kind of popped up for him but he did put it away.

Playing Rapids still a cool thing for FCD Captain Ugo Ihemelu

April, 30, 2012
4/30/12
7:28
PM CT
Ugo Ihemelu knows a thing or two about playing for the Colorado Rapids. After all, he was a starter in the Rockies, first for current FC Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo, then the Rapids head coach, and then for Gary Smith, between 2007 and 2009 when he was in the Mile High City.

And even though the Cedar Hill product was traded to FCD in Sept. 2009 for Dallas native Drew Moor, he still has several friends playing for the current Rapids squad, which happens to be coached by former Dallas player and assistant coach Oscar Pareja.

“It’s always fun, playing Colorado for me because Omar Cummings, he was one of my good friends there. He plays up top for them, so the week before the game gets here we’re always talking, a little playful banter going back and forth between us. Conor [Casey], I’m not sure if he’s going to be back yet, good friends with him and then Kosuke Kimara, he’s another guy that I’m really familiar with, good friends with,” Ihemelu said.

He added: “Yeah, lots of guys on that team that I’m familiar with and then going back to 2010 MLS Cup, there’s always going to be that little extra. The fact that they have a guy that was here in Oscar [Pareja], that’s going to make it a little bit more interesting, another little story for you guys to talk about. It’s going to be an exciting game. I think there should be a lot of energy flying around on Sunday.”
FC Dallas has named Marco Ferruzzi as the head coach of FC Dallas Reserves. The FCD Veteran takes over for newly appointed Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja.

“We are very happy to have Marco as our reserve coach for the coming season,” said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. “He has worked very hard and continues to grow to become an outstanding coach in MLS. He has earned the opportunity to be the FC Dallas Reserve coach through his hard work and his knowledge of the FC Dallas way.”

Entering his eighth season with the club, Ferruzzi will continue to serve as an assistant to Hyndman while coaching the reserves. The 40-year-old compiled a 2-2-1 record as FC Dallas’ interim head coach prior to the hiring of Hyndman during the 2008 season. A former professional, Ferruzzi played 19 games in MLS with the Tampa Bay Mutiny during the 1997 season.

Ferruzzi holds a USSF “A” coaching license and played his collegiate soccer at the University of North Carolina from 1989 to 1992.

A few last words with Oscar Pareja

January, 5, 2012
1/05/12
3:12
PM CT
FC Dallas received a huge blow today with the departure of Oscar Pareja. The long time club servant departs to take over as the head coach for the Colorado Rapids. Pareja was the heart and soul of the Dallas Burn and FC Dallas for twelve years as a player and then coach.

“I have mixed feelings of course. I really love it here, but I’m really excited for this opportunity,” Pareja said today by phone, “it’s a great chance to see if we can make it happen. “

“It’s hard to find the right moment sometimes. It’s always been for me about taking steps in the right direction and at the right time. I’ve had other offers and turned them down because it wasn’t the right time.”

“Now I have the opportunity to be a head coach and give myself a real chance. We finished a cycle with the FCD Academy and it’s time to move forward and take the next step.”

Pareja scored 13 goals and tallied 47 assists (2nd all-time to Jason Kreis) for FC Dallas before retiring in 2005. After eight seasons as a player in Major League Soccer with New England and FC Dallas, Pareja became an assistant coach with FC Dallas. After two seasons Pareja joined longtime friend Wilmer Cabrera with the US U-17 National Team. He then rejoined Dallas as Director of Player Development for the FC Dallas Youth system in mid-2008.

Pareja built the FCD youth set up into arguably the best in the country. With six Home Grown players already signed to the first team, FCD is reaping the awards of Pareja’s hard work and terrific coaching. With the FCD Academy Pareja was twice (2008-09 and 2009-10) named the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Conference Coach of the Year and was once named Academy Coach of the Year (2008-09).

Many Dallas followers expected (hoped?) Pareja would someday take over FC Dallas. “I never really looked and watched FC Dallas that way,” said Pareja. “I was committed always with the Academy. It was nice this year to work with the first team again, but it was always about developing the players.”

Pareja, who was in Colombia till yesterday, is finalizing his affairs with FC Dallas today. Pareja will assume his duties with Colorado this week for the fast approaching MLS Combine and SuperDraft.

“I feel like Colorado is a great organization and a great opportunity. I wanted to go someplace that had a great setup, a strong front office with support, a good academy set up… I’m really looking forward to this opportunity.”

“But I also want to thank FC Dallas, the Hunts, who have been like family to me, the players here, the fans. You know what the club means to me, I’m really passionate about FC Dallas. I’ve always been a one club guy. But at the end of the year, with the progress of the Academy and of me in the program, this was the right moment.”

Oscar Pareja was, and is, one of the most respectful, dedicated, forthright, and honest players and coaches it’s been my privilege to cover and get to know. Few players have meant as much to the club both on and off the field. So much of how the FCD side conducts itself on and off the field comes from him. It will be impossible for FC Dallas to completely replace Pareja and everything he meant to this club.

In recognition of what he has meant to this franchise, Pareja was this season inducted into the Walk of Fame alongside former teammate and friend, the late Bobby Rhine. Pareja’s Walk of Fame induction took place six years to the day that he scored his last goal as a player for FC Dallas.

Will Pareja be successful in Colorado? He has a big challenge ahead of him. Pareja likes his teams to play a certain way, with a possession, ball on the ground, style. He does ask for work rate, which certainly Colorado has, but the Rapids roster as configured now is missing much of the quick passing, short burst, and rapid ball movement kind of players Pareja is sure to want. Time will tell for Pareja and the Rapids.

Regardless of the outcome up north, FC Dallas is worse off this afternoon than they were yesterday.

Who will FC Dallas look at to replace Barry Gorman?

December, 4, 2011
12/04/11
2:29
PM CT
With the recent news that FC Dallas technical director Barry Gorman will no longer remain in that capacity, one of the bigger questions surrounding FCD this off-season centers around who they will name to replace Gorman? There are at least several in-house candidates or FCD could bring someone in from outside. Here’s a look at three possibilities from inside the organization:

IN-HOUSE CANDIDATES

John Ellinger --- Currently FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman’s top lieutenant, Ellinger does have some TD experience on his resume. While it came after he was relieved of head coaching duties during his time with Real Salt Lake, it is experience nonetheless. Ellinger also built a solid portfolio during his time working with US soccer, specifically on the youth development side. He’s also a guy that knows Major League Soccer in and out. But the big question with him would be would he want to take a gig that would take him out of coaching and might mean longer hours and more travel? He and Hyndman do already have a solid professional relationship, so that wouldn’t be an issue.

Marco Ferruzzi --- Ferruzzi is currently FCD’s longest-tenured assistant coach, having been with the club since 2004. He’s been an able lieutenant for three different head coaches in that time: Colin Clarke, Steve Morrow and now Schellas Hyndman. He even had a short stint as interim head coach between when Morrow was fired and Hyndman officially hired in 2008. Ferruzzi is a guy with a great grasp of the league since he has been coaching in MLS for the last eight seasons and before that, was a player. He would be a solid choice to move up, especially since he’s familiar with the Dallas organization top to bottom, but would he welcome what figures to be a much bigger workload as the club’s TD?

Oscar Pareja ---“Papi” continues to be a real asset to this organization and it’s been well publicized what kind of role he played in helping FCD land fellow Colombian Fabian Castillo earlier this year. He would be a great hire when it comes to scouting and eventually signing Latin and South American players because of his network of contacts from his pro career. He also knows MLS very well after stints as both a player and an assistant coach. The only question with the affable Pareja is whether or not he’d give up his gig working with the FCD reserves and youth academy to accept the TD gig? If he wants the job, then it could very well be his for the asking.

EXTERNAL CANDIDATES

I’m not going to use this forum right now as an avenue to speculate about who FCD might look at for this position, but here are several points to consider as they look for a new TD.

Someone familiar with MLS is essential --- Gorman’s familiarity with the college game was a big selling point but if he had a shortcoming, it was a lack of knowledge when it came to the league. As a consequence he had to learn on the fly. Having someone who knows the ins and outs of MLS and how to get quality players is essential for this position.

Maybe someone Hyndman doesn’t know --- It was well documented when Gorman was hired how long he and Hyndman had been friends. No decision in Frisco about the soccer side of the club gets made without an approving nod from the gaffer, so will Hyndman decide to change directions and bring in someone he doesn’t know all that well? Probably not.

Possibly someone without a college background --- It’s hard to fault the choice of Gorman given the initial logic. Hyndman was a former college coach who brought in a colleague for the TD job. And FCD’s first and likely only draft under Gorman did net them Bobby Warshaw, who is a bit raw but looks like a player, so Goerman’s background did pay off at least in that fashion. But other than drafting, how much does having a guy with a college background really benefit a team in MLS? I submit not all that much as anyone who gets this gig can scout players no matter the level. Since FCD went with an ex-college coach the first time around, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see them go a completely different direction this time.

The five best FC Dallas coaching moves of 2011

November, 1, 2011
11/01/11
11:56
PM CT
It was a tough end of the FC Dallas season for most fans to stomach, over the last moth the record was horrible and FCD crashed out of the US Open Cup, CONCACAF Champions League, and the MLS Cup Playoffs. After the season had looked so promising in the first 2/3s it's hard to come to grips with the end.

Yet without the bad finish, FC Dallas had a good season by most measures. The club had a shot at three trophies they were in competition for. Dallas tied the 2nd highest point total in franchise history with 52 points, albeit in 34 games. 1.52 points per game, our preferred measure, is 4th best in FCD history, still pretty good. FCD made its first appearance in the CCL and was the first MLS team to ever win in Mexico only failing to advance on the very last day of the group stage. The Red Stripes also made it to the semifinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup before losing to the eventual (and frequent) champs Seattle.

So was the season everything FCD hoped for? No, but it was still a solid run by most measures. In fact some things went quite well and there is reason to be optimistic for 2010. This season can be learned from, both the good and the bad. So let's start to look back and learn with the five best coaching moves of 2011.

1. Keeping Brek Shea at Left Mid

A no brainer you might say, but consider that every coaching bone in Schellas Hyndman's body is screaming for him to make this kid a center back. Hyndman thinks Shea could be world class back there. By keeping Shea at left mid, coach Hyndman is going against his instincts.

Keeping Shea at left mid paid off. Shea is FCD's clear MVP this year, heck he has a shot at MLS MVP. Even if Shea had just repeated last year's numbers I would have said it was a good move to keep him out wide, when Shea rips off 11 goals and 4 assist (in MLS regular season) then it become a heck of a move.

Sometimes doing nothing is the best play. So full credit to Hyndman for NOT doing what he wanted to do and maybe some credit to his coaching staff if they told Hyndman he was crazy to move Shea.

2. Signing Fabian Castillo

The signing of this young Colombian looks to be a terrific success as well. Still young and lots to learn on and of the field, yes, but what a wonderful talent. His fearlessness and ability to take on defenders with his crazy on the ball pace makes Castillo an incredible weapon. By buying half his player pass FCD now has Castillo for the foreseeable future.

Tons of credit here to Oscar Pareja in my book for finding the kid, credit to Hyndman for saying yes let's get him, and lots of kudos to the Hunts for paying the reported $800,000 fee for half Castillo's rights. That's a number for a kid that is unprecedented as far as I know in MLS and for darn sure is with HSG.

The coaching staff wanted a young unproven player and the Hunts stepped up with the cash. Now FCD has an amazing talent on their books that may pay big dividends on the field the next few years and in the coffers down the line if he's sold for big money.

3. Andrew Jacobson Trade

Back in February, FCD made a small move that looked to be for depth and was a low risk trade when they sent a 2nd round pick to Philly for Andrew Jacobson. What a steal that trade turned out to be as Jacobson became the starter in midfield finishing tops of the club with 5 assists. Jacobson is now a key cog as the club builds for 2012 as either the linking mid or as the holding mid if Daniel Heranndez has to wind it down. Jacobson showed some leadership by playing hurt and now will need offseason knee surgery.

2nd round MLS SuperDraft picks are a crap shoot. Sure, you can find a starter in the 2nd round, but it can take a couple seasons for those players to develop. Chances aren't even 50/50 in my estimation that a 2nd rounder will pan out. So to get the top assist man for the season and a key piece to build around for the future is quite a move.

4. Marvin Chavez Call Out

Sometimes coming down on a player works, sometimes it doesn't. It depends on the player and coach, and how its' handled.

Earlier this year when FCD was struggling to get along without David Ferreira, Marvin Chavez was looked to to help fill the scoring void. Yet Chavez wasn't really getting it done on the score sheet. So Coach Hydnman called Chavez out (in private, not public) about his lack of goals. Hyndman in essence said to Chavez, you're not scoring enough to stay on the field.

The call out worked. Chavez went on a mini-tear and finished the season as the 2nd leading scorer for FCD. Chavez started scoring goals and finishing, both while playing striker and when he went back to wide midfield. He even added 4 assists. Chavez became the player he is supposed to be and he'll be a key part of 2012.

5. Signing Richard Sanchez

I consider this a great move, not for what Richard Sanchez did this year (first American born male to win a world title, winning the U17 Worlds with Mexico), nor for the potential that he might some day play for FCD. Instead I consider this a brilliant move for when it happened.

Coach Hyndman doesn't like kids in his team, particularly this is true at keeper. So how many years might it take for Sanchez to crack the FCD lineup? Remember that keepers peak later than other players. Even if he is an all time great, and Hyndman said Sanchez was the best he'd ever seen at his age, Sanchez would still need 3, 4, or even 5 years to break in at 20 or 21. That's a long time for a signing to pay off, so why the rush to sign him at the age of 16?

Because somebody at FCD understands the worlds game and how the system works. FC Dallas announced the home grown signing of Richard Sanchez back in February when Sanchez became the clear starter for Mexico and started to garner attention. Yet Mexico, with Sanchez in net, didn't win the worlds until July 17th. FCD signed Sanchez right about the time of the CONCACAF U17 Championship in which Mexico did not participate as they were automatic qualifiers into the Worlds as hosts. Someone at FCD knew that Sanchez, as the starting keeper for Mexico, would likely became more valuable as the tournament approached that summer, with the potential to blow up if Mexico did well.

I actually don't think Sanchez will ever play for FC Dallas' senior side. Sanchez is already being tracked and is wanted by teams all over Mexico and maybe even around the world. Teams in Mexico are cash rich because of the TV networks. Sanchez, particularly if he continues to start for Mexico at he U20 level (Turkey 2013) and maybe even Olympic level (London 2012), is, I believe, going to skyrocket in value. Sometimes in the next 2 years or so, FCD should be able to cash Sancehz in for some serious coin.

...Or if FCD decides to hold on to him, and if he is as good as Hyndman says, they FCD may have one of the best keepers in the world on their hands in about 4 or 5 years.

Up next, the worst 5 coaching moves of 2011.

Bobby Rhine and Oscar Pareja inducted into the Texas Soccer Walk of Fame

October, 17, 2011
10/17/11
12:40
PM CT
This past Saturday former teammates Bobby Rhine and Oscar Pareja became the first two players from FC Dallas franchise history to be inducted into the Texas Soccer Walk of Fame. In a small ceremony prior to the Vancouver Whitecaps game the two were inducted into the Walk of Fame. Bobby's wife Bevan was there on his behalf.

Both men made huge contribution to FC Dallas and soccer in North Texas soccer both on and off the field. FC Dallas has posted a video about the ceremony for fans to watch.

Oscar Peraja

- A product of the Atletico Nacional youth program, made his professional debut with Independiente Medellin in 1987.
- Independiente Medellin 1987-1995
- 1995 purchased by Deportivo Cali winning their first title in 22 years during the 95-96 season.
- Deportivo Cali 1995-1998
- May 26, 1998 allocated to New England Revolution.
- Acquired from the New England Revolution on August 15, 1998 for Damian Alvarez.
- Dallas Burn / FC Dallas 1998-2005: 189 regular season games, 13 goals, and 52 assists. 17 playoff games, 5 assists.
- MLS Best XI in 2002.
- Retired in 2005.
- Colombia national team: 11 games, 3 goals.
- Member of the 1991 Colombia squad that finished 4th at Copa America.
- Two seasons as FCD assistant
- Spent part of a year as an assistant to longtime friend and newly-appointed United States U-17 Men’s National Team coach Wilmer Cabrera.
- Become the Director of Player Development for the FC Dallas Youth system in mid-2008
- Built the FCD Academy to one of the best in the nation, in 2010-11 rated the best in the nation among over 70 different clubs.
- 2010-11 U-18 Academy Coach of the Year
- 2010-11 led FCD U-18s to a runner-up finish at the national championship
- 2011 named FC Dallas Reserve team head coach.

Oscar Pareja MLS Career Highlights

Bobby Rhine

- Second Team All-American in 1998 at UConn.
- Drafted out of the University of Connecticut 6th overall with Dallas’ first round draft pick.
- Made his first start for Dallas against the then-San Jose Clash on May 15, 1999. (Scored 2 goals, the first off an assist from Pareja.)
- Best season: 2002, 7 goals, 6 assists, 1 playoff goal.
- 212 games played, 23 goals and 34 assists all in a FC Dallas uniform.
- A striker or midfielder for most of his career, moved to defense in 2005.
- Named captain for his final match against LA Galaxy on October 26, 2008.
- Retired in 2008 and moved into the FCD front office as Manager of Community Development.
- Part time coach for FC Dallas Youth.
- Started the second half of his career in broadcasting as the FCD color commentator and later play by play man.
- Passed away September 5th, 2011.

Permanent Tributes to Bobby Rhine

- 2011 Walk of Fame inductee
- Bobby Rhine Fall Invitational (youth soccer tournament)
- Bobby Rhine Memorial Scholarship (awarded annually to a player in the FC Dallas Youth system)
- "Forever Our Voice" banner hanging below broadcast booth
- Bronzed cleats leading FC Dallas onto the field (2012)
- Commemorative flag on the South Concourse (2012)

Bobby Rhine Tribute Video

FC Dallas Academy rated top youth program in U.S.

September, 27, 2011
9/27/11
1:34
PM CT
Apparently, and I'll be honest, I didn't know this, US Soccer has been evaluating academy teams since the inception of the Development Academy league in 2007. Now under Claudio Reyna, U.S. Soccer’s Youth Technical Director, the evaluations are being made public. Clubs are 1 to 5 star-rated in seven categories: Player Development, Style of Play, Training Environment, Administration, Facilities, Fundraising, Respect.

US Soccer has set the bench mark with clubs like Barcelona and Ajax, those are "5" star programs. According to Soccer America, Eleven US clubs got 5 stars on Funding for last season; nine of which are MLS clubs.

But in the key categories of Player Development and Style of Player, the two that most matter in terms of of getting kids into the pro team one would think, only four "4" grades were given out. Two of the four went to FC Dallas making FCD the top rated club in the country in these two categories.

The majority of the credit for the amazing FCD Academy, aside from the Hunts willingness to fund the thing, goes to Oscar Pareja. particularly in these two key categories Pareja deserve full credit for the wonderful academy program he has established.

Academies are how legendary clubs are built and FC Dallas is doing all the right things so far to follow that plan.
Texas Fire Soccer Club of El Paso is now FC Dallas El Paso, becoming the third FC Dallas affiliation made this year.

FC Dallas El Paso joins FC Dallas Emerald Coast in Florida and FC Dallas West in Midland, Texas. The El Paso alliance marks the first Tier 1 affiliation for the club under the framework of Major League Soccer’s player development guidelines. Players from Tier 1 affiliates qualify as Home Grown players for the parent MLS Club.

“Our goal is to be the best youth development system in Major League Soccer and North America”, said club President and CEO, Doug Quinn. “The principal function of our affiliate program is to further support that goal, and to identify and develop the most talented athletes from not only within the DFW Metroplex, but also across the entire southwest region. El Paso has a wealth of talented soccer players and Texas Fire has a long and distinguished tradition of producing capable athletes. We are confident that this partnership will help strengthen both of our programs and we are proud to welcome them into our FC Dallas family.”

The 10-year old El Paso club currently includes 22 teams with more than 400 players thanks in part to its recent merger with Mexicas Soccer Club. The club and its dedicated staff in El Paso have produced many notable players, including 2011 first round MLS draft pick Omar Salgado (Vancouver), FCD U18 Academy Captain and U.S. Youth National Team veteran Michael Ambrose. Recently five youth athletes from the El Paso program joined the development program in Frisco for the 2011-12 Academy season: Alonso Gallegos (U18), Aaron Guillen (U18), Cesar Murillo (U15), James Olmos (U15), and Jose Livano Salas (U15).

“The opportunities and exposure that FC Dallas will provide for the city of El Paso and the soccer community are going to be extraordinary” said FC Dallas El Paso Director of Coaching Ralph Sifuentes. “We welcome FC Dallas to El Paso with open arms and with great pride. Our alliance with FC Dallas will allow us to provide an even higher level of coaching and development of our players for their potential collegiate, professional, and national team careers. We will work diligently to properly implement the FCD Way.”

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