FRISCO – The job of a head coach is to bring out the best in his own players.
However, when FC Dallas play the Oscar Pareja-led Colorado Rapids on Saturday (8 p.m. CT on TXA21), both teams will get a boost.
“I think so,” said Brek Shea when asked about whether his Colombian teammates look forward to playing against Pareja, who was a Dallas legend as both a player and assistant coach. “They all look up to him, especially the Homegrowns because I think Oscar coached them longer than anybody. I think that’s a personal game for them.”
The first time Dallas faced off against Pareja, it was tough to take much from the game as FCD were shown two first-half red cards in a 2-0 loss. Things were much different when Dallas traveled to face the Rapids in Colorado last month, coming away with a 2-1 come-from-behind win.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Colombian youngster Fabián Castillo had arguably his best game with FC Dallas in the win, hitting the Rapids for a goal and an assist.
“It’s going to be a good game when I play against Oscar because of all of my experiences with him,” Castillo said through a translator on Friday. “I definitely like to try and play at a higher level against him and this game I’m just hoping the team can play our best and pull out a win.”
The Dallas connections on the Rapids coaching staff don’t end with Pareja, however. The recently announced addition of former Dallas head coach Dave Dir – who coached the then-Burn in their first six seasons of existence – means the FCD roots in Commerce City go all the way back to 1996.
“I think he’ll bring a lot to Colorado because he will not only bring his goalkeeping knowledge but he’ll probably be the most familiar voice with the league,” current FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman said on Friday. “[He’ll] be able to share a lot of things with the Colorado coaches.”
With all the positive feelings in the FCD locker room for the opposing coach, the sentiment is still clear heading into Saturday’s must-win match with the Rapids.
“We all like Oscar and want him to do well,” Hyndman said. “Except when he plays against Dallas.”