Oscar Pareja's Top Five Moments in Nearly 20-Year Career with FC Dallas

FRISCO - Oscar Pareja has spend the better part of two decades with FC Dallas across stints as a player, youth coach and head coach.

It's hard to narrow it down to just a few of his best moments, but here's a look at the top five. 

5. Oct. 10, 2005 - Going Out on Top

A constant presence on the field for the Dallas Burn and FC Dallas for eight seasons, it's tough to pick a singular moment of greatness for the franchise's second all-time assist leader. But there's no better way to end a career than the way Pareja did in his final regular season game as a player in 2005. 

The entire 2005 season was a difficult one. It was apparent that it would likely be Pareja's last, his body catching up to him after a nearly two-decades' long professional career. He appeared in 18 games, but only made six starts and totaled 646 minutes - nearly a third of his average over the first seven seasons in MLS. 

Just six weeks into the club's brand-new stadium in Frisco, Pareja came on as a sub in the 68th minute of a scoreless game vs. Kansas City. It took all of a minute for him to change that. 

The goal didn't hold terrible importance in what would be a 2-2 draw with a flurry of goals in final 20 minutes. The game didn't hold significant meaning at the end of the day with Dallas holding a firm grasp on the No. 2 seed headed to the postseason. But it did give the beloved midfielder one last chance to celebrate in front of his adoring fans with his first goal in an otherwise sobering season for the veteran.

It also produced a truly iconic photo of two of the biggest names in FC Dallas history. 

Pareja played just 20 minutes over the course of the team's two-legged series against Colorado in the postseason, and thus, his playing days were over. But not without one last moment in the spotlight. 

4. Nov. 9, 2015 - Comeback for the Ages

If you've followed FC Dallas for any number of years, it's hard not to remember where you were during the most exhilarating playoff series in club history. 

For the second time in as many seasons in charge, Pareja had taken his team to the postseason - something Dallas hadn't been part of since 2011. FCD missed out on the Supporters' Shield as the league's best team on a tiebreaker and found themselves on the brink of another Conference Semifinal exit at the hand of the Seattle Sounders. 

Fabian Castillo scored the opening goal in Leg One before the team would allow two second-half goals to put the season on the brink in a crucial Leg Two at home. The game was scoreless for the opening 83 minutes - a result that would've ended Dallas' season - until chaos ensued.

Tesho Akindele broke through in the 84th minute. Dallas was in a position to go through. In the 90th minute, Chad Marshall leveled the game and put the Sounders back in front on aggregate. He also left almost no time for Dallas to answer. Then, it was the Walker Zimmerman show.

A seldom-used substitute at the time, the defender came off the bench for defensive reinforcement following the Akindele goal. He turned hero a minute after Marshall's goal, scoring to send the game to penalties. He earned legendary status by winning the series in penalties. 

For an organization that for years had been near the bottom of the league, the series win over Seattle was just a glimpse of the success to come and solidified Pareja's team as one that was there to stay when many were counting them out. 

3. Aug. 18, 2018 - 100th Coaching Win

Much like Pareja's last game as a player, the game itself in the 100th win as an MLS coach wasn't one of much on-field substance. Dallas earned a 2-0 win over Minnesota United on Aug. 18 after a 154-minute weather delay before the match even began. 

What it signified was much more. 

On that night, FCD earned its 200th all-time regular season win and team captain Matt Hedges made his 200th MLS appearance, but more importantly, the win statistically solidified what so many in Frisco already knew: Oscar Pareja was one of the greatest MLS coaches of all time. 

He became just the ninth coach to ever reach the century win milestone and was the third-fastest to ever do so. Only Bob Bradley and Bruce Arena were more efficient in their first 100 wins. 

2. Oct. 23, 2016 - MLS' Best

Just a year after losing out on the Supporters' Shield on a goal differential tiebreaker, FC Dallas captured its second trophy in as many months with a scoreless draw against the LA Galaxy on the season's final day. 

The run would cap off a nearly two-year stretch where Dallas found itself at the top of the West and, to some, signified just what Oscar Pareja had brought back to his longtime club.  

1. Sept. 13, 2016 - Ending the Drought

In 2016, Pareja was 18 years removed from joining Dallas as a player. It was also shorter than the title drought that plagued Frisco. 

The 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final will forever be cemented in Pareja's FCD legacy, a man who gave so much to the organization as a player, youth couch and head coach. Words cannot do it justice. 

Honorable Mention: The Rabona

In terms of moments and meaning, it's not a memorable one. But who doesn't love a good rabona assist?