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Do we really know what we have in Oscar Pareja?

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Lots of grumbling this season about Pareja. Are they wrong?

MLS: Houston Dynamo at FC Dallas Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In 2010 the fans were treated to something incredibly special - a league MVP in David Ferreira, a team making a late postseason run to the MLS Cup Final and a coach in Schellas Hyndman who seemed to have figured out the league. Heart break ensued as FC Dallas suffered an unspeakable way to lose in a cup final, but everything was pointing up for the club as they roared back in 2011. Dallas became the first MLS team to win a Champions League match in Mexico as they took down Pumas in August of 2011. David Ferreira was still playing at an MVP level, then disaster struck as they lost their playmaker in a horrific leg break. As if that wasn’t enough, the club also lost former player and club legend, Bobby Rhine.

The team was falling apart, and would limp their way into the playoffs, only to be sent home in the Knock Out round. Dallas would not make it the post season again under Schellas Hyndman’s tenure for the next two seasons.

In the three months between head coaches, rumors flied everywhere that Dan Hunt was chasing former FC Dallas player and Academy coach, Oscar Pareja to come back to the club. Pareja returned and ushered what’s been the most successful stretch in club history. But you wouldn’t know that from the collective grumbling from the fan base.

In 2014, Pareja led FC Dallas back into the playoffs. In 2015, the club tied New York Red Bulls for the Supporter’s Shield, but lost out on a tie-breaker. In 2016, Pareja brought in an impressive double winning both the Open Cup and the Shield that eluded his team the year prior. 2017 was an anomaly as they were in first place before falling apart and missing out on the playoffs by another tie-breaker.

In 2018, the team has sat in first place of the West for a good chunk of the season and are still within striking distance of winning the Shield again. But despite all this success, this has oddly been the year where the grumblings and frustration towards Pareja has been the loudest. To the point where there have been calls to replace Pareja mid-season.

That is asinine.

Now, Pareja has his shortcomings as a coach - everyone does. As good as he is at identifying and developing young talent, he’s also equally as quizzical when it comes to his usage of his bench and when to sub players. And he’s certainly got tactics wrong that I’ve criticized him over, but fire Pareja? Come on.

Who would replace him? Seriously. Save your Pep Guardiola type suggestions. Actually name a serious candidate.

And when those same “fans” gripe about “how hard it is to support FC Dallas”, have you actually paid any attention?

Points per season by club

Club 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Total Average
Club 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Total Average
Atlanta United FC - - - 55 54 109 54.5
New York Red Bulls 50 60 57 50 55 272 54.4
FC Dallas 54 60 60 46 49 269 53.8
Seattle Sounders 64 51 48 53 41 257 51.4
New York City FC - 37 54 57 49 197 49.25
Sporting Kansas City 49 51 47 49 48 244 48.8
Portland Timbers 49 53 44 53 44 243 48.6
Toronto FC 41 49 53 69 27 239 47.8
Columbus Crew 52 53 36 54 43 238 47.6
LA Galaxy 61 51 52 32 38 234 46.8
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 50 53 39 52 40 234 46.8
Real Salt Lake 56 41 46 45 44 232 46.4
Los Angeles Football Club - - - - 46 46 46
New England Revolution 55 50 42 45 33 225 45
DC United 59 51 46 32 34 222 44.4
Philadelphia Union 42 37 42 42 40 203 40.6
Montreal Impact 28 51 45 39 36 199 39.8
Houston Dynamo 39 42 34 50 28 193 38.6
Orlando City SC - 44 41 39 24 148 37
Colorado Rapids 32 37 58 33 24 184 36.8
San Jose Earthquakes 30 47 38 46 20 181 36.2
Chicago Fire 36 30 31 55 24 176 35.2
Minnesota United FC - - - 36 29 65 32.5

This is organized by average points since 2014 and obviously this is a bit skewed for some teams like Atlanta who haven’t been in this league for very long. But with the exception of just one team, the New York Red Bulls, Dallas has gotten more points per season than anyone else in the league during Pareja’s tenure. I would bet there are at least a dozen teams would who take Pareja in a heart beat if he were remotely interested and available.

I get there are games that are absolutely ridiculous to endure. (San Jose anyone?) But before you go global and make grand declarations for major changes, can you at least acknowledge how good we have it right now? Because I suspect that most of the disgruntled fans have not properly looked at the situation and Pareja’s entire body of work.