Reports: Rapids set to name Pareja as new head coach

Are the Rapids about to get a dose of South American creativity? According to multiple reports on Tuesday, Colorado are getting close to naming Oscar Pareja as their new head coach.

Both The Washington Post and Denver Post are reporting that the Colombian – who works for FC Dallas as both their academy director and reserve-team coach – will be the man to take over Gary Smith’s vacant position.

The Rapids did not confirm the reports when contacted by MLSsoccer.com, but the club’s newly named president, Tim Hinchey, tweeted Tuesday morning that an announcement on the club’s new coach is expected this week.

Pareja is said to be in the running alongside Vancouver director of soccer Tommy Soehn, US Under-18 national team head coach Richie Williams and former Chicago Fire head coach Denis Hamlett.

The former Dallas and New England midfielder may have an edge considering that Colorado technical director Paul Bravo has made it clear that he sees South America as a majorly important area for the future of the Rapids’ playing style.

If the Colombian is appointed, it could herald a new approach from the Rapids, who have typically relied on a more traditional 4-4-2 formation in recent years under Smith, relying on the creativity of wingers like Jamie Smith to create chances rather than on a pivotal central midfielder playmaker.

Bravo also told MLSsoccer.com last month that the club was looking for a creative playmaker, similar to FC Dallas’ Colombian star David Ferreira. The Rapids have also been in discussion with former Argentine international and Rapids striker Claudio López regarding a possible role for him with the club.

“We want to try and find that creative difference-maker,” Bravo told MLSsoccer.com last month. “That is something we have not made a priority of in recent years. South American players have always had a great deal of success in our league and this remains an area of the world that needs to be combed.”