FRISCO, Texas – Despite his team’s red-hot start to the MLS season, FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja says he is not focusing on wins and losses. Instead, he wants the team to focus on establishing a consistent level and style of play.
“I don’t think too much about what is that record or if we have a good start or how can we win,” Pareja told reporters on Wednesday. “I want to see this team growing into the team that we all want. Hopefully, the results can join us.”
After their 3-1 domination of Chivas USA over the weekend, Dallas are at the top of the standings – and this week's MLSsoccer.com Power Rankings – with seven points.This may seem like familiar territory leading to a bad ending for FCD fans, however, as the team flew out of the gates last season, going 7-1-3 over the first 11 games before eventually fizzling out and missing the playoffs.
“We know there’s a lot of peaks and valleys as the season goes,” Pareja said. “You start in the winter and finish in the winter again. So it’s one game at a time in our case.”
Ideally for FCD and their coach, every game will look something like the first half against Chivas USA: full of intensity, pressure, organized defense and good distribution.
“When you see a team put all that together in a game, it’s very encouraging,” Pareja said. “Sometimes you’re hot in some aspect of the game but you’re not as good in others. Now it’s about consistency. Can we do it over and over, despite the opponents?”
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For their part, FC Dallas players seem pleased with both the results and with Pareja’s style.
“The style of play is going to continue to be the same, so the opportunities are going to continue to be there,” forward Blas Pérez told reporters on Wednesday through a translator. “We’re very solid from the midfield toward the offensive line.”
Dallas will have a stern test of their commitment to attacking in Saturday’s match with Portland (8:30 pm ET, MLS Live), as Pareaja will need to reach down the midfield depth chart to replace injury casualties Adam Moffat and Andrew Jacobson and suspended Hendry Thomas.
While Pareja may not want to look too far ahead or get caught up with the team’s unbeaten start, he did admit one thing.
“It’s healthy to start good,” conceded the Colombian. “But we need to work hard to keep it up, don’t we?”