Oscar Pareja was announced as the new head coach of Orlando City SC on Wednesday, marking a return to MLS for the former FC Dallas boss. Pareja's appointment had been the subject of much speculation in recent days and weeks, particularly after he left his job as manager of Liga MX side Club Tijuana in late November.
“Oscar is the perfect fit for the Orlando City organization, something I can say with confidence from our history of working together,” Orlando City SC EVP of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi said in a team release. “He possesses the talent and passion to help our Club reach both its short term goals on the field and long-term plans for the organization. Oscar checked all the boxes we were looking to fill and his vision is aligned with the plans that we have as a Club - to invest in and develop players at all levels of our pyramid to be both proud and successful when wearing the Orlando City crest.”
Pareja spent almost exactly a year in charge of Xolos, leading them to a place in the Liguilla playoffs in his first half-season in charge. But he could only help Tijuana to an 11th-place finish in the 2019 Apertura regular season as they missed out on the playoffs.
Still, he brings undoubted MLS pedigree with him to Orlando. In five seasons in charge of FC Dallas between 2014 and 2018, he guided them to the playoffs on four occasions and lifted the Supporters' Shield and U.S. Open Cup in 2016. He amassed a 78-49-43 record and won the Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year Award in 2016.
“I’m very excited to be returning to Major League Soccer and to be joining the Orlando City organization,” Pareja said in a team release. “The future of this Club is extremely bright, with so many opportunities to grow and succeed at all levels of the Club - from the new training facility to the world-class stadium and from the Development Academy all the way to the MLS side. Orlando is an incredible soccer city, with an especially passionate and dedicated fan base. I can’t wait to get started.”
In Orlando, Pareja joins a club that in 2020 will again be trying to make the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time. Previous coach James O'Connor parted ways with the club in the aftermath of an 11th-place finish and a 9-15-10 record in the Eastern Conference in 2019. Pareja will be Orlando City's fourth head coach since the club entered the league in 2015.