Oscar Pareja visits FC Dallas for the first time since he left the club as manager following the 2018 season when his Orlando City SC side visits on Sunday night (8:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US and DAZN in Canada).
Here's a look back at his time in charge at Toyota Stadium and the legacy he left in Frisco, Texas.
Pareja guided Dallas to its first and only Supporters' Shield win in 2016, while also winning the club's second U.S. Open Cup title during the same season. Dallas made the postseason in four of five years he was in charge, and also won the Western Conference regular season crown in 2015. Their run to the Concacaf Champions League semifinals in 2017 remains the deepest a Dallas side has advanced in continental play.
For all Pareja's success in Dallas, it's hard to erase the memory of 2017. After 19 matches, Pareja's side looked like they were marching toward a third straight Western Conference crown. Then in their last 15, they endured a 10-match winless slide and earned only 12 points total to finish out of the postseason altogether. There's also the matter of Pareja's overall playoff record of 3W-4L-3D, with a 2W-4L mark in playoff series. Dallas reached the conference championship only once under his guidance, and never further.
Legacy and Relationships
The biggest reminder of Pareja's legacy is the man currently coaching FC Dallas. Luchi Gonzalez remains close friends with Pareja — to the point that Gonzalez admitted he was rooting for Orlando in the MLS is Back Tournament — and together the two created arguably the United States' best academy-to-professional pathway. Weston McKennie, Reggie Cannon, Kellyn Acosta, Paxton Pomykal, Emerson Hyndman and Jesus Ferreira are among the players who are alumni of the Dallas academy.
There's also the matter of making inroads in what is a tough sports market to penetrate. Dallas enjoyed its two highest season average attendances with Pareja in charge in 2015 and 2016, and never averaged fewer than 14,000 fans a game, a far cry from the club's lean times when they drew only four figures regularly.