The Daily Wave: Oscar Pareja Looking The Part

USA TODAY Sports

Despite another frustrating moral victory, Coach Pareja continues to impress along with his young team.

In earning a 1-1 draw with Houston Dynamo on Sunday, the Colorado Rapids again looked like the better team despite the final score. The Rapids hobbled into Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium, where Houston has not lost in its last 35 games. For any team going to Houston these days, a draw is an excellent result. But once again, the Rapids did not just play for a tie, they came out to win--and probably should have. Despite the frustrating result, Colorado head coach Oscar Pareja continues to impress with how well he prepares and motivates his team to compete every week.

Pareja's demeanor on the sideline--positive, active, always communicating with his players--has clearly been embraced and adopted by his players. Against Houston, the Rapids were focused from the first whistle, dominating stretches of first half with simple but very well executed passing, and timely, collective pressure. They moved as a team, defending in groups and attacking in waves. The players, even ones who have not seen much game action together, seem to be communicating well on the field. Pareja is also constantly talking, directing, and praising from the coach's box. He is intense, but controlled. Where other coaches might rail against the referees or his players for mistakes, he brings a positive, intelligent presence to the sideline.

Significantly, his players play hard, and are ready when called on. This weekend Jamie Smith and Kamani Hill were drafted into the starting eleven, and they stepped right in and played well, both looking dangerous at times. In addition, Danny Mwanga earned just his second start for the Rapids. No one doubts Mwanga's talent, but since being the first overall draft pick in 2010, he has played inconsistently, been traded twice, and generally underachieved. Not surprisingly, he plays with a lack of self-assurance. Pareja took a chance by starting him, but it paid off. Mwanga's confidence grew throughout the game. Early on he seemed a step slower than his teammates, and he showed his rust and uncertainty in the 37th minute when he should have settled the ball and tapped in for an easy goal. Instead, he rushed his shot and had it blocked by a desperation lunge by a Houston defender. Other coaches may have berated him at halftime, but I suspect Pareja did not. And Mwanga continued to settle down and play better. In the 54th minute, he coolly and calmly held the ball up on a counter-attack and played a nice ball to put Atiba Harris through to goal. Harris duly missed his chance, but Mwanga continued to play with more assertiveness and belief before tiring toward the end of the game.

Much like the injury news every week, it seems like a broken record to say that the Rapids deserved better than the final score. But the reality is that the Dynamo's Giles Barnes tied the game with a golazo against the run of play. It is telling that Houston, even with their home-field advantage, seemed content with the tie. In the 85th minute, Ricardo Clark was substituted. Rather than running off the field, he slowly walked off as if he were part of an underdog visiting team clinging to a result. In the end it was another somewhat disappointing tie for the Rapids, but also another game that shows the young team is heading in the right direction. The coaching of Oscar Pareja is no small part of that promising trend.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Burgundy Wave

You must be a member of Burgundy Wave to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Burgundy Wave. You should read them.

Join Burgundy Wave

You must be a member of Burgundy Wave to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Burgundy Wave. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker