Though Oscar Pareja's reign over the Colorado Rapids will be remembered pleasantly after his very good second year in charge, there will always remain the simple fact that under him, the Rapids couldn't seem to win any 'gritty' games. When the Rapids could play their game and play it well, they piled on the points. When the going got tough, the tough couldn't seem to get going for Colorado. That's one of the biggest reasons why Pareja's team had a putrid 0-5-1 record against the San Jose Earthquakes during his two-year stint.
The Quakes are the only Western Conference team that Pareja's Rapids were never able to beat during his two seasons -- if we're covering the entire league, the Rapids also never managed to get a win over Sporting Kansas City or, surprisingly, DC United -- and they were outscored by the Quakes 14-4 over the course of that winless streak. The closest they came to beating the Quakes outside of a 1-1 draw was a 2-1 loss at home that featured the Rapids playing with 10 men for the majority of the game.
In so many words, it has been really bad. Colorado had trouble winning tough matches under Pareja, and there is no match 'tougher' in MLS than the Quakes.
Enter Pablo Mastroeni, whose team has already nicked points from at least three physical and duress-filled matches against New York, Portland and Toronto FC. Colorado are 3-1-1 and haven't looked out of sorts against any team they've played yet, and their only loss against physical Sporting Kansas City came less because they were outworked and more because Marvell Wynne ended up getting sent off.
San Jose are in their weakest state since the start of the 2012 season right now, and they'll be desperate to get a point against Colorado. We all know what that means from the rough 'n' tumble Quakes. If there's a man who's ready to take them head on and end the torrent of losses that the Pareja era brought us against the Quakes, it's Pablo Mastroeni. This will be one of his toughest tasks yet, and it'll be a big step in showing us just how he'll fare long-term in his first season as manager.