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  • Gavin Rushnell

Pareja Mailbag

Hey guys. I ran into an issue last night and had to record later than usual. Because of that, I wasn't able to hit on some of your questions specifically asked on the tweet I sent out. I've decided to do that here instead of releasing a 5-minute pod where I answer your questions.

@GoonerBrian321 - "Who on our current squad are Pareja guys? Who are some realistic targets to go after now that we officially have our coach? And I don’t so much mean Pareja guy like Tesho. Does Pareja have a type that he gravitates towards?"

A: I would have to say almost all of them at the moment. He has a hard-working number 10 in Pereyra, a sitting CDM in Rosell with a destroyer next to him in Mendez, a quality winger in Nani, an improving RB in Ruan, and a bunch of up and coming youth in the likes of Michel, Patino, Miller, and Moutinho.

In my opinion, we have a very strong backbone for this roster. Now we have to add some quality signings in important areas. We need midfield depth, a starting RW or ST (I don't see us getting both and it depends on what we do with Dom), a starting CB, and possibly a LB.

In terms of who he may gravitate towards, he seems to do well with South Americans who are determined to succeed. He seems to want a mix of talent and mindset so he can mold the player into whoever he wants. Ruan and Mendez seem to be players of that ilk. Thanks for the questions!

@PATKNAPP7667 - "Do you think he makes it more than 18 months?"

A: Absolutely. One thing about the firing of JOC was that he clearly wasn't Muzzi's "guy." Pareja is 100% Muzzi's "guy" and as long as we aren't 2018 bad, I think Pareja stays past 18 months. My best guess is 2 years is his absolute minimum with us. Thanks for the question!

@KeithM_real - "How involved he will be in selecting academy prospects? What will be his first 3 priorities in the offseason and in training camp?"

A: It's hard to say. He is considered the father of the FC Dallas Academy (one of the best in the nation) and seems to love working with youth. Younger players are usually more determined and are willing to listen to the coach more and that's why I believe he likes them so much. He can teach them to be whatever he wants them to be. By all accounts, it seems he will have a say in that process as the answer from today's press conference showed an intent to get more HomeGrowns and Orlando natives into the team.

Priority number 1 has to be learning his players' strengths and weaknesses. He thrives on tinkering to best fit his players' strengths and in order to do that, he needs to learn them first. Number 2 should be clearly explaining his vision for the team. I think it is important for Pareja to sit the players down and show them what his plan is for the team moving forward (style of play, this and the next season's goals, what he wants to see improvement in, etc.). Number 3 is getting the players ready for his style of coaching. He seems to change things up on a regular basis, which can be confusing for a lot of players (we saw that happen with Emery at Arsenal). Pareja will need to prepare his players to play in a multitude of roles so when the time comes and he puts them there, they aren't running around like a headless chicken. Thanks for the questions!

@MLSNowPodcast - "Will he want to bring in players from Xolos?"

A: It looks like someone already answered that for me. For those of you who didn't read the response, it seems that the players weren't too fond of how they collapsed at the end of the season, especially after the links to Orlando City. To answer, no, I doubt any Xolos players follow him to Orlando. (P.S. All readers should check out that podcast, it's a really good one!) Thanks for the question!

@OCSC_STM - "Does he see Chris as a 90min guy or super sub?"

A: I think Mueller is almost ready-made for a coach like Oscar Pareja. He has the talent and mindset to succeed under him and if Mueller starts the season strong like he usually does, I see no reason why he wouldn't take back that starting role. But, this also depends on signings. Do we go for a starting-caliber RW to help take the focus off of Dom or do we go for a ST to flat out replace him? It looks like we are trying to replace him if you think about how we tried to trade him for Quintero and the rumors of Pulido and Cano, 2 number 9s. My final answer is a 90-minute guy with a caveat of wait and see who we sign in what position. Thank you for the question!

I hope you all enjoyed that and thanks for the questions!

'Til next time, this has been Gavin Rushnell and #VamosOrlando

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