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Many different players learn to win with Orlando City SC head coach Oscar Pareja

Win or not, Orlando City SC supporters find time to ask: What exactly is Oscar Pareja thinking?

Orlando City SC’s front office likes how Oscar Papi Pareja thinks a lot about time. As New Year’s Eve 2023 approached, the club signed a two-year contract that would see him lead the team through 2025.

His team has struggled at times this season with concentration on the field and consistency after what they have practiced. They made the international breakthrough in the MLS Eastern Conference in June. Their record through 16 games is 4-7-5, which puts them two spots below the line.

Part of Pareja’s coaching style is responding accurately. Early in this 2024 season, he saw teams using three-backs – or the back three formation – causing problems for Orlando. During formation drills, he found that most of his squad was working well with the formation and began using it with some success.

April 13, 2024;  Washington, District of Columbia, USA;  Orlando City midfielder Cesar Araujo (5) shakes hands with head coach Oscar Pareja after the match against DC United at Audi Field.  Mandatory credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Since taking over from Orlando in 2020, Pareja has taken the players to four straight Audi MLS Cup Playoffs appearances, two straight Concacaf Champions Cup appearances and the club’s first trophy in the 2022 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

He previously managed Club Tijuana in Liga MX, plus FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids in MLS.

When Pareja’s teams perform at their best, they maintain a balanced attack and defense. His style is a physical attack without taking his foot off the gas on defense.

Orlando’s squad is still developing their physical attack, creating chances and preparing the ball for their focused forwards this season.

He can teach this system to players of all levels and abilities, as he proved with Colorado Rapids. When he took over the club, he was recognized as a team of unknowns. Yet they reached the play-offs within two seasons. Many of his Colorado teams had their best seasons under him.

So once coached, many players with different skills can unite and put together a meaningful year with Oscar Pareja.

There is time. Orlando City SC can do that too.

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