Saturday, January 4, 2014

Pareja Steps Down

Per, Pareja stepped down as Rapids coach yesterday.  No official word from the Rapids yet.  This is, obviously, now a worst case scenario with the Caribbean combine going on, the college combine starting late next week, and the Superdraft less than 2 weeks away.  I'm sure as the days go buy we'll get the "real" story as to what happens, but we still have a bunch of conflicting reports.  Regardless the Rapids should never have allowed themselves to get into this position.  The only way they are (relatively) blameless is if there was no official or unofficial buyout clause, Pareja truly wanted to stay in November, and they did give him the contract extension and raise.  That's what I would expect a competent Front Office to do.  If they failed to do any of that though, they drove themselves into this hole.

Looking forward, 3 names have been floated for coaches:

  • Wilmer Cabrera, current(?) Rapids assistant coach: Reports are that his contract ended at midnight on New Year's Eve and he turned down an extension while Pareja's future was being sorted out.  My guess is then he doesn't want to stay, even as head coach, but he would be the best choice for continuity.
  • Robin Fraser, current NY Red Bulls assistant coach: He was one of two finalists for the FSL job that went to Jeff Cassar and has been mentioned in other coaching searches in the last couple of years.  He has head coaching experience when he led Chivas USA, before being fired, and he will be a head coach again very soon.  He has Rapids ties, having played here from 2001-2003, and from 1990-1995 he played with the Colorado Foxes.  If Cabrera is out of the running he would be my next choice.
  • John Spencer, currently unemployed: Before hiring Pareja the Rapids tried to sign Spencer away from Portland but were rebuffed by the Timbers.  Spencer was fired later the following season.  Obvious Rapids ties given his time playing here and was a fan-favorite.  That said he would be a horrible choice with our current roster construction.  In Portland he favored the English-style kick-and-run/route 1 football similar to how Gary Smith constructed the roster.  With Pareja's possession-oriented roster it would be a disaster.
More information as it becomes available, but the Rapids 2014 season just went into a tailspin.  time for Bravo and Hinchey to earn their money and get the ship righted ASAP.

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