FC Dallas manager Oscar Pareja is reportedly a candidate for the U.S. men's national team coaching job, according to Dallas-based outlet Al Dia.
Pareja, according to the report, interviewed while in Vancouver this past weekend, where FC Dallas beat the Whitecaps 2-1 to take a two-point lead atop the Western Conference standings. It was not specificed whether new U.S. men's national team general manager Earnie Stewart was part of the interviewing contingent, and ESPN and Yahoo Sports have sources disputing that a meeting even took place.
The 50-year-old Colombian has previous experience in the U.S. U-17 residency program and has been a big part of cultivating the youth movement at FC Dallas, where he is currently enjoying his third stint with the club after two previous assistant roles. He returned after two seasons with the Colorado Rapids and guided FCD to the Supporters' Shield in 2016 a year after missing out on it to a tiebreaker with the New York Red Bulls. FCD's 2017 was marred by a wholesale collapse, but the club has bounced back in 2018 in a big way, as it stands to earn a first-round bye in the MLS playoffs. FCD also won the 2016 U.S. Open Cup with Pareja at the helm.
During his time in Dallas, he's overseen a number of U.S. national team players, including midfielder Kellyn Acosta (now with Colorado), goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez and centerbacks Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman (now with LAFC).
Stewart said earlier this month that he was in the process of identifying candidates and that he wouldn't necessarily interview a horde of candidates before making a decision and hire by the end of the year. Instead, Stewart said, he wanted to identify the profile of a coach and seek a select few individuals who would fit that.
“Once you interview you are in a very, very serious phase,” Stewart said. “I’m not going to sit down with 18 people … That’s why the profile is set. What I believe in is you sit down with the person that you want and then you have discussions with them—long and very hard discussions. And then it works or it doesn’t work. But it’s not going to be where I have like eight people sitting and I’ll make a choice after that.”
Columbus Crew manager Gregg Berhalter is thought to be a leading candidate, while former Everton and Manchester United manager David Moyes voluntarily threw his hat in the ring, though there has been no indication that U.S. Soccer has reciprocal interest. Former New York Red Bulls manager and current RB Leipzig assistant Jesse Marsch said recently on the Planet Fútbol Podcast that he had not had any talks with U.S. Soccer regarding the opening, and Juan Carlos Osorio, who was thought to have interest in the U.S. job, signed on with Paraguay through 2022 after coaching Mexico to the World Cup round of 16.