Assistant Dave Dir to lead Rapids against Chicago on Wednesday

Former MLS head coach takes reigns for away match after Pareja's suspension

Dave Dir at MLS Combine

Photo Credit: 
MLSsoccer.com

Colorado Rapids Assistant Coach Dave Dir will serve as the team’s head coach for Wednesday night’s match at the Chicago Fire, due to Major League Soccer’s suspension of Oscar Pareja. Dir, who joined the club last year, is one of the most experienced coaches in MLS history, having served as Dallas’ head coach from 1996-2000.

Pareja was suspended by the MLS Displinary Committee on Tuesday for leaving the technical area during the Rapids’ June 15 match against the San Jose Earthquakes, and is not allowed on the sideline or in the locker room before or during Wednesday’s game against Chicago.

"I am very disappointed not to be with the team before or during the match tonight, but the players will be in good hands with Dave Dir," Pareja told ColoradoRapids.com. "He is a great coach who has the respect and confidence of everyone here."

READ: Match Preview - Colorado at Chicago

Dir was the longest-serving of MLS’ original head coaches, leading Dallas to a 81-75-4 record (ties were not introduced to MLS until 2000) over five seasons and a total of 160 regular season games.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Dir and Bruce Arena (while with D.C. United) are the only original MLS managers who remain as their team’s all-time leader in games through June 19, 2013. Dir will lose that distinction when current Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman coaches his next match for the Texas club on Saturday.

Dir's last match at the helm was a 2-1 win over San Jose on September 9, 2000. He will be joined on the sidelines by assistant and fitness coach Paul Caffrey, and assistant goalkeeping coach Chris Sharpe.

Colorado's top assistant, Wilmer Cabrera, is also not available. Cabrera was invited by FIFA to be part of the Technical Study Group that will analyze the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey, which starts on Friday. The team's other assistant, Steve Cooke, is attending the France Football Federation coaching course in Colorado as part of the league-wide initiative.