Commerce City, Colo. - Coming off a tough midweek loss in New England, Oscar Pareja only has one thought in mind as he prepares to return to Dallas - getting his team ready.
"Honestly, I haven't had time to think about it," said Pareja of facing his former team for the first time as a coach. "I'm approaching this game the same way I've approached the first nine games. It's simply a game with the same importance as the previous ones and the ones ahead. I haven't had a chance to think about that extra component."
The Rapids returned to Colorado from Boston on Thursday afternoon and were originally scheduled to have Friday off to recover. However the coaching staff spent the evening preparing for a video session that last more than two hours Friday morning before some players went for a run.
Pareja and the players didn't shy from their disappointment in surrendering two bad goals to the Revs after taking an early lead on Wednesday night. However the quick turnaround provides the team a chance to move on.
"It's a new opportunity for the team to get an important result," Pareja said of Sunday's match. "I think the group is playing well. We are building and are in a process that continues maturing."
Despite losing four of their last five matches, Pareja remains confident that the players' efforts and work ethic will pay off with results.
"We all wish that everything was perfect, that we would be winning AND building the team, and everyone would be happy," he said. "But at this time, we've had to withstand the absence of results, because we're in an adaptation process and at times we're missing a connection here and there. But I am very happy with the players and with the process. They are absorbing it all and getting better every day, so we are ok."
And while he accepts that system and personnel changes require time to come together, as a former player, he also realized that his players want to win, now.
"They have a good mentality," he said. "I like to see players like this, feeling that pain from losing. They are not using the fact that we're in a process as an excuse. This is a team that hurts when they lose, but they don't make excuses and want to continue improving and getting results."
Having lived in the Dallas area and played for and coached at FC Dallas since 1998 before accepting the Rapids coaching job in January, Pareja does leave the possibility that he may have emotions when he gets to FC Dallas Stadium.
"Perhaps," he said. "But right now we're just thinking about our team."
Colorado will train at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Saturday morning before departing for Texas in the afternoon. Sunday's match will be shown locally on Altitude TV and nationally on Galavision at 5 pm MT.