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Oscar Pareja’s Colombians return to haunt his Rapids

Colorado Rapids v New York Red Bulls

HARRISON, NJ - MARCH 25: Head coach Oscar Pareja of the Colorado Rapids watches from the sidelines during a game against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on March 25, 2012 in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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The goal-scorers delight of Saturday’s MLS foursome was outside of Dallas, where the home team fell behind early, rallied to take a 3-1 lead and then held on for a 3-2 win over Colorado.

It was surely an extra tough loss for Rapids manager Oscar Pareja (pictured), whose team sits alongside Dallas and Chivas USA in playoff purgatory. They still have time to manufacture some kind of late dash that would put them into top-five placement in the West – but they don’t have much of it remaining.

But it’s something more for Pareja, the Colombian who spent so many years in Dallas as a passionate central midfielder, and then as a valued assistant whose specialty was working with young players.

The Rapids first-year coach also used his contacts in Colombia to help FC Dallas identify and sign important figures like David Ferreira, Fabian Castillo and Jair Benitez. All are Colombian like Pareja.

Goal scorers last night: Ferreira, Castillo and Benitez.

(MORE: Analysis of last night’s 3-2 Dallas win)

I asked him about it after last night’s match. On the one hand, he’s quite happy for them. On the other hand, he could manage only a strained smile as he acknowledged the irony of it all: “I guess I shouldn’t have brought them here, huh?”

Here are the match highlights, including Jaime Castrillon’s 70th minute ejection, which complicated the Rapids’ efforts to get back into the match.

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