Oscar Pareja has explained his decision to substitute Kellyn Acosta in the first half of FC Dallas’s defeat to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
Speaking after the match, the coach said that the decision to take the midfielder off was purely tactical and unrelated to injury.
“We [had] the advantage of one man and we wanted to move forward,” Pareja said. “We decided to go with three midfielders in the middle that can cover ground, but when we went one man up, we wanted to add another forward and we wanted to sacrifice one of those midfielders, and in this case that was him.”
Acosta’s reaction was to go straight down the tunnel, a feeling that Pareja did not find inappropriate.
“I understand the players,” the head coach said. “We are all frustrated but I back the players up, especially in a situation like this.”
“In this moment is when they need us the most, especially a leader, and today, what happened in the game, that upset us, but the first analysis has to come from us, especially from me,” Pareja added. “But with the players now and the attitude, we can become frustrated and it’s normal. Kellyn gives his heart for this team and has grown here, and I know that he has pain and frustration of not being able to help in the moment, but Kellyn is fine.”
The coach also spoke about managing Acosta’s minutes after recovering from a groin surgery earlier this year.
“He has been getting back into his rhythm, and we are trying to add minutes and to give him a chance to recover and be himself,” Pareja said. “But today it was more tactical decision just
to have another forward.”