I’m Dustin “El Jefe” Christmann and I’m am an FC Dallas fanatic from Day One of the Dallas Burn. I’m also a hater. I used to yell mean, hateful things from the stands at the Cotton Bowl and Toyota Stadium, but now, I’m sharing my id with you to help guide you, my fellow FCD fans, in your enjoyment of Major League Soccer on TV.
Things were going fabulously for us FCD fans: Seattle and the Galaxy tied, Colorado and Houston tied, San Jose beat LAFC, RSL and Vancouver tied, Austin lost, and Portland lost. It’s a shame about the Minnesota and Kansas City wins, but they couldn’t take away from the good vibes.
Then FCD kicked off in Nashvegas. I guess that if there was a good week to catch an asswhooping, it’s when most of your rivals decided to herp and derp around.
Still, this a forward-looking column, and there’s a lot to look forward to.
Portland vs. Seattle (ESPN, 9:00)
This game is the “There Are No Winners Here” Game of the Week, although I really wanted to call it the Bumfight of the Week just to be mean. First, they’re both below the playoff line, and they deserve to stay there. But more importantly, this is a nationally televised game, so we’re gonna get beaten to death by the ESPN play-by-play crew telling us every two minutes or so that this is America’s oldest and best soccer rivalry.
But let’s give Seattle credit. They are on their way to inventing “Winning the CONCACAF Champions League, then failing to qualify for the playoffs.” Bravo, Sounders. “But we won the CCL!” Yeah, and your grandma was hot stuff before electricity.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw. There are no winners here, and neither of these two fanbases deserve any sort of joy out of this rivalry game. Go argue about whose weather is shittier or who hates Californians more.
Minnesota vs. Houston (Univision/TUDN/Twitter, 2:30)
¿Cómo se dice “Loon” en español? No me importa. Anyway, this game is in Spanish on Univision and TUDN, but the only Spanish you really need to know for this game is “basura,” which is a word most is often heard in close proximity to “Houston Dynamo.”
As FCD fans, our general approach is usually “Houston must go down and they must go down hard,” but this week, we need for them to do us a solid and not be basura yet again. We need for them to [deep resigned sigh] get a result against Minnesota. I’m not saying that I want them to win, but if stuff happens, and all those Wonderwall-singing Minnesotans go home sad and disappointed, I wouldn’t be disappointed.
Jefe the Hater rooting pick: I’M ROOTING FOR MINNESOTA TO LOSE, OK? DON’T PRESS ME FOR DETAILS ON HOW THAT’S GONNA HAPPEN.
Charlotte vs. Toronto (ESPN+, 6:00)
Last game, Toronto got a banger of a goal that MLS social media folks breathlessly tweeted out… and lost. The previous game, Toronto got a banger of a goal that MLS social media breathlessly tweeted out… and tied. Two bangers and one single point in the standings. One cannot ask for anything more from the team that is morphing into the Los Angeles Angels:
They’re playing on the road this week at CLT FC. CLT FC is owned by the same guy who owns the Carolina Panthers. They play at the same stadium where the Carolina Panthers play. The Carolina Panthers have an preseason game at home on Friday, less than 24 hours beforehand. So if you get a distinctly MLS 1.0 feel from this game, now you know why.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: CLT FC, but ‘Tungsten Leg’ O’Shaughnessy scores for Toronto from the Panthers logo at midfield.
New York Red Bulls vs. Miami (ESPN+, 6:00)
So last week, the Red Bulls were at home against Cincinnati and did what they did best at home: Fail to win at Red Bull Arena. 13 home games, 3 wins. This is a truly impressive feat for a team that is currently sitting fourth in the East. At this point, if you’re betting on a Red Bulls home win, you’re giving money away. Actually, if you’re betting on MLS at all, your degeneracy is just one step removed from betting on NFL preseason games.
But this week, they get to play the team with the worst road record of any playoff team. Maybe instead of a flamingo, Miami should put an orchid in their crest. Such delicate flowers that requires just the right climate. Anyway, this is a classic matchup of the very stoppable force against the very movable object. It has literally zero impact on FCD, so let’s go for pain and suffering, baby!
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw, because it’ll give both fanbases something to hate.
Cincinnati vs. Columbus (ESPN+, 6:30)
HELL. IS. REAL. The billboard on I-71 that gave this rivalry its name was paid for by some Kentucky developer and sits on an Ohio farmer’s land.
If you could go back in time and tell all those people, “Hey, that billboard that you’re putting up? It’s gonna be completely co-opted as the name of the rivalry between a couple of mediocre professional soccer teams in Cincy and Columbus,” they’d probably give you the same look that Bruce Springsteen had on his face the first time he heard that “Born in the USA” was being played at Reagan campaign rallies in 1984.
Hell is real and it’s Ohio.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw, and Columbus and Cincinnati fans come to the realization once again that as Jean-Paul Sartre wrote, “Hell is other people,” as they are surrounded by each other for 90 minutes as their teams play to an ultimate unsatisfying stalemate.
Philadelphia vs. Colorado (ESPN+, 6:30)
If one were to pick a “most hater city in America,” it would be Philly, obviously. We don’t need to go through their long and sordid history to know that this is the case. “Philly vs. Everybody” isn’t just a cute t-shirt, it’s a way of life. And in a season in which LAFC is getting all the love from the national soccer media, Philly is over there in the corner, pounding away at the speed bag (or as some people call it, “DC United”), only six points behind LAFC and ahead of LAFC on goal differential.
If there was a season to pique PhillyFans’ feelings of disrespect and petty grievances, this is it. Respect.
And look who’s coming to town! The team that has been the pimple on the ass of Major League Soccer for 27 years, the Colorado Rapids.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Philly. Pretend you’re playing DC United again.
Chicago vs. Montreal (ESPN+, 7:00)
The Fire return home this weekend after a short road trip last weekend to Bridgeview, which saw them lose to NYCFC, who I’m sure felt right at home not playing at Yankee Stadium. Look, all joking aside, I think it’s great that the Fire helping to grow the game in the Chicago area by playing a regular season game at the historic home of the Chicago Red Stars. Unfortunately, since the Chicago Bears have played a home game at Soldier Field within the last three months, the grass will be torn up in some places and non-existent in others. Oh well. It’s not like there are any other suitable places to play a full season of professional soccer in the Chicago area.
The Fire will be facing their former homegrown player Djordje Mihailovic, whom Montréal just sold for over $6 million and who’ll be heading to AZ Alkmaar at the end of the season. That’s some pretty good cheddar. And all it cost Montréal to get him in 2021 was about $1 million in Garberbucks! Though I’m sure that the Fire spent those Garberbucks wisely. They always do, don’t they?
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Montréal, because I like seeing the Chicago Fire keep being stupid and keep getting punished for it.
Kansas City vs. San Jose (ESPN+, 7:30)
This is your Bumfight of the Week. In one corner, we have San Jose, at 12th in the West. In the other, we have Kansas City, dead last in the West. Read that last sentence again. Luxuriate in it. In fairness to both, however, they are both coming off improbable and extremely amusing wins, both at home. But alas, all joy in life is fleeting, especially when you’re not a very good team, as neither of these two teams are. And since one of these teams is Sporting Kansas City, they deserve an extra helping of shit to eat.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: San Jose, because it brings me joy to write “last-place Sporting Kansas City.” Ahh… there’s that dopamine hit.
FCD vs. Real Salt Lake (KTXA/FCDallas.com, 8:00)
I’ll keep it short and sweet. Texas’ culinary contributions to the world are long and voluminous. It is a rich tapestry of flavors from the Deep South, from Mexico, from countries all over the world. Utah mixed together ketchup and mayo and called it “fry sauce.” As Texas’ first team, FCD is therefore duty-bound to craphammer the team representing the fry sauce-eating cretins from Utah.
Seriously, I don’t really hate RSL that much. But FCD needs to beat them like a drum just for being foolish enough to think that Pablo Mastroeni was not a booger-eating doofus after his time running the Rapids.
Vancouver vs. Nashville (ESPN+, 9:00)
All joking aside, that was quite an asswhooping that FCD caught from Nashville last week. I’m surprised that Channel 21 didn’t get into trouble with the FCC for airing a snuff film over the airwaves, but I guess that’s how it goes in Joe Biden’s America, y’all.
With pieces of Maarten Paes still stuck between their teeth, Nashville heads to Vancouver to face MLS’ Blandest Team. Honestly, I can’t give you a reason to care about a game between a team that’s currently at 9 wins, 9 draws, and 9 losses with a goal differential of +2, and a team whose high point as an MLS team was “sold Alphonso Davies to Bayern Munich,” except for the fact that both of these teams are not that far behind FCD, so a draw would be nice.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw, I guess.
Atlanta vs. DC United (Univision/TUDN/Twitter, 3:00)
Putting this game on Univision almost feels like a hate crime against Spanish speakers. It certainly feels like one against the announcing crew, and if you’re looking to practice your comprehension of Spanish spoken in the most exasperated of tones and hear phrases like “fue una pase malísima” and “SE… LA… PERDIÓ,” this is the game for you. The only reason why I didn’t make this the Bumfight of the Week is that Atlanta isn’t that far from the playoffs… in theory.
But it is a bumfight. Atlanta United in 2022 feels like a long con to get Atlantans hyped for Falcons season. Meanwhile, after only a few weeks on the job, Wayne Rooney has already called out his team’s effort after getting curbstomped last week by Philly, which I feel is a bit unfair, since you really gotta work hard to get skunked 13-0 in two games against a single team in a single season.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw, and hopefully something entertaining like 4-4 or 5-5, because I don’t really want to practice my comprehension of “Spanish as spoken by someone who is losing the will to go on.”
Orlando vs. New York City (FS1, 6:30)
When I saw this game on the schedule, it puzzled me because it seems like FS1’s usual Sunday night fare features one or more of the LA teams or Portland or Seattle or Austin, complete with an Alexi Lalas tongue bath for one of those teams.. So big ups to Fox for expanding their horizons to a couple of east coast teams.
Anyway, it’s appropriate that some people call NYCFC the Pigeons because just like birds aren’t real, a soccer team without a home, who plays most its home games at baseball stadiums, whose big signings come from other teams that its sportswashing owners also own, whose tiny championship banner was printed over at the UPS Store, and whose coach quit a few months after winning said championship, also doesn’t seem like it’s real.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Orlando, because Orlando is real… we think… and they pay Óscar Pareja to be their coach.
New England vs. LA Galaxy (ESPN+, 7:00)
MLS doesn’t have relegation, so it doesn’t have any relegation six-pointers, the kind of games that are much beloved by people who teams aren’t actually in them. So of course, members of the promotion/relegation cult, most of whom have been lifelong fans of an English “Big Six” team since 2017, will lament that MLS doesn’t have them. You’ll just have to get over it, @ArsenalFanDubuque. No, I don’t want to read your 30 tweet thread about how MLS’ lack of promotion and relegation caused the breakup of Oasis.
But MLS does have late-season matches like this, where two decidedly mediocre teams on either side of the playoff line can fight like a couple of caged rats on an August night on a plastic field in an NFL stadium halfway between Boston and Providence, all to eek into the playoffs as the #7 seed and get whooped in their first match. And it amuses me that the LA Galaxy, MLS’ most successful team, is one of those teams.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: New England, because I’m here for the continued suffering the LA Galaxy.