I’m Dustin “El Jefe” Christmann and I 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.
I’m currently writing this on a Southwest Airlines flight returning home, so of course, this classic from Dallas’ own Steve Miller was the obvious choice. Hey, at least it ain’t Creed.
So you went into last week’s game, at home, with a full week’s rest, against the worst team in the West, and needing just a win to clinch a playoff spot and that’s what you put out?
EL SUPERCLÁSICO DEL SIGLO (de la semana)
Sporting Kansas City vs. Minnesota United FC (MLS Season Pass, 8:00)
OK, look. This game would normally be closer to Sickos territory because both these teams are below the playoff line and the Loons have just fired Adrian Heath.
But it’s worked its way into this space for Decision Day for a couple of reasons:
- They’re kinda-sorta rivals.
- This game is one that you’re gonna want to keep an eye on and put on another screen while the FCD game on.
Honestly, if there weren’t the possibility that it might come at FCD’s expense, it would be almost funny to see Minnesota win the game and qualify for the playoffs right after they fired Heath, and it would mean that Generalissimo Peter Vermes would miss the playoffs again.
Fortunately, we don’t need Minnesota to win for that.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw, of course.
Little Brother Game of the Week
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Austin FC (MLS Season Pass, 8:00)
The 2023 FC Dallas season has been mostly devoid of entertainment, save for the drone shows, but hey, we’re here at Decision Day with a better than 50-50 chance to see our team have at least one more game. However, to hear the fans of Your Defending Copa Tejas Champions tell it, the 2023 season has been a death march of intolerable cruelty perpetrated by one Josh Wolff.
Now never mind that there are teams much worse off than theirs, they allegedly deserve better. At moments like this, it’s always good to remember the immortal words of William Munny in The Unforgiven:
Honestly, the list of things any fan deserves is pretty short and is mostly covered by the sentence “I paid my money and you admit me to my seat at the stadium to watch the game.” If there’s anyone who should feel like they deserve better, it’s the person responsible for your team’s bar on this graph:
But the person responsible for your team’s bar on that graph tried to provide you clowns with a team at the expense of fans in central Ohio, so you can go complain to the Rachel Phelps of Major League Soccer, I guess. And with that, we’re done with you for the season.
Oh, one last thing before we stop thinking about your band of incompetents for the 2023 season. Maybe a result in San Jose? I know, I know, it would kill you to do anything nice for your big brothers in Frisco and we don’t really have too many hard feelings toward Luchi Gonzalez here, but it would be doing us a solid. Might as well. You’re not gonna be rid of Josh Wolff until 2024 at least.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: (Deep, resigned sigh) Little Brother Green. Look, I’m not happy about it either, but these things happen when you’re a fan of FC Draw.
“Let’s Pretend to Care About the Eastern Conference” Game of the Week
New England Revolution vs. Philadelphia Union (Apple TV+ free game, 5:00)
It’s been an… interesting… season for the New England Revolution. Certainly, I didn’t have “the winningest American coach of all time getting run for saying something so horrible that no one wants to say what it is” on my MLS Bingo Card.
And yet — AND YET — here they are, comfortably in the playoffs and with a shot at getting home field in the first round. Win, and they finish no worse than fourth. “It must be nice,” says all FC Dallas fans everywhere.
Their visitors, the Philadelphia Union, on the other hand, had an absolutely ordinary season in 2023:
- Win a lot of games.
- Advance deep into tournaments.
- Win no trophies.
This is probably unfair to your 2020 Supporters Shield winners, but the 2007 Open Cup isn’t keeping us from cracking jokes about the Revs’ record of futility in the MLS Cup Final.
Needless to say, this is the best game of the early slate, so if you want to enjoy some quality soccer before having to watch FCD at 8:00, here’s your game.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Philly, I guess. I mean, whatever. Enjoy the spectacle.
Sickos Game of the Week
New York City FC vs. Chicago Fire (MLS Season Pass, 5:00)
For a change, this slot features a game with ✨PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS✨. And amazingly, one of the teams is the Chicago Fire. Even more amazingly, the Fire are the team higher in the Eastern Conference table. Still more amazingly, the Fire can qualify with a win and not terribly large amounts of help.
Now, this is gonna be a pretty ballsy assertion from a fan of a team that has been locked into a play-in game slot for a month and still hasn’t qualified, but maybe MLS has too many teams in the playoffs. Mind you, it ain’t as bad as when they let eight teams out of 10 into the playoffs, but still, maybe MLS needs a Chicago Fire Rule:
If the Chicago Fire go into Decision Day with a real shot at qualifying for the playoffs, we’re letting too many teams in.
But they’re still alive, and so are NYCFC, but they need a lot more help. Anything’s possible, I guess. They need a win, obviously, and a lot of help. Good thing for them they’re at home. “Home,” by the way, is Citi Field. Smart choice. It’s not like the Mets need it in October.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: The sportswashing club owned by City Football Group that’s not located in the delightful city of Girona, Spain.
Good Guys Game of the Week
LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas (MLS Season Pass, 8:00)
This season started with the Galaxy at the friendly confines of Toyota Stadium, and here we are, 33 matches later and it’s ending with the Galaxy at the less-than-friendly confines of Dignity Health Sports Park. As chance would have it, the last time that FCD ended its season in Carson needing a result was 2016:
Thanks to Carlos Ruiz’s only 2016 goal in his only 2016 action for FCD the previous week against Seattle, FCD went into the final game of the season needing only not to lose and for the Rapids not to win in order to capture the Supporters Shield. FCD got a very 2023-like 0-0 draw in Carson and the rest is history.
But enough about ancient history. People say dumb stuff on the Internet like, “The MLS regular season is meaningless.” These two teams are evidence that the opposite is true. Both have been riding the struggle bus this season, but the reason why FCD just needs a win or a draw and not so much help to make the playoffs, while the Gals were eliminated a few weeks ago are those “meaningless” games back at the beginning of the season.
In February, March, and April, FCD racked up 15 points. The Galaxy? Six. And here we are now, with one game to go, FCD seven points ahead.
I absolutely detest the way that FCD has played in 2023. It’s like two hours of torture so often. But here’s the deal: I’d stab a hobo for FCD to have players like Riqui Puig, Dejan Joveljić, and Billy Sharp up front. And those guys play on a team that has given up 63 goals this season. That’s almost two goals a game! That’s worse than what got Luchi fired.
That’s gotta suck, watching your team be dynamic and fun to watch up front, watching your lousy defense give it all back, and dealing with loss after loss because of it.
And it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch. Maybe they’ll go and fire a club legend and an MLS-Cup-winning coach over it.