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.
West #5 Real Salt Lake vs. West #4 Houston Dynamo (MLS Season Pass, 8:00)
Ugh. I truly hate writing about Little Brother Orange these days, largely because they are committed to not giving me so much free material. And I had such high hopes that writing about them this season was gonna be a pie-eating job after they hired Ben Olsen.
Yet here we are at the beginning of November and the following things have happened:
- Little Brother Orange won the Open Cup.
- Little Brother Orange finished fourth in the West and got home-field advantage in this round of the playoffs.
- Héctor Herrera is no longer looking like a Duilio Davina-level waste of money.
Give Ben Olsen Coach of the Year, I guess. Oh, he’s not a finalist? That figures, I guess. Still, I’ve had to resort to making jokes about their attendance, which is really amazing coming from an FCD fans.
More to the point of this matchup, they won Game 1 over RSL. The last time MLS did a best-of-three format was back in the late ’90s, when people thought that the color teal and team names like “Burn” and “Mutiny” were fresh, winning Game 1 was a near-guarantee of winning the series.
And as garbage as RSL has been at home in the Land of Fry Sauce (6-7-4 home record), this series stands a very strong chance of being over by 10:30 Central Time on Monday night. Thanks for nothing, RSL. I’m already steeling myself for another couple of weeks of having to admit that the Little Brother Orange is good this season.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Salt Lake. Back when Pablo Mastroeni was head coach in Colorado, I would’ve bet any amount of money that the guy had an MMJ card, and I’m wondering what he’s doing in Utah, where they do think that marijuana really is the devil’s lettuce.
West #6 Atlanta United vs. West #3 Columbus Crew (MLS Season Pass, 6:00)
While we’re on the subject of things that I thought back in March that aged really poorly, let’s turn to Atlanta United. I thought that Thiago Almada was the real deal and that he was gonna be instrumental in Atlanta’s stomping all over the Eastern Conference like Godzilla in Tokyo.
I was right about Thiago Almada but was dead wrong about Atlanta United, largely because I failed to account for their defense-optional approach to soccer. Look, I think that Nico Estévez’s defense-first approach to keeping FCD out of the relegation zone in La Liga has often rendered them completely unwatchable, but at least he’s deprived us of the fun of seeing lots of goals in Maarten Paes’ net.
Fortunately for them, and for us, the neutral viewers, they’ve got the following things going for them on Tuesday night:
- Columbus’ defense is only slightly better.
- They’re really good at home (10-3-4) in front of all their fans who probably just started coming to the games in 2017 to score $1.50 hot dogs.
- Thiago Almada will be back from suspension for the red card he picked up on Decision Day.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Atlanta in a shootout win after a 0-0 game, because the game is funny like that.
East #7 Nashville SC vs. East #2 Orlando City SC (MLS Season Pass, 8:00)
This series is the direct opposite of the Columbus-Atlanta series. While both Columbus and Atlanta are rather apathetic toward the concept of “keeping opponents from scoring on you,” both Orlando and Nashville were a bit more committed to the concept. Nashville was tied with Seattle for the fewest goals conceded with 32, and Orlando was tied for fifth in the league and second in the East with 39.
So it really should’ve been no surprise that Game 1 finished a 1-0 Orlando win.
Let’s not beat around the bush. This column has a pro-Papi bias, so I’m always gonna go with Orlando, except on the rare occasion where they play FCD. And while Nashville has Walker Zimmerman on their roster, he’s sort of negated by Gary Smith, who will forever live in infamy for his hack-a-Ferreria strategy in MLS Cup 2010, and Fafà Picault, who makes a Hulk-like transformation into the The Biggest Asshole in Major League Soccer whenever he’s playing FCD.
So get bent, Nashville. Time to return to your real passion: Promoting talentless singers who would get nothing but side-eye from Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Orlando, hopefully in a 5-4 game. Again, this is a funny game.
East #5 New England Revolution vs. East #4 Philadelphia Union (MLS Season Pass, 6:00)
The final Game 2 of the first-round series is between the Game 2 between Philadelphia and New England. Now, you might’ve forgotten that these two teams were even in the playoffs because they played Game 1 back on Saturday, October 28.
By the time this game will be played on November 8, a whopping 11 days will have passed. Hell, both these teams might’ve forgotten that they’re playing each other.
Newbies will probably ask why this series has such crazy scheduling. The real ones already know:
I guess they need a few days to scrub the football lines and Bill Belichick’s slime trail off the field. Couldn’t you have moved this game to Europe or something? Both the Patriots and the Commies stink and the MLS playoffs are in full swing!
Anyway, since it’s been so long since Game 1, a quick refresher on what happened: The best team in the Eastern Conference for the last five years got a 3-1 home win over a team that’s currently on its third coach of the season after the first coach said something so bad that no one will say what it was, and the second coach, who had reported the first coach, also got the axe a few days later.
That third coach is Clint Peay, who started the season as the head coach of New England Revolution II. I’m pretty sure that when he started the season, he didn’t figure that he’d have the big chair, but hey, next man up and all that.
At least it’s gonna look good on his resumé when he inevitably moves on.
After all, “reserve team coach and first-team interim coach” is the sweet spot for at least one MLS team when hiring a head coach.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Philly. We really need less stadium-related silliness in the MLS playoffs, so get the Revs outta here.