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.
OK, first off, we’re doing a slight title change because MLS calls them “matchdays” and not “weeks,” which prevents them from doing dumb stuff like calling a Wednesday night slate of games a “week.”
With that out of the way, here’s my commentary on last Saturday’s game, as expressed on Twitter:
What more needs to be said, really? In the Beef and Broccoli Bowl, beef once again asserted its dominance.
And FCD had a game on Wednesday night against Vancouver which was a surprising drama-free win, despite having to come back from 1-0 down on a rare Maarten Paes flub. Otherwise, FCD took care of the rest as a day at the office, imposed their will for most of the 90 minutes, and walked off the pitch with a 2-1 win.
And since I like to comment on Vanni Sartini’s “dad at the Home Depot” fits, let me just point out in fairness, that his t-shirt on Wednesday night in Frisco was a Polo t-shirt. So he’s still looking like he’s headed to the Home Depot, but at least he’s rolling up in his Lexus SUV, I guess.
EL SUPERCLÁSICO DEL SIGLO (de la semana)
St. Louis City SC vs. Sporting Kansas City, (FS1, 8:30)
As opposed to last week’s slate, this week’s Rivalry Week slate is actually pretty good and has some pretty good matchups. I had to make some tough choices here. LAFC-San Jose is probably a better matchup according to the standings, but I’m gonna go with this for the sheer pettiness.
The best rivalries in sports are between cities and fanbases that are fundamentally identical. Now, I’m sure that Kansas Citians and St. Louisans would tell you all the ways they’re different from and superior to their neighbors, but you know, I don’t give a rip about that. Y’all are two peas in a pod and you have grievances. That’s the important thing.
And it seems appropriate that these cities meet on the soccer field a few days after Don Denkinger died.
Who is Don Denkinger, you might ask? Only the unwitting architect of St. Louis’ biggest grievance against Kansas City. Let’s read more from the Associated Press’ Ronald Blum, who wrote an obituary for Denkinger:
Since it was in the World Series, it was of course captured on video and on film:
St. Louis, home of the self-proclaimed Best Fans in Baseball, has never forgotten that day, which is funny because the locals all seem to forget how Mark McGwire became such a muscular home run hitter a decade later. One of the mysteries of the human mind, I guess.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw, with the potential winning goal for SKC wiped off the board by VAR because of a clear offside, as a fitting tribute to the late Mr. Denkinger.
Little Brother Game of the Week
Austin FC vs. Toronto FC (MLS Season Pass, 7:30)
Like last week, one little brother will be taking a whooping from Big Brother, so the other one gets this slot by default. And that also prevents it from being a candidate for Bumfight of the Week, which it might otherwise be!
Needless to say, this is not how either team thought this season was going to go. Austin fans are newbs and have only experienced the positives of MLS’ parity — “Hey, we can pull a few results out of our asses and we’re second in the West!” Now they’re experiencing the downside — “We’re not getting those results anymore and we suck again!”
You really hate to see it. But it gives us the following gold after Jesús Ferreira came into their house and declared, “Daddy’s home!”
But they brought the 2022 magic back on Wednesday night in Seattle. Seattle dominated almost every offensive stat… and lost 2-1 to a team with a more annoying fanbase than their own. And if it were anyone else but Seattle that had just lost that kind of game, I might have sympathy for them. But once again, Austin delivers the gift of laughs to opposing MLS fans.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Toronto. Sure they might look like a glorified Canadian Premier League team at the moment after all their injuries, but I believe in Austin’s ability to provide joy to English Canada.
“Let’s Pretend to Care About the Eastern Conference” Game of the Week
FC Cincinnati vs. Columbus Crew (MLS Season Pass, 6:30)
I was going to put this as the Superclásico game this week, but I saw the rest of the Eastern Conference slate and, well, there are a lot of games that are more unwatchable than the Mr. Bean sex tape. The best of the rest is the big Florida Man Face-Off between Orlando and Miami, but rivalries aside, that’s #10 and #11 in the East. No thanks.
But this one has rivalry and real stakes since Cincinnati is top of the East and your current Supporters’ Shield leaders. (I kid you not) and Columbus is fifth. And of course, the rivalry’s got a great name:
So yes, absolutely watch this before the FCD game. Or get good and drunk in the Toyota Stadium parking lot and ready to fight anyone wearing orange. (Just kidding, y’all. I’m a hater, not a fighter.) But definitely watch this game, either live or later.
I really have nothing bad to say about either team. Columbus’ continued presence in this league is a permanent middle finger to Austin FC and its failson owner, and they used to be a fellow Hunt-owned club, so we and their fans can swap “can you believe they did that?” stories about ownership. Meanwhile, FC Cincinnati is still cute, sort of like a tiger cub. They haven’t ripped anyone’s face off yet, so people will look at them and say “awwwww.” And there are many, many worse jackwagons in this league than Pat Noonan.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Columbus, I guess. Cincy gets demerits for what they call “chili.”
Bumfight of the Week
Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake (Apple TV+, 8:30)
As someone who’s lived in Colorado for over a decade, I’ve got a few thoughts on this game. First of all, yes, it’s an actual civic rivalry. Colorado and Utah take shots at each other constantly. That whole “Greatest Snow on Earth” slogan that Utah’s got? It’s basically Utah’s plea to the world to not go to Colorado ski areas. Meanwhile, Salt Lake is quick to remind everyone that they hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002. Denver for its part is quick to remind everyone that they were smart enough to not do so in 1976.
Second, I could list all the ways that Colorado and Utah are different, but no one cares about that. And I’m not going to do that after telling you that Kansas City and St. Louis are the same. (For the record, Colorado has legal weed and good beer and Utah doesn’t, so do with that what you will.)
Third, as a non-native resident of the Centennial State (as most residents are) who supports a team that is neither the Colorado Rapids nor Real Salt Lake, it’s always amazed me how much the two fanbases care about the Rocky Mountain Cup and how literally no one else does. Seriously, there’s a 50-50 shot that you, gentle reader, didn’t even know that the Rocky Mountain Cup existed. It was almost never a nationally-televised game back in the pre-Apple days, and even though this game is starting at a conventional 7:30 PM MT, MLS would rather push the St. Louis-Kansas City back an hour to this time so that they can put it on FS1.
Fourth, they should really rename this rivalry to the “We Were Dumb Enough to Hire Pablo Mastroeni as Head Coach” Cup. The fact that I can make this joke is really an indictment of Real Salt Lake. I mean, you fry sauce-addled clowns thought that the walking motivational poster known as Pablo Mastroeni learned some new tricks after the Rapids canned him a few years back? At least the Rapids didn’t get the benefit of looking at his resume before hiring, so they can be forgiven for that foolishness.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw. At least the Salt Lake fans will be traveling for something other than the Casa Bonita reopening.
Good Guys Game of the Week
FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo (MLS Season Pass, 7:30)
True story: Out of all the rivalry games played last weekend, Wednesday night, and this weekend, the Texas Derby is the second-oldest. Only the Galaxy-Earthquakes rivalry is older. (No, I’m not counting the Cascadia games. No matter what those herbs try to tell you, those teams started in 2009 and 2011, not 1974 and 1975.)
For the first time in years, both teams are coming into the game looking relatively competent. Both teams are in playoff spots — a common occurrence for FCD, but a relatively unusual one for the Dynamo. So the unbiased observer will think that this’ll likely be a good game.
But I’m not an unbiased observer. I don’t want a good game.
I want ritual sacrifice on the Toyota Stadium grass.
I want FCD to turn the Dynamo into the newest MLS meme.
I want crowd shots of absolutely defeated orange-clad bozos in the 35th minute. I want their section empty by the 60th minute as they clear out to beat the traffic back to Houston.
I want our heroes to absolutely run up the score on them. I want them to score seven, then when that’s done, for El Matador to chant “We want eight” in either English or Spanish
I want Nico Estévez to sub out Jesús Ferreira in the 65th minute to a standing ovation after a goal-scoring rampage. I want Ben Olsen to sub out Héctor Herrera around the same time to spare him further embarrassment and to keep him from doing something stupid.
I want the Kings of Texas, FC Dallas, to sit on a throne made from crushed hopes and dreams of the Houston Dynamo, as they have so often done.
Is this too much to ask? I think not.
Hail to the kings and crush the mother****ing orange.