The FCD Fan’s Guide to Hatewatching Matchday 16

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.

Musical accompaniment

In 1964, the movie Guns of Navarone came to Jamaica. The ska band The Skatalites took the theme and made it one of their standards. In 1997, The Skandalous Allstars, a ska supergroup made up of musicians from American ska groups, released Freedom Sounds, a tribute album full of songs The Skatalites made famous.

Worst Season Ever Watch

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Well, last week was a good week for us FC Dallas fans and a bad one for this section of the column. A draw in Houston kept El Capitán in Frisco, thanks to the previous 2-0 win in Frisco, and on Wednesday night in Open Cup play, they gave 30 shots on the road but held on for a 2-1 win… against the USL Championship Tampa Bay Rowdies. No, they didn’t have Petar Musa (Čestitamo ti na rođenju djeteta, Petar) at all or Jesús Ferreira after he went off injured in the 27th minute, but c’mon.

And they’ve advanced to the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup! And that’s further than they got in 2003. The bad news is that they get to go to Sporting Kansas City in the quarterfinals in July. This team has not beaten any MLS team in the Open Cup since beating Colorado 3-1 at home in 2017 round of 16. This team hasn’t beaten any MLS team on the road in the Open Cup since beating the Galaxy 2-1 in extra time in the 2016 semifinal. And this team hasn’t beaten Sporting Kansas City in the Open Cup since… ever. Four meetings, four losses. But I’m sure that it’ll go great this time around.

As for the league…

2024 – 3 wins, 6 losses, 3 draws, 12 points
2003 – 2 wins, 7 losses, 3 draws, 9 points


Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Inter Miami (MLS Season Pass, 9:30)

It’s pretty easy to pick this game as for this slot. Miami has the best record in the Eastern Conference and the league. Vancouver was top of the West for a hot minute earlier this season and isn’t too far off the pace now. The Whitecaps have sold 50,000 tickets at BC Place and everyone’s looking forward to some real star power coming to Vancouver instead of the usual B-listers that you’ve seen on the American basic cable shows that are being shot there.

Yeah, about that last part…

Ah, well. Bad news for folks looking to flip their tickets for top dollar — or top Canadian dollar, which is 27% less than top American dollar. Even worse news for the folks who already paid those prices. They’ll just have to settle for watch their pretty good home team play Jordi Alba and Friends, which probably ain’t too bad.

Now, I could take some shots at those Canuckistani starhumpers in this column, but with age comes self-awareness, and well, I remember how FCD fans lost their damn minds in 2007 when David Beckham didn’t appear with the Galaxy in Frisco for a SuperLiga match against FCD. The team had to issue a statement!

Anyway, thoughts and prayers to all those people who were counting on making memories from the upper deck of BC Place.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Vancouver. While I don’t like to see Western Conference teams win, I do enjoy it when teams pay the price for phoning it in, even when the alternative means a six-hour flight to the opposite corner of North America.

Little Brother Game of the Week

LA Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo (MLS Season Pass, 9:30)

Speaking of the Galaxy, as is customary when I start talking up a team, they go into the tank. The Galaxy have not won since April 22, a 4-3 win over the Earthquakes (of course). Hell, in that time, FCD has managed to win twice.

Fortunately, Little Brother Orange is in form that is only slightly better than the Gals’, having only won one game in the last month and a half and having been bounced from the Open Cup at home by Detroit City FC of the USL Championship after they took a 2-0 lead. So if there’s a team where the Gals can get out of their slump, it would be our little brothers down I-45.

And those little brothers are slumping hard. Out of the Open Cup, lost El Capitán to their betters in Frisco, sliding down the Western Conference table. Hell, they’re even out of Copa Tejas, so they can’t even soothe themselves by taking Little Brother Green’s participation trophy.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of clowns.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Galaxy by eleventy goals. He may not be one of our guys anymore, but Edwin Cerrillo knows what’s up. Time to put on a masterclass of shithousery, Edwin.

“Let’s Pretend to Care About the Eastern Conference” Game of the Week

Toronto FC vs. FC Cincinnati (MLS Season Pass, 6:30)

Toronto FC isn’t the punchline they were last year and they are most years. They’re actually in playoff position right now, and they’re only a point out of having home-field advantage in the first round, for those of you who care about such things less than halfway through the season. That doesn’t mean that they’re good yet, mind you. They’ve had two multi-game winning streaks and two multi-game losing streaks.

Still, that’s progress! The incels on USMNT Twitter will use that as evidence that anyone with the surname of Bradley is The Problem. Or at least, they would if they ever watched MLS. I guess that the best league in American soccer history just can’t hold their attention the way that the latest dirty cartoons from Japan can. (Yes, I know the term for it. No, I’m not gonna use that term because I don’t want this page to appear on some web searches.)

But you know who is very good? FC Cincinnati. After starting the season with 12 points in their first eight games, a pace that we FCD fans would kill for these days, they’ve now run off six in a row and are just one point behind Miami for the top spot in the East, showing the world that there are multiple paths to success in MLS. You can spend $40 million in payroll, or you can sell your leading scorer and have your team in a city where they sell grotesque chili over spaghetti.

How great is my devotion to FCD? I would eat this if it brought them silverware.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Cincy.

Sickos Game of the Week

Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City (MLS Season Pass, 9:30)

One of the Marks of Existence in Buddhism is that of impermanence. All things are in a constant state of flux. All physical and mental events come into being and dissolve. People live and people die. This is an important principle to remember in looking at both these teams. Once, they were regular contenders for silverware in MLS and now, they are on either side of FCD at the bottom of the Western Conference.

Sporting Kansas City has chosen the delusion of permanence in keeping Head-Coach-for-Life Peter Vermes and a core of players who should be thinking in concrete terms about retirement. And according to Buddhism, this attachment to the delusion of permanence causes suffering.

Johnny Russell’s jackassery, however, is permanent.

The Portland Timbers, on the other hand, have embraced change. Unfortunately for them, embracing change meant hiring Phil Neville. And that’s not typically a good thing to embrace. But then, the Buddha never advocated for hiring mediocre coaches with problematic histories as the path to enlightenment.

And that’s when you have to remember that sometimes, people suffer because they do dumb things.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw.

Good Guys Game of the Week

FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake (Apple TV+ free game, 7:30)

Speaking of people doing dumb things, we come to FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake. While the dumb things that FC Dallas does are well-documented throughout this site, let’s talk a little bit about Real Salt Lake, and more specifically, Pablo Mastroeni.

For the past couple of years, I’ve had a lot of fun making jokes about the dumb things that he’s said and done over the years, particularly when he was coach of the Colorado Rapids. So I was delighted to see him resurface as coach of Real Salt Lake, and to be honest, I still think he’s the guy who once said “Stats will lose to the human spirit every day of the week” when he was coaching in Commerce City.

But then, it helps when the human spirit is attached to talented humans like Chicho Arango. And it also helps when the club takes chances on young players, the coach actually plays those players, and those players perform. In other words, soccer is still a player’s game first and foremost, and good coaches may not win you too many games, but bad ones will lose you a bunch. And to his credit, Mastroeni hasn’t lost too many games for RSL, so maybe it’s time to put some shine on him.

Which brings me to FCD’s coaching staff. When I did a search on DuckDuckGo for “people suffer because they do dumb things” for the previous, this was the top result:

Maybe this is a lesson to us all. One coach is thriving because he hasn’t done too many dumb things this year, and the other apparently believes that all of us who look at this roster and say, “This team doesn’t have any wingbacks and it doesn’t have very many center backs. Why are you playing three at the back?” aren’t terribly bright.

One coach believes in youth and is thriving, and the other has a team full of talented youngsters who are killing MLS Next Pro but keeps playing a bunch of vets of questionable ability.

The path to enlightenment as a soccer coach starts with understanding that you can lose more games for your club than you can win for them. Injuries hurt, but so does foolishly believing that you’re smarter than your roster’s abilities and limitations.

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