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.
Since we last got together, dear reader, MLS and FC Dallas have had two matchdays. Our heroes were on the road for both, and well, at least they got a point for their troubles. Both matches were on the road, in San Jose and in Kansas City, both matches had FCD playing lineups that weren’t quite “first choices,” and most distressingly, both matches featured a second-half stoppage time goal as FCD battled back from deficits.
Look, we all love Jesús Ferreira. Jesús is unquestionably the best player on the team. Jesús is unquestionably the biggest attacking threat on the team. The problem is that no one else in the front five, with the possible exception of Jáder Obrian (!) looks as if they’re interested in challenging him on that second point, not even their $7 million wunderkind.
If this team is planning on doing anything this season, they’re going to have to be able to score more than one goal.
EL SUPERCLÁSICO DEL SIGLO (de la semana)
OL Reign vs. Portland Thorns (CBS Sports Network, 7:00)
While this is an MLS-focused column, I like to occasionally check out other leagues, including NWSL. And this weekend, we’ve got the biggest rivalry in American women’s soccer on tap as the Portland Thorns head north to Seattle to face off against OL Reign.
Now, you might be saying, “Hey Dustin, I don’t know much about the NWSL. Tell me why I should watch this.” OK, I’ll give you a few reasons.
First, it’s Seattle against Portland. These two places just don’t like each other. It’s not just a soccer rivalry. It’s not just a sporting rivalry. It’s a civic rivalry.
Second, both teams are pretty good. They’re tied for second in the NWSL with 16 points, just a point out of first place. We’re almost halfway into the season, so these games are starting to be more important.
Third, both teams have players you might see next month at the Women’s World Cup. Portland’s got Becky Sauerbrunn, Lindsey Horan, and Christine Sinclair! OL Reign has Rose Lavelle, Megan Rapinoe, and Sofia Huerta!
It’s gonna be the best game this weekend domestically, so even though it’s on at the same time as FCD’s match, you should DVR it or whatever your streaming service offers. If nothing else, it’ll allow you to sound a little smarter about the players when one of your coworkers wants to chat you up about the Women’s World Cup next month.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot: This is the main event of a doubleheader that has the Sounders and Timbers as the warmup act, but you know, the Timbers kind of stink, so while Fox is gonna make a big deal about that game, this is the one where both teams are, you know, good.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Portland. As a general principle, I’m against the Chivas USAs and NYCFCs of the world, so I’m not making any exceptions for yet another domestic team owned by a bigger team overseas.
Little Brother Game of the Week
St. Louis City vs. Houston Dynamo (Apple TV+, 7:30)
Since starting off the season like a house on fire, the Toasted Ravioli Boys have fallen back a bit, falling back into… second place in the West, largely on the strength of LAFC not actually playing anything resembling a league schedule these days with their deep CONCACAF Champions League run, and with everyone else in the West, including FC Dallas, showing more interest in herping and derping around than in moving up the table.
If that sounds like exaggeration, it’s not. St. Louis has only played 13 complete games this year and is still in second place on points. Meanwhile, everyone immediately behind them not named “LAFC” has played 15. Now, the real ones know that this means more schedule congestion in the second half of the season, but for now, good job, St. Louis.
And while things will get tougher later in the season, they will not get tougher this weekend because the Dynamo are coming to town. While Ben Olsen has done an admirable job with the Dynamo this season, largely on the strength of a great record in front of friends and family at Shell Energy Stadium, they are still amusingly winless on the road.
Their most recent show of road ineptness came on Wednesday night at BC Place where a few things of note happened for the Dynamo:
- They gave up Vancouver’s first goal in the first minute of the game.
- They stormed back with two unanswered goals in the next 15 minutes to take a 2-1 lead.
- They gave up the next three goals unanswered to go down 4-2 in the 60th minute.
- Their backup forward Nelson Quiñónes got himself run in the 63rd minute.
- They gave up two more goals to lose 6-2.
If you, like me, were greatly annoyed by FCD’s visit to Kansas City and you watched this game after the FCD-SKC game, your spirits could not help but be lifted by this display of utter ineptitude on the part of Little Brother Orange.
Good thing for them that they get to bounce back from that debacle with a road game against a team that’s actually good.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw. While I will never root for Little Brother Orange to be GOOD, I will gladly root for them to be useful to FCD.
“Let’s Pretend to Care About the Eastern Conference” Game of the Week
Columbus Crew vs. Charlotte FC (Apple TV+, 6:30)
This is likely the best Eastern Conference game of the weekend. Every other team in the East is either playing a Western Conference team or are involved in a complete mismatch. This is the only one that involves two Eastern Conference teams above the playoff line.
And yeah, I could write about Cincinnati vs. Chicago, but writing about snuff films is for other parts of the Internet. Go look on the dark web for that shit, is all I’m saying.
So let’s talk about this game. And let’s get the obvious question out of the way first:
“Charlotte’s above the playoff line?”
Yes! They are in seventh place in the East, two points ahead of tenth place Montréal. Another question?
“Wait, when did MLS get a team in Charlotte?”
Last season. Yes, I know, you probably forgot about it because they weren’t that bad, like the early Cincy teams, or that good like Seattle has been or like St. Louis has been. They missed the playoffs last year by not a huge margin. Their fans aren’t excessively obnoxious, they don’t have any big-name players, they don’t have any celebrity fans, and they basically exist for the Carolina Panthers ownership to fill more dates at Bank of America Stadium. They’re just… there, sort of like the Whitecaps.
What’s more, FC Dallas didn’t play them last year and won’t play them this year, either. But they do get to play Little Brother Green three times this year, though. So you, fellow FCD fan, can be excused for not knowing a single thing about them.
So with those questions out of the way, the Columbus Crew, whom I hope you know after 27 seasons of existence, are hosting Charlotte this weekend. Columbus in sixth place and don’t look too shabby in their bounceback season under Wilfried Nancy after canning that preening schmo Caleb Porter. This probably won’t be a clash of the titans, but it will at least have (takes breath) PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS and it’ll likely be a competitive match.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Columbus. Otherwise, I’ll start to have to pay attention to teams that FCD will never, ever play and that I don’t care about. That’s like making me have to pay attention to Ligue 1.
Bumfight of the Week
No bumfights this week. No, really. Look at the schedule. There are 13 games this week, and not a single one of them features two crummy teams, rolling around in the dirt, scrapping for whatever points they can get. I wish that it were so, because those games are the most fun to write about.
Of course, it didn’t help that the Galaxy are off this weekend. So it was the perfect time to fire their president, Chris Klein, who had earlier promised to step down if the Galaxy didn’t make the playoffs. That obviously didn’t rally his team the way he had hoped and Anschutz Entertainment Group decided to relieve him of that obligation, and his job, on Tuesday.
And since this remains the most amusing league in the world, the Galaxy responded with a 3-2 win in Salt Lake on Wednesday. The more conspiratorially minded among us saw that result and wondered if the Galaxy were tanking to get him fired. Others among us saw who was not in the lineup, due to red card suspension:
Coincidence? Correlation? Causation? You be the judge.
Good Guys Game of the Week
FC Dallas vs. Nashville SC (Apple TV+, 7:30)
Nashville SC tasks me.
They have tasked me since they first played FCD in the wake of both teams’ ejection from the MLS Is Back tournament due to high COVID case counts, beating FCD twice in a row in front of an empty Toyota Stadium.
They task me because I consider Nashville to be less a city and more of a bachelorette party mecca, filled with novelty bars and grills owned by second-rate bro country singers.
They task me because they employ two of FCD’s biggest “what might’ve been” stories in the forms of Dax McCarty and Walker Zimmerman.
They task me because they have as their coach Gary Smith, whom most FCD fans will forever remember as the coach of the 2010 Colorado Rapids.
They task me because they also employ a third former FCD player, Fafà Picault.
I have never seen a bigger heel turn in the 27 years I’ve been watching this team and this league than Fafà Picault. He was with FCD for only one season, the pandemic season of 2020. But ever since FCD traded him to Houston after that season, he’s made it his mission to do two things in every match against his former team:
- Score a goal
- Wind up every single FCD player he can
Why? I don’t know. There’s been no lack of speculation online for the reasons. But he’s scored four goals in six matches against FCD since he was traded, including a goal in the Open Cup match a few weeks ago. And of course, there’s always the obligatory “Fafà vs. the entire FC Dallas team” pushing and shoving incident in every match. He’s a damn menace.
And I hate him because he got me to write a bunch of words about him and not the guy who’s most likely to kill FCD, Hany Mukhtar. The mark of a true heel.