The FCD Fan’s Guide to Hatewatching Matchday 17

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

Worst Season Ever Watch

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For about 97 minutes, this team was about to climb a bit further clear of the pace that its predecessor set in 2003. After all, they had built a 3-0 lead! They were taking advantage of what a very generous Zac MacMath was giving them, which is something that they haven’t often done against other teams! At the other end, Golpostinho was helping Maarten Paes out and keeping Chicho Arango off the scoreboard.

And then that happened. It is said that success has many fathers, but that failure is an orphan, but Saturday night, pretty much every member of the team that was on the field and the coaching staff helped make that happen. We can all have our favorites whom we save from recriminations and heap a double helping on others, but really, almost everyone had a part to play in that tragedy.

So they remain one result away from ignominy.

2024 – 3 wins, 6 losses, 4 draws, 13 points
2003 – 2 wins, 7 losses, 4 draws, 10 points

Little Brother Game of the Week Midweek

Houston Dynamo vs. Colorado Rapids (MLS Season Pass, 7:30)

MLS has seen fit to give us an almost full slate of games this Wednesday night. They must want to make room on the calendar for some fakey-fake tournament that they’re holding with Liga MX where Open Cup-like attendances will be in stadiums across the league to watch their teams play Mexican clubs not named “Chivas” or “América.”

But even though the smorgasbord of games is truly full, it’s a Wednesday night. You’ve got work in the morning, and you can’t sit around on the sofa watching game after game like you do on the weekend, much to the possible chagrin of your significant other. So I’m just giving you one game preceding the FCD game, a game with the little brother we all love to hate.

My general opinion on USMNT Twitter is that they’re a bunch of doofuses who are wrong about almost everything and would be the nuttiest bunch of fruitcakes out there if QAnon didn’t exist. But like QAnon, they see conspiracies everywhere hatched by shadowy figures with ulterior motives. And like most of Qanon, they don’t know shit about soccer.

A meeting of the USSF board, according to USMNT Twitter

At worst, US soccer as a whole is just like the world of business or government or civil society: It’s all an old boy’s network where who you know is more important than what you know. And there’s no entry into that US soccer old boy’s network than being a high-profile American player, much like there’s no better way into the highest echelons of American government or business than attending an Ivy League diploma mill.

This leads me to the coaches in this particular tilt. Were Ben Olsen and Chris Armas two of the most high-profile American players 20 years ago? Yes. Did they represent the USA at the World Cup? Yes. Are they any good as head coaches? Maybe?

Olsen’s record at DC United was, um, uneven. He had a few good teams while he was there. He had a lot of crummy teams when he was there. He won the Open Cup there, but that was the year that DC United won the Wooden Spoon as the worst team in the league, which is an amusing achievement that Nico Estévez might match this season! And he won the Open Cup with Little Brother Orange last year, so it’s not like he’s a bad coach. Just… not great.

Armas has also lifted silverware as a head coach, the 2018 Supporters Shield, which the Red Bulls won a few months after Red Bull GmbH told Jesse Marsch that he was needed at their Salzburg operation. And he managed to hold onto the job into 2020 when he was unceremoniously fired. He then got hired in Toronto in 2021 and made it less than half a season there before he was fired. So of course the Rapids, who don’t hire coaches unless they’ve got a few firings on their resume, hired him for the 2024 season.

These guys aren’t the worst coaches in American soccer. They’re fine. But they hold two of what will soon be 30 positions at the highest level of the American professional game, which goes to show you that Skull and Bones hasn’t got shit on “picked up a lot of yellow cards in MLS in the ’90s and ’00s” when it comes to getting ahead. But if USMNT Twitter wants to think that they got where they are through satanic rituals or whatever, I won’t object too strongly.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Colorado, of course.

Good Guys Game of the Week Midweek

LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas (MLS Season Pass, 9:30)

What better time to head out to Southern California — a place that has not ever been kind to the Burn or FCD — for consecutive games against the Galaxy and LAFC than right after one of the more demoralizing results in the team’s history?

I say that from the perspective of the fans, of course. I have no clue what the team is thinking. But I can’t imagine that they were jazzed by the boos and all the hand gestures telling them that they were number one as they were coming off the field. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have had Cap’n Arriola sliding into supporters’ DMs within 24 hours of that result.

So maybe spending a week in LA wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for them, were it not for the fact that this is a work trip and they get to face two of the higher-scoring teams in the Western Conference while they’re out there.

This is where I would normally talk all sorts of shit about the Galaxy. And in previous years, I would’ve had a lot of fodder. They were the team that would find new and inventive ways to stuff their squad full of international superstars. They were the team that were the darlings of the league office and its media partners. They won stuff, a lot of stuff.

Just sayin’, it’s better than that Ronaldo bust.

But now? Inter Miami — who has former Galaxy superstar David Beckham as a minority owner — is the team finding new and inventive loopholes in the MLS roster rules and is getting all the shine for assembling The Greatest Players of the 2010s in Ft. Lauderdale. Heck, the Galaxy aren’t even #1 in their own town for spending money on formerly great players at the ends of their careers. And when was the last time the Galaxy won anything?

And yet, here they are, third in the West with a roster full of players that could wall through any mall in Southern California without causing much of a stir. Amazing things happen when you have a good coach aligned with competent management in assembling a roster.

Clark and Dan Hunt should have a look into this concept because at the moment, FCD’s got Andre Zanotta buying double bed frames at Ikea when they need bookcases, and Nico Estévez is assembling them into kitchen tables.

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