The FCD Fan’s Guide to Hatewatching Matchday 18

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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A 34-game season will really lay bare a club’s suspect roster construction, especially when the coach decides to a major tactical shift before the season. Every single writer at this site has hammered away at this club’s issues with playing three in the back — not enough center backs, no real wingbacks — so I won’t go into them.

So you’ll get Marco Farfan being ridden like a rented mule at left wingback because the alternative is Dante Sealy, and you’ll get Nkosi Tafari, Sebastien Ibeagha, and Sam Junqua being ridden like rented mules at center back, even though only two of those players are natural center backs, because the alternative is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Maybe Omar Gonzalez, maybe Carl Sainté. And it only kind of works if Maarten Paes is standing on his head in goal.

It often doesn’t work, even with Paes’ heroic efforts, which is the reason why this section is here. But it definitely does not work when Farfan gets subbed out for Sealy and Tafari gets run for two yellow cards.

2024 – 3 wins, 7 losses, 4 draws, 13 points
2003 – 2 wins, 8 losses, 4 draws, 10 points


CF Pachuca vs. Columbus Crew (FS1 and TUDN, 8:15)

I love the Columbus Crew. Not like I love my wife or my parents, or like Swifties love Taylor Swift. I don’t love them as much as FC Dallas, even FCD often feels like a cousin who perpetually looks as if they’re gonna get their act together, but doesn’t.

But I have a lot of warm feelings for the Crew. Just look at their recent history:

  • Their failson owner decides that he doesn’t want to be in Ohio State’s shadow anymore and would rather be in the University of Texas’ shadow instead.
  • He fails, thanks to Ohio laws that were in place after notorious dirtbag Art Modell moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore, and the Crew were sold to the owners of the new Cleveland Browns.
  • The Crew wins MLS Cup in 2020.
  • The Crew gets a new stadium in downtown Columbus, near where the NHL’s favorite punching bags, the Columbus Blue Jackets, play.
  • The Crew hired Wilfried Nancy after CF Montréal determined that he was surplus to requirements and didn’t retain him.
  • The Crew wins MLS Cup in 2023.

And now, they’re playing for the CONCACAF club championship and a berth in the World Club Championship. What a story! How can you not love them?

Their opponents are Pachuca, whom most of us remember from knocking FC Dallas out of the semifinals of the 2017 CONCACAF Champions Cup on their way to winning it all. Two of Pachuca’s four goals in knocking out FCD were scored by a young(ish) Franco Jara, who enraptured FCD owner Dan Hunt, but not to the point where FCD would actually spend money to sign Jara until three years later, when the ravages of age had caught up with him.

Still, I remember Jara fondly. He was almost always a professional and would give kill his own mother if he needed to do so for an FCD victory. Scoring goals? Eh, it was a bit tougher for a team that counted on speed in the attack and would usually be in the opposing end before he was, despite his best efforts. But man, we learned to love him when we got a year of his successor.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Columbus. There are some MLS clubs that I would actively root against in a competitive match against Mexican opposition. The Crew are not one of those clubs.

Little Brother Game of the Week

Real Salt Lake vs. Austin FC (MLS Season Pass, 8:30)

My wife and I used to have an indoor-outdoor tuxedo cat by the name of Sid. Sid loved to hunt when he was outside, and he liked to be outside. Sometimes we’d pass by the back door of our house and see Sid reclining in our of the beds in the backyard, sometimes sleeping, sometimes eyes wide open and watching his territory.

Sid, first of his name, slayer of mice, birds, and bunnies

Sid was also the neighborhood rodent control. And he was the bunny control. (Although he had a size limit. A cat’s gotta know his limitations.) We’d occasionally find bunny carcasses outside the back door in his efforts to feed the hairless apes in his house who he was sure couldn’t feed himself. Sometimes, we’d just find a couple of bunny feet. We’d always praise him effusively as we cleaned up the mess.

Sid got old and sick and we had to put him down a couple years ago. But I bring him up because I’m thinking about how many rabbits had die for all the lucky rabbit’s feet that RSL must be carrying in their front pockets, their back pockets, their shirt pockets, and their man purses to be getting so damn lucky late in games. Two weeks ago, they came back from 3-2 against Colorado to win 5-3. Last week, well, let’s not talk about it. And on Wednesday night, they got a stoppage time goal to draw 1-1 in Seattle.

Are they a good team? Yes. Are they well-coached? Well, Pablo Mastroeni at least appears to not be preventing from being good. But damn, they are lucky.

May their luck continue on Saturday night, even if they shouldn’t need it against Little Brother Green. But they should try to keep Zac MacMath from making their lives too difficult.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Real Salt Lucky.

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


You can’t make me pretend to care about any of the Eastern Conference games, which are either Sickos-caliber or are “midtable or worse vs. midtable or worse.”

Sickos Game of the Week

Chicago Fire vs. LA Galaxy (MLS Season Pass, 7:30)

Except this one, of course. I was looking at the possible candidates for the Sickos game, and while it’s fun to talk about San Jose and Kansas City and New England, we haven’t talked nearly enough about the Chicago Fire lately. Of course, this is largely due to the Chicago Fire themselves, and their history in the last 20 years of being the Chicago Dumpster Fire.

That number is only a slight exaggeration, by the way. It has been 18 years since the Fire won the 2006 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, which was the last time they won anything. They have had more home stadiums (2) and more crests (3) in that time than actual trophies. They even decided to go from being almost entirely clad in red to almost entirely clad in navy blue with their return to Soldier Field in 2020, which is a thing that precisely no one asked for.

But hey, the Fire are fixing all that with what I call the Jack Donaghy Method:

Forget Blazing Saddles. They could never make 30 Rock today.

They’ve been trying to be the biggest losers for 20 years. Now, they’re gonna try to make it 1997 again through science or magic. It makes sense! The late ’90s is when they were born as a club and when they had their greatest period of success.

They’re back at Soldier Field. They’ve got original Fire player Frank Klopas as their head coach… again. (He’s had four stints on the touchline, two interim and two permanent.) They’ve gone back to their original red shirts and red shorts. They’ve got a central European #10, just like the old days. They’ve got a holding midfielder that they got out of LA, just like the old days.

And… they’re in 14th place in the East. Oh well. Maybe they can get Bob Bradley back.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw. Nothing is more pathetic for me as a Gen Xer than watching somebody trying to relive the ’90s, but it’s not like I want the Gals to win or anything.

Good Guys Game of the Week

Los Angeles FC vs. FC Dallas (MLS Season Pass, 9:30)

The second half of FCD’s two-game trip to LA this week is against LAFC. I hope they’ve had fun off the field. I hope that they’ve seen the Getty, taken in a ballgame at Dodger Stadium and had a Dodger Dog, and seen all the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

But I know they probably didn’t do that or any of the other fun stuff there is to do in Southern California. This is a business trip, baby. And a business trip when you’re playing for one of the worst teams in club history means a lot of thousand-yard stares on the team’s social media.

Man, I know the feeling (Courtesy: FC Dallas on X)

But what better time to get down to business than when you’ve already taken one in the shorts at the Galaxy’s place, lost your best defender to a red card, and are gonna be playing the team that won the championship two years ago and has one of the league’s leading scorers?

Note that I didn’t say anything about their World Cup-winning keeper. As someone who supports Tottenham Hotspur in the MLS offseason, it pains me to speak badly about Hugo Lloris, but I watch Lloris with LAFC and ask “Why?” They had perfectly serviceable keepers in Maxime Crépeau and John McCarthy, who were good enough to get them an MLS Cup in 2022. And LAFC didn’t think that either was worth holding onto this offseason?

Well, I guess that when you have the opportunity to sign a World Cup winner, you do it. And if a couple of serviceable vets who have gotten you silverware have to go, that’s what you do. The funny thing about it is this: Lloris hasn’t been that good. By most advanced metrics, Maarten Paes has been better than Lloris. In fact, most keepers in MLS have been better than Lloris.

But has Maarten gotten any 37-year-old international teammates to sign with FC Dallas? Well, no. So I guess that Lloris has that over him.

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