The FCD Fan’s Guide to Hatewatching Matchday 19, a.k.a. Sickos Week

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

I thought about going with Beck’s “Loser” for this week’s very special Sickos edition of the Hatewatching Guide, but I like “Where It’s At” better and I like this cover of that song better than the original Beck version.

Worst Season Ever Watch

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: FC Dallas gets another stood-on-his-head performance from Maarten Paes, but is utterly inept going forward, and loses 1-0. The guy is the best goalkeeper in the league, he’s likely gonna be FCD’s next outgoing big-money transfer, and his talents are utterly wasted on team that wouldn’t know what to do near the opposing goal if it had a set of Ikea instructions:

What Andre Zanotta should’ve done before constructing this roster

Anyway, a week in LA resulted in two games in LA with an xG of “LOL,” two losses, and a resumption of the chase for the high water mark for futility in this club’s history:

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

Sickos Game of the Week #1

New England Revolution vs. New York Red Bulls (MLS Season Pass, 6:30)

I’m veering off the usual format this week for two reasons:

  1. Due to the international break, there are only four matches this week.
  2. They’re all Sickos Games in one way or another. Only three teams in playoff position will be in action, and not against one another.

The first of these features a team in playoff position, the Red Bulls. They’re visiting a team who everyone thought would be in playoff position right now, but is currently in the driver’s seat for the Wooden Spoon.

Both these teams made coaching hires in the past offseason, and if I were to give you the following resumés, which one do you think would be in playoff position and which one would be one his way to the Wooden Spoon:

Coach A: NCAA championship, two MLS Cups with two different clubs
Coach B: Fired from two different Bundesliga clubs after less than two full seasons with each.

Of course, Coach A is Caleb Porter and Coach B is Sandro Schwarz, which just goes to show you that you never can tell in this league. And while I’ll be the first to admit that I thought that Schwarz would be yet another Red Bulls international coaching hire that would fall comfortably in the range between “mediocre” and “terrible,” I’ll also admit that a team who was one of the best in the league and was replacing the best coach in league history with another coach with skins on the wall would just keep them humming along.

And I’ve never been more happy to be wrong in Porter case. I’m not saying that I’ll be ready to add “MLS Wooden Spoon: 2024” to the “Honors” section of Caleb Porter’s Wikipedia page within seconds of the Revs’ clinching it, but somebody else doesn’t do it, I will.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: New York, but since you never can tell in this league, New England will probably win.

Sickos Game of the Week #2

Sporting Kansas City vs. Seattle Sounders (MLS Season Pass, 7:30)

There was a time in the history of American business when a person could go work for a company when they were at the beginning of their adulthood and pretty much work for that same company for the entirety of their adult life, and when they retired, collect a nice pension from that company for the rest of their life. Now, as a Gen Xer software developer who has been laid off from multiple gigs over his career, this seems like a fairy tale, but I have been assured that such things did take place once upon a time.

This has come to mind because of one Peter Vermes, manager and sporting director of Sporting Kansas City. Vermes was hired as technical director in November 2006, became the head coach on an interim basis in August 2009, and got the permanent gig that offseason. For those of you keeping score, that’s over seventeen years in charge of that team in one capacity or another.

Image 6
For the record, he retired as a player in 2002

I could have similar thoughts about Brian Schmetzer. He became the head coach of the Seattle Sounders in the USL in 2002, stayed on as Sigi Schmid’s assistant when the Sounders joined MLS in 2009, became interim head coach in 2016 when Schmid stepped down, and became permanent (again) that following offseason. So for those of you keeping score, in the last 22 and a half seasons, the Sounders have had two coaches, and for roughly 15 of those seasons, it’s been Brian Schmetzer. I’m genuinely impressed, since our favorite club has had two names and seven coaches in that time.

And now in 2024, the two clubs have a combined 29 points after a combined 32 matches, which kind of makes me wonder which one of them is gonna be first to get a gold watch, a handshake, and hearty thanks for their service to the club.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw. It’s a crab bucket down here in the nether regions of the Western Conference, and well, can’t be lettin’ the other crabs climb out of the bucket.

Sickos Game of the Week #3

St. Louis City vs. Portland Timbers (MLS Season Pass, 7:30)

The Portland Timbers are currently out of the crab bucket, since they are currently ninth and therefore in playoff position, but let’s face it: They’re not any good, and as FCD fans, we’ve become experts on “not any good” lately, so the fact that they’re playing St. Louis, currently 11th and in the crab bucket, definitely qualifies this as a Sickos game.

St. Louis fans are joining the fans of most of the other teams playing this weekend in asking “What the hell happened?” Last year, they finished top of the Western Conference. Now? 11th place.

In their case, I can tell you what happened: Ties happened, eight of them, to be exact.

2017’s evidence that ties kill you, especially when the first tiebreaker is “most wins.”

They’re not that bad. They’ve only lost four games. They have a -2 goal differential. Both of those are better than some playoff teams. They’re 6th in the West in goals allowed.

But they’re not that good either. Two of those draws came after having a lead after the 80th minute. They’ve been shut out three times, same as FCD. They’re 10th in the West of goals scored. In many respects, they’re a slightly warmed-over FC Dallas, with the notable exception they don’t subject Roman Bürki to a 90 minute barrage of shots, the way that FCD subjects Maarten Paes.

I honestly don’t have anything bad to say about the Toasted Ravioli Boys. They’re just not that good. They’ve only been in the league for one season and they haven’t done anything terribly obnoxious, outside of employing noted human-donkey hybrid Tim Parker. It’s not like they’ve covered up sexual misconduct and domestic abuse in their organization and hired a head coach with a 1950s approach to comedy about women, but somehow still managed to coach a women’s national team.

If they did all that, they’d be shitty and I would have to say mean things about them.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw. I mean, it’s apparently St. Louis’ comfort zone and I don’t really want Portland to have nice things like “wins.”

Sickos Game of the Week #4 Good Guys Game of the Week

Minnesota United vs. FC Dallas

For 50 years, one of America’s preeminent soccer writers has been Paul Gardner of Soccer America. He doesn’t write much of anything anymore, but for years, he wrote regular commentaries for Soccer America, wrote the book The Simplest Game: The Intelligent Fan’s Guide to the World of Soccer, and even did color commentary for TV broadcasts of the NASL and the World Cup in the ’70s and ’80s.

He’s English, but it is noteworthy for his disdain for the way the game was played for decades in his own country and the European continent and his love for the way it is played in “Latin” countries, both of which were recurring themes in his columns. Even in the ’90s, before the absolutely obscene selection of televised soccer that we have today, it was apparent that perhaps these themes were lazy and hamhanded.

Seriously, though, read this book.

But he apparently rubbed off on me because when I found out that Minnesota United had hired an Welsh Manchester United assistant coach to replace the fired Adrian Heath, my reaction was a lot more… mirthful, as opposed to the slightly more hopeful reaction I had when I found out that FC Dallas had hired a former Valencia B head coach to replace Luchi Gonzalez.

But the joke’s on me, since the Loons under Eric Ramsay have overcome the Emanuel Reynoso’s final act of flakiness and not showing up to play for a club that was paying him over $2 million a year, and they’re currently sitting third in the West, a nice improvement to the 11th place finish in 2023. Well done so far. Meanwhile, let’s not talk about how our Spanish coach is doing after more than two seasons of steady decline.

And normally, I’d expect a team playing such competent soccer, playing in front of their home crowd, to blast our beloved group of marginally competent players into next week. But this is not a normal week. This is one of few times this season that FCD will be playing during an international break, and since they’re not very good, they only have only one senior call-up — Carl Sainté for Haiti. They’re also missing Nolan Norris with the US U-19 team. However, these call-ups are more interesting to John Gall than Nico Estévez.

The same cannot be said for Minnesota, who will be missing

  • Dayne St. Clair (Canada)
  • Robin Lod (Finland)
  • Kervin Arriaga (Honduras)
  • Joseph Rosales (Honduras)
  • Alejandro Bran (Costa Rica)
  • Carlos Harvey (Panama)
  • Teemu Pukki (Finland)
  • Tani Oluwaseyi (Canada)
  • Zarek Valentin (Puerto Rico)

Oluwaseyi, Lod, and Arriaga are the Loons’ top three scorers. All but Valentin are seeing significant time this season. The bottom line is that FCD, such as they are, will be facing MNUFC II Plus Special Guest Stars on Saturday night.

Not that this team needs too many more signposts on their road to ignominy this season, but losing this one would definitely be one. So don’t lose this game. Show the world that FC Dallas is better than a glorified MLS Next Pro team.

Sure, it’s definitely a case of lowered expectations, but that’s where we’re at with 2024 FC Dallas.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *