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.
Nothing happened. FCD was off. But on the upside, that meant that guys had a chance to heal up, no one got themselves suspended, and we could all watch Jesús Ferreira represent the Red White and Blue against Jamaica and St. Kitts and Nevis, a nation half the size of Frisco. On the downside, they fell from fourth to sixth in the West.
EL SUPERCLÁSICO DEL SIGLO (de la semana)
FC Cincinnati vs. New England Revolution (MLS Season Pass, 6:30)
I was gonna talk a little bit above about the insanity of the dipshits in USMNT Twitter and their disgust with Jesús Ferreira’s inclusion in the USA team, but that topic has occupied too much of my mental energy lately, so I’ll focus on another issue that has annoyed the dumber segments of American soccer fandom:
FC Cincinnati’s refusal to sell Brandon Vazquez midseason.
The saga started with the following tweet from Univision’s Michele Giannone:
Of course, the responses from some of the dumber corners of the Internet were predictable. “MLS is holding its players back,” etc.
Now, would I be amused if FCC were to sell him to Mönchengladbach in the middle of their best season ever when they are a legitimate title contender and the current leaders for the Supporters Shield?
It would be the most glorious self-sabotage by an MLS club since FCD sold Thiago Santos two weeks before the 2021 season. Likely even bigger than that.
But not everyone is built like Andre Zanotta, so we will have to deal with Brandon Vazquez’s reign of terror on the league’s defenders for another few months.
Just not this week, since Vazquez is currently off being the USMNT Flavor of the Week at the Gold Cup. It’s a shame that he won’t be around for this six-pointer between the top two teams in the league. Both these teams are pretty good and this game should be a better display of soccer than anything going on at the same time, even with Cincy missing Vazquez and Miazga and the Revs missing DeJuan Jones. But if you insist on watching Cuba-Guadeloupe instead, I won’t judge.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Cincy. Look, nothing against the Revs, but after 27 seasons, I’d just like to see a new team from the East kick all sorts of ass in the regular season and faceplant in the playoffs.
Little Brother Game of the Week
Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo (MLS Season Pass, 9:30)
Coming into the season, I for sure thought that I was gonna get a lot of mileage out of laughing at Ben Olsen as coach of Little Brother Orange for being the same as Ben Olsen as coach of DC United and out of laughing at Héctor Herrera for being the latest Mexican player to be brought in by an MLS team to draw fans, only to be stunningly mediocre on the field.
This is why you go to other parts of 3rd Degree for serious soccer analysis. (Plug: Give Buzz your bucks.)
Little Brother Orange is annoyingly competent this season and now finds themselves in FCD’s old neighborhood of fourth place in the West, only two points behind third-place Seattle with a game in hand.
Fortunately for FCD, they’re also only one point ahead of FCD, and this game is in Not Houston, and Little Brother Orange has won only once in 10 road games so far this season. (Amusingly, that one win was two and a half weeks ago at LAFC.)
This is not to say that I want the Sounders to win, of course. Look, there are just some things we shouldn’t normalize in our society: pineapple on pizza, ketchup on hot dogs, and pro soccer on plastic. Yeah, I know we’ve been beating this drum for 15 years now, but it’s no less true now than it was then. If you as a community can’t manage to scare up a venue for your local professional soccer team that has a grass field, don’t go around acting like you’re the greatest soccer town in America. C’mon, Sounders, even TFC figured this out pretty quickly.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw, even if Ben Olsen will probably be happy about the result.
“Let’s Pretend to Care About the Eastern Conference” Game of the Week
Atlanta United vs. Philadelphia Union (Fox, Sunday at 3:00)
Since Fox is also carrying the USA-Trinidad & Tobago game at 6:00, this game will serve as the warm-up act. And because of that, the pregame, halftime, and postgame of this game will likely feature a lot of pregame hype for the USA game. And of course, that’ll mean Alexi Lalas saying lots of things in a very unambiguous tone. And on occasion, some of them might be true!
Or you can save yourself the hassle and watch this game for free on Apple TV+. Surely they’ll have someone better than the Fox C-team (since the A and B teams will be doing the Gold Cup games later)… oh, Apple’s gonna have Steve Cangialosi and Danny Higginbotham on the mic? Well, at least the picture quality will be better on Apple.
The real shame in all of this is that all of these marginally competent announcers will be calling a game between two really good teams that’ll be overshadowed by yet another USA game against Trinidad & Tobago of some level of importance. (Why is it always Trinidad & Tobago?)
As an FCD fan, I feel some level of kinship with the Philly fans: Fans of a light-spending team with a strong youth setup that has made its name by sending its products to other teams overseas, a stadium in a place that many people treat like is on the moon, and a single trip to the MLS Cup final which ended with defeat being snatched from the jaws of victory.
Or I could pick a team who plays on a plastic field at somebody else’s stadium in front of plastic fans. At least the Sounders have something resembling history.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Philly. Say what you will about Philly fans, but at least they’ve never unleashed anyone as annoyingly mediocre as J. Sam Jones on the American soccer media.
“Oh God, The Blood” Matchup of the Week
St. Louis City SC vs. Colorado Rapids (MLS Season Pass, 7:30)
Sometimes the league schedule provides, and sometimes it doesn’t. This week, the closest thing that we were gonna get to a bumfight was gonna be Minnesota-Portland. And while it brings me some level of pleasure to call Adrian Heath a bum, it was not exactly a bumfight-level matchup.
So I’m switching the bumfight out this week for the game that you snuff film aficionados will appreciate, you sickos. And I want to point and laugh at the Rapids.
It’s not just that the Rapids are bad this year, but they’re also showing a lot of style in their badness. In 19 games, they’ve won twice. They’ve scored 14 times. They’ve been shut out 10 times. Most amazingly, they have yet to win at home one time this year in 10 tries.
There is no better expression of how stylishly bad they are than their two games against the Galaxy. Last week, in Commerce City, 0-0. But in May, in Carson, they walked out with a 3-1 victory, a game that provided almost a quarter of their scoring this year.
It couldn’t happen to a nicer team.
Meanwhile, everything that I just wrote for Colorado is completely opposite for St. Louis in their first-ever season. They’re top of the West, they’re scoring goals — 37 so far — and they’re very good at home and competent on the road. They’ve even turned Lucas Bartlett into a serviceable player. Just start engraving the Coach of the Year trophy for Bradley Carnell.
I know that this is Major League Soccer, where the stupid and unpredictable usually happen, but c’mon.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw. Will I root for this to happen? Yes. Do I think it’ll happen? Ha.
Good Guys Game of the Week
FC Dallas vs. Los Angeles FC (Apple TV+, 7:30)
As I’m getting older, I’m trying to practice showing more gratitude. Instead of lamenting about all the things that are wrong in my life and in the world, I can show gratitude for things that are good and right. A roof over my head, food on my table, the love of a good woman, the fact that when FCD is dinged up with injuries and callups, and that they’ll be hosting LAFC in the middle of their march of the damned.
Congratulations to our friends in downtown LA for making it all the way to the CONCACAF Champions League final. I hope you enjoyed all of those weeks off from the league schedule that the league gave you to ensure that you were fresh and rested for continental competition, but you’re gonna work now. If you’re wondering why teams that make deep runs in the CCL usually hit the wall in league play during that season, you’re seeing why with LAFC.
If I’m expressing a certain lack of sympathy toward our league’s champions, it’s because I have none for them. Look, you clowns have literally everything: Owners who spend money, management who makes non-idiotic acquisitions, a great stadium, lots of fans in that stadium, and on and on. It’s disgusting.
If there’s a team in this league that’s absolutely hatable, it’s this one. I’ll respect your achievements, but just don’t ask me to love you. You have even managed to make a team from Philadelphia seem sympathetic. I can totally imagine Jim Curtin chucking a half-full beer can while yelling “GO BIRDS,” but I’d still root for his time over yours 100% of the time.
And when the Grim Reaper comes for you the way that he did for DC United, the Chicago Fire, and your little buddies in Carson, I will be at the front of the crowd laughing at you.
So enjoy your little flirt with mortality while you’re having to play your grueling stretch of games, and smile when Jáder Obrian kicks you while you’re down.