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.
Look, it’s to the point now where I literally have to look up at Major League Soccer Soccer dot com to know which matchday we’re in. Apparently, the
six five games on the 4th and 5th were enough for the league to call it Matchday 23. Sure.
That being said, FCD played two games, so sure, whatever. And under the heading of “That’s so FCD,” we had a badly understrength FCD side beating your defending champions at home on Saturday, thanks to goals from Bernie Kamungo and (checks notes) Sam Junqua, followed by a badly understrength FCD side losing at home to DC United on the 4th.
Look, as long as FCD’s injury list looks as long as the list of incels’ grievances with the Star Wars sequel trilogy, any points that they get are gravy. (Mmmm… gravy.) So strap in until Jesús Ferreira gets back from the Gold Cup and a few more guys get off the injury list. Or maybe Jesús will burn through the Gold Cup, get a huge transfer from a big European club, and we’ll never see him again.
Isn’t life as an FCD fan fun?
EL SUPERCLÁSICO DEL SIGLO (de la semana)
Los Angeles FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes (Apple TV+ free game, 9:30)
Let’s call this the RC Cola of California rivalries. The other two California rivalries, El Tráfico and the Cali Clasico, are the name brand rivalries. They’re Coke and Pepsi, baby.
Meanwhile, this game is sitting there on a forgotten corner of the shelf, gathering dust and with zero fanfare. Somebody drinks RC Cola, even if you’ve never actually met one of those people in real life, and somebody is watching this game, even if it’s just LAFC fans and Quakes fans, but it gets no love.
Part of the reason is that until this year, it would’ve been a “hammer versus nail” rivalry. LAFC is winning trophies, while the playoffs have been a stretch goal for the Quakes. Not this year. Oh yes, LAFC is near the top of the Western Conference, but San Jose ain’t that far behind. So it’s likely gonna be the best game of the weekend.
And let’s face it: We all want to see if Luchi and the Fightin’ Gonzalezes ruin LAFC’s day — again, having already beaten LAFC once this season in the Least Interesting Part of the Bay Area. Plus, it would be downright hilarious to see LAFC on a four-game losing streak.
And we can continue counting down the days until 2025 when San Diego comes into the league, and we have even less interesting California rivalries than this one. Yeah, we’ll all be looking forward to those away days in America’s Finest City, but no one cares about San Jose vs. San Diego. I’m betting they don’t even care.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw. And afterward, the two fanbases will get together and swap their best jokes about the “Carson Galaxy.”
Little Brother Game of the Week
Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City (Apple TV+ free game, 7:30)
This is one of those rare times of the season when I had to think about my rooting pick. It’s not that have any esteem for Little Brother Orange. It’s that this is a matchup that you want to see both teams lose, sort of like Hitler vs. Stalin or Musk vs. Zuckerberg.
And honestly, if you had told me two months ago, that this would be in any way, shape, or form an interesting game, I would’ve looked at you much like a dog would look at you as you were trying to describe the latest episode of your favorite reality show. SKC was talking and looking like a team that was about to close up shop for the season.
But here we are on July 8, and they’ve gotten a few guys back from injury, gotten off the mat, and are now only one point below the playoff line. A really heartwarming story, if your idea of “heartwarming” means that you seek out Hallmark movies where our big-city heroine rolls into a small town to learn the real meaning of Christmas and gets yelled at by a soccer coach with an anger management issue.
Unfortunately for that coach, this game is in Houston, where Little Brother Orange has only lost one game in nine.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw. There are no winners here, only a bunch of losers.
“Let’s Pretend to Care About the Eastern Conference” Game of the Week
CF Montréal vs. Atlanta United (MLS Season Pass, 6:30)
Speaking of turnarounds, we all had a nice big laugh at the Artists Formerly Known as the Montreal Impact at the beginning of the season. They let a successful coach walk, they hired Hernán Losada, better known for his recent fine work running DC United into the ground, as his replacement, and were having a hard time winning… or even scoring.
But they got their act together, started putting together a few results, got to the final of the Canadian Championship, and they’re above the playoff line. Mind you, only a point above the playoff line, but still, it’s preferable to where their big rivals in Toronto currently find themselves. And since Montrealers, unlike the rest of Quebec, don’t pretend to speak no English, allow me to extend the following conciliatory gesture:
I was wrong about your local XI.
I was also a little wrong about Atlanta at the beginning of the season. I thought that they were gonna run away with the East behind golazo after golazo from Thiago Almada, whom I was sure would be gone as soon as the mid-summer transfer window opened. And while I get that Atlanta United, unlike FCD, isn’t going to try to
make a few bucks make their players’ European dreams come true the second someone walks in with a multimillion-dollar offer, I figured that there were going to be a lot of zeros on that Almada check. There still might be, but it’s looking like Almada is gonna be with us a little while longer.
And Atlanta has fallen all the way back to 7th place in the East, since it turns out that you occasionally have to keep your opponent from scoring in order to win games. If this keeps up, they’ll have to bring Michael Parkhurst out of retirement. I mean, why not? They still have Brad Guzan in goal, stretch his Social Security checks out a little farther by playing professional soccer.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Montreal. The game’s at Stade Saputo, so it’s on actual grass and we won’t be subjected to some local C-list celebrity like Jermaine Dupri like we would if the game were in Atlanta.
Sickos Game of the Week
Toronto FC vs. St. Louis City SC (MLS Season Pass, 6:30)
Much CF Montréal, this slot has been undergoing a bit of rebranding recently. It started off as the Bumfight of the Week, but due to the fact that there sometimes there just aren’t good bumfights on the schedule, I skipped it a few times. Last week, I tried an “Oh God the Blood” Game of the Week, but I’m making it more inclusive by recognizing that if you are watching this game, you’re probably a sick bastard or you’ve got money on the game.
This week’s edition features a team that could’ve been in this slot most weeks of most seasons of their existence in Major League Soccer, save for the second half of the 2010s. It’s as predictable as the sunrise and the sunset. And yet, every season, we go through the same cycle:
- Toronto FC spends massive amounts of money on players.
- Pundits predict that TFC will annihilate the competition.
- TFC struggles once the season starts due to injuries or bad chemistry or whatever.
- The inevitable stories come out about disarray in the dressing room.
- TFC misses the playoffs.
- Go back to step 1.
You’d think someone would clue in on it eventually. If only there was some other sports team that was relatable to the general sports fan in Toronto…
Anyway, at least TFC is at home this week when they face a team who has apparently done almost everything right in their first season, St. Louis City. They’re not as blisteringly hot as they were to start the season, but they’re still on top of the West. If this game were being played anywhere in the world other than Toronto, I’d expect the Toasted Ravioli Boys to pound TFC into a smooth paste, but this game will be in Toronto, so the final score will be something bland like 2-0 or 3-0 for St. Louis.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Toronto. Firstly, because of Matt Hedges and Brandon Servania. Secondly, because it would be just plain funny.
Good Guys Game of the Week
Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas (MLS Season Pass, 8:30)
For those of you who don’t know, the reason why I say at the beginning of this column that I used to yell mean things at the Cotton Bowl and Toyota Stadium (and one season at Dragon Stadium, but let’s not talk about that) is because I haven’t lived in D/FW for a while. I’ve lived in Colorado since 2010.
So every year, once a year, I head over to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park whenever FC Dallas rolls into town. Some years, I might get to see FC Dallas play a game at Toyota Stadium or elsewhere in MLS, but most years, this is my one opportunity for live FC Dallas fandom.
And most years, as I’m driving out of Commerce City, the altogether worst part of the Denver metro area, I’m usually doing in a state of annoyance or frustration or exasperation or all of the above.
You see, friends, since I moved here, FC Dallas has played 15 games at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. They have won twice, on July 14, 2012, and on October 18, 2014. The rest? Six draws and seven losses. They are currently on a five-game losing streak, which was immediately preceded by four draws since that last win in 2014.
My wife, who accompanies me to most of these games, wonders why I even bother anymore. And as we all know, it’s because we know that every upcoming game will be a glorious victory for Los Toros Tejanos.
And this Saturday night, even more so. Look, FC Dallas is not in the best shape at the moment. Got several players banged up. Got a few who aren’t living up to their paychecks. And got one who will be in Cincinnati this weekend, representing the USA.
But holy shit, the Colorado Rapids are a three-alarm tire fire down at the pick-and-pull. (Pick-and-pulls are a major segment of the Commerce City economy, for the record.) They won two games in 20. They have scored 14 times in those 20 games. They have yet to win a home game in nine tries.
Beat ’em down, FCD.