The FCD Fan’s Guide to Hatewatching Matchday 25

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 Soccer on TV.

Musical accompaniment

Last week

This section started out as a recap of FCD’s prior week, then it transitioned to a recap of FCD’s prior week with an eye towards the 2024 team’s march toward possibly having the worst season in club history. And now, it’s going back to the original.

FCD now has 23 points after 21 games, which isn’t great. But it’s also the exact number of points with which they ended 2003, which had a 30 game season. If you bring that points-per-game average to a 34-game season, that’s 26 points. This might be premature, but I think they’ll cobble together three points in the last 13 games.

The reason why I think that is that FCD now has a manager that’s up on that newfangled points system in which teams get three points for a win. If this sounds like a shot at Nico Estévez, well, it is, because three points per win has only been around in soccer for 40 years, but that’s still long enough for people to have figured out that draws are almost as bad as losses when wins are so much more valuable. And yet, FCD in 2024 under Nico was almost happy for draws, even in the friendly confines of Toyota Stadium.

But that sort of play, while limiting the number of goals conceded, didn’t result in points. When he was fired, FCD had 11 points from seven home games. That’s terrible. That’s a recipe for not making the playoffs and contending for the worst team in club history.

Under Peter Luccin, the play is a lot more positive and there seems to be an understanding that winning one and losing one will get you more points than two draws will. Through five games under Luccin, the team has played four games at home and won three. That’s nine points. That’s almost as many as they had picked up in twice as many games under Nico.

Now, they’ve given up a few goals under Luccin, but when you’ve got a $10 million striker who’s making us forget about that transfer fee by scoring for fun and when you’ve got Jesús Ferreira, who’s scored a few goals himself over the past few years, it would seem that this is a problem that can be solved with more goals.


FC Cincinnati vs. Inter Miami (MLS Season Pass, Saturday at 6:30)

Speaking of teams that don’t worry about giving up a few goals because they know that they can take care of things at the other end, we’ve got Inter Miami. They’ve got an average defense, they’ve given up 31 goals in 22 games, and they’re closer to FCD (34 in 21 games) than they are to the top defense in the league (Columbus, with 18 goals allowed in 19 games). In fact they’re closer to the worst defense in the league, San Jose’s 56 goals in 21 games, than they are to the best.

But it doesn’t matter because they’re the top-scoring team in the league, and they’re your Supporters Shield leaders. It hasn’t even mattered that their two top scorers have been away for the last few weeks, leading Argentina and Uruguay into the knockout rounds of the Copa América. They’ve gotten goals from everyone else, gotten four straight 2-1 wins against Philly, Columbus, Nashville, and Charlotte, and continued chugging along.

I’m genuinely impressed because I thought they were cooked when Messi and Suárez left for Copa América. I even put that sentiment into this column. It’s yet more evidence that the Serious Soccer Analysis can be found elsewhere at 3rd Degree.

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Inter Miami’s leading scorer since Messi and Suárez left… defender Ian Fray with two goals. (Courtesy: Inter Miami CF)

If they keep up that streak on Saturday night, it’ll truly be amazing because they’re visiting the defending Supporters Shield holders, FC Cincinnati, who are hot on Miami’s tails for the Supporters Shield this year.

Cincy doesn’t lead the league in much of anything, but they’re near the top of everything. Unfortunately for them, they’re starting to lead the league in “Season-Ending Injuries to Center Backs,” with Matt Miazga and Nick Hagglund on the shelf for 2024.

This would seem to presage a nice 4-3 game in the Queen City, so of course it’ll be 1-0.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw.

Little Brother Game of the Week

Houston Dynamo vs. Los Angeles FC (MLS Season Pass, Sunday at 7:30)

You know what’s great about the rise of Inter Miami? I mean, other than the opportunity to make a few bucks by flipping your tickets to some starhumper wearing a Messi shirt when they come to town? We haven’t heard the same levels of slobbering over LAFC that we’ve heard in previous seasons. Even the imminent arrival of the middle-aged Olivier Giroud hasn’t been the same big deal that it would’ve been two years ago.

And because of Inter Miami’s sucking all the oxygen out of the room, as a fan of a Western Conference team who plays LAFC more than they play Inter Miami, I enjoy relief from ever having to hear Jake Zivin and Taylor Twellman on the mic on Apple TV+ because Zivin and Twellman have taken up semi-permanent residence in South Florida.

That came to an end on Thursday night. After listening to the dulcet tones of Mark Followill on the mic for FCD-Portland, I switched over to El Tráfico from the Rose Bowl and was aurally assaulted by Twellman. It’s not that Twellman doesn’t have the occasional insightful commentary, it’s that he’s too busy trying to be a Hot Take Machine. And after listening to Alexi Lalas’ blathering on Fox for the last few weeks during the Euros and Copa América — though I do respect his hustle — I just can’t take anymore.

Fortunately for us, LAFC is visiting Little Brother Orange on Sunday night, so we’ll probably get Max Bretos and Dallas Burn legend Brian Dunseth on the mic. And while Bretos homes just a little bit for the LA clubs, he’s at least entertaining and is nicely counterbalanced by Dunny’s insightful analysis.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: LAFC.

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

Columbus Crew vs. Toronto FC (Apple TV+ free game, Saturday at 6:30)

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A random coach who currently has more free time than either Jesse Marsch or John Herdman or Wilfried Nancy (Courtesy: Associated Press)

I’ve kinda become a Jesse Marsch Hater™️ over the past several months. It’s nothing personal, mind you. I just think that the guy is a bit like Icarus. He was flying high at New York Red Bulls and Red Bull Salzburg, but flew too close to the sun at RB Leipzig and Leeds United, then came crashing down to earth.

And I thought that Canada was gonna end up with a booby prize by hiring him to succeed John Herdman. However, Canada is still alive in Copa América and the USA isn’t, so I might end up looking like a dummy here. Still, I think that irrespective of Canada’s current display of competence, Herdman is still a better international coach. He did well with the Canadian women, then got the Canadian men into the World Cup for the first time in 36 years.

But since the Canadian Soccer Association is a bunch of broke-asses, TFC was able to snap up Herdman and are now, along with the Whitecaps and CF Montréal, subsidizing Marsch’s appointment as national team manager. And he’s repaying their faith in him by actually having them look somewhat competent. Hey, they’re in a playoff spot.

Maybe Herdman can give a few pointers about being an international manager to Wilfried Nancy. You know, just in case.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Columbus.

Sickos Game of the Week

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Chicago Fire (Apple TV+ free game, Sunday at 7:30)

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A photo of Ian Russell from the last time he was Earthquakes interim head coach (Courtesy: Center Line Soccer)

In soccer, the manager often gets too much credit when the team does well. Let’s face it, part of Pep Guardiola’s genius is having a bottomless pool of petrodollars at his disposal. Conversely, the manager gets too much blame when the team doesn’t do well. Pep Guardiola ain’t getting FCD into the playoffs, friends.

Nowhere is this more apparent than with these two teams. Sure, fire Luchi Gonzalez because they only had 11 points after 19 games. They had just lost 6-2 to LAFC. It’s perfectly defensible. It’s what teams do. But you know, they’ve now got 11 points after 21 games, so what did you actually solve? It’s a crummy roster.

And then there’s the Fire. They’ve had 11 permanent head coaches in their history. I did not guess that the number was so high until I looked at the Fire’s Wikipedia page:

Bob BradleyOctober 30, 1997 – October 5, 2002
Dave SarachanNovember 4, 2002 – June 20, 2007
Juan Carlos OsorioJuly 1, 2007 – December 10, 2007
Denis HamlettJanuary 11, 2008 – November 24, 2009
Carlos de los CobosJanuary 1, 2010 – May 30, 2011
Frank KlopasMay 30, 2011 – October 30, 2013
Frank YallopOctober 31, 2013 – September 20, 2015
Brian Bliss (interim)September 20, 2015 – November 24, 2015
Veljko PaunovićNovember 24, 2015 – November 13, 2019
Raphaël WickyDecember 27, 2019 – September 30, 2021
Frank Klopas (interim)September 30, 2021 – November 7, 2021
Ezra HendricksonNovember 24, 2021 – May 8, 2023
Frank Klopas (interim)May 8, 2023 – December 5, 2023
Frank KlopasDecember 5, 2023 – Present

Look at that nonsense! Look at how many times Frank Klopas appears in that list! Look at how many of those guys didn’t make it two seasons! What a clown organization!

And here’s the truly funny part: The Earthquakes’ list is even longer. Luchi Gonzalez was the 14th permanent head coach in their history. And here is their list of coaches that have made it two full seasons:

Brian QuinnJune 25, 1997– September 16, 1999
Frank YallopFebruary 3, 2001 – December 12, 2003
Dominic KinnearJanuary 6, 2004 – December 15, 2005
Frank YallopNovember 9, 2007 – June 7, 2013
Dominic KinnearOctober 16, 2014 – June 25, 2017
Matías AlmeydaOctober 29, 2018 – April 18, 2022

Try not to fire any coaches on your way to the parking lot after the game, folks.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw.

Good Guys Game(s) of the Week

Sporting Kansas City vs. FC Dallas

MLS Regular Season: MLS Season Pass, Sunday at 7:30
Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Quarterfinal: Apple TV+ free game, Wednesday at 7:30

This is a two-fer this week since FCD is playing two straight games in Kansas City, one for the league and then one in the Open Cup. Go see the Negro League Baseball Museum while you’re there, fellas.

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Do you know how hard it is to find a picture of Vermes wearing Wizards gear? Actually, not that hard. (Courtesy: Major League Soccer)

But since I just talked about two organizations that are addicted to firing coaches, it’s only fair to talk about the complete opposite: Peter Vermes. Vermes has been the head coach of Sporting Kansas City since August 4, 2009, when the team was still the Kansas City Wizards. He had been the technical director since 2006, but when Curt Onalfo was fired as head coach of the Wizards, which would become a recurring theme in Onalfo’s coaching career, Vermes became interim. He had the interim tag removed after the season and has been in the gig ever since.

All that was pretty much cribbed from his Wikipedia page. However, since I am the curious sort, I had to know what his first game in charge was. It was a 2-0 home loss the Fire on August 16, 2009. But the more interesting thing? The final game that got Curt Onalfo fired.

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SKC currently has 17 points, second worst in the league, and while I feel like it’s bad karma to root for people’s unemployment, I feel like this is the perfect opportunity for FCD to encourage SKC ownership to promote Vermes to a cushy front office job, preferably with a resounding win on Wednesday night.

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