The FCD Fan’s Guide to Hatewatching Matchday 32

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

Houston’s Billy Preston was a top session keyboardist during the ’60s and was one of the few non-Beatles to get credited on a Beatles song, “Get Back.” He is probably better known for this song and for “Nothing from Nothing.” He passed in 2006 at the age of 59.

Last week

Last week? It was a couple of weeks ago, thanks to the international break.

FCD drew 2-2 against Atlanta United, a draw which proved to be costly when everyone’s favorite feel-good story, Bernard Kamungo, injured his shoulder after scoring the leveler.

No current FCD players were called up, other than Alan Velasco’s rubbing shoulders with the Argentina team and playing with the U-23 team, so they should be going into this week, healthy and running on all cylinders.

And if — hypothetically speaking — I hear that Geovane Jesus suffers a knee injury and Ema Twumasi suffers a shoulder injury in training, I’m going to stick my fingers in my ears and pretend that I didn’t hear it.


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

Gentle reader, hold two fingers a millimeter apart.

That’s how close I was to putting the Atlanta-Miami game in this slot. I figured that there might be some heat to it, given the way that Miami blew Atlanta’s doors off in Ft. Lauderdale during Leagues Cup. And oh yeah, it would be You-Know-Who’s first game with plastic on the field AND in the stands since he got to Major League Soccer.

But then I got my wits about me. I don’t get paid by Major League Soccer. I haven’t set up a semi-permanent residence in Ft. Lauderdale. I don’t have to pretend to care about which celebrity’s in the stands tonight. No, I’m with you, the ordinary fan, who works a nine-to-five and uses the code 3RDDEGREE at checkout to save a few bucks when they’re ordering from

We want to see the good shit. And while it would’ve surprised me to no end to see “LA Galaxy” in the same paragraph as “the good shit” at the beginning of the season, they’ve gotten their act together and they’re only four points out of a playoff spot right now. And they always play with a bit more spice when they play LAFC.

Is it going to be the best game of the weekend? On paper, maybe not. But it’s two teams that don’t like each other and both are playing good ball, even if LAFC has lost three straight. And there might be a few celebrities there, even if Inter Miami is the new hotness at the moment.

Well, at least it wasn’t Becky G at the LAFC-Miami game. That would’ve been awkward.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw. I hope both teams have fun and walk away with a point apiece for a hard-fought 90 minutes. While FCD’s hanging on to 9th place, I don’t want to see the braying masses below them get any closer.

Little Brother Game of the Week

Houston Dynamo vs. St. Louis City (MLS Season Pass, 7:30)

One thing I love about our dumb league is how unpredictable it is from year to year. Sure, FC Cincinnati is the poster child of the last couple of years for going rags-to-riches, but let’s take a moment to appreciate both of the combatants in this game. St. Louis is a dadgummed expansion team and they’re on top of the West with six games to go. And of course, Little Brother Orange is annoyingly competent this year as well.

Far be it from me to start accusing Ben Olsen of actually being a good manager, but the results speak for themselves. He’s got his charges in fifth place in the West, they’re playing good soccer, and they’re in the Open Cup final. I never saw myself turning into a Leo Messi stan, but that’s where I’ll be at the end of the month.

But enough about them. The EAFC 24 ratings came out this week and in case you ever doubted how handwavey these ratings are, let me provide an illustration. Here’s a player who is near and dear to all of us, Nkosi Tafari:

A pace of 54?

And here are St. Louis City’s top 10 players, featuring a player who used to be on the FCD roster, Lucas Bartlett:

I say “was on the FCD roster” instead of “played for FCD” because he played zero league games in his one year in Frisco. He played a couple of Open Cup games against Tulsa and SKC and you could almost literally see the gears turning inside of his head as he was playing. I’m glad that he caught on with St. Louis and I’m glad that he’s appeared in half their games this season. But rating him higher than Kos, a guy who’s established himself as a key piece of a better defense?

C’mon now. It almost makes you think that EA doesn’t actually watch the games before making these ratings.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: St. Louis, and may Lucas shut me up in a gloriously huge way with a hat trick in front of a rather intimate crowd in the Bayou City.

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

Philadelphia Union vs. FC Cincinnati (Apple TV+ free game, 6:30)

Any other week, this game would likely be in the top slot in this column, but I’ve got a Western bias, so suck it, Cincy and Philly. But it’ll be a great game. Cincy’s running away with the East and with the Supporters Shield. Philly is fourth but has been a regular fixture at the top of the East over the past few years.

But Cincy, more than any other team, makes me feel old. Why? Have a look at their technical staff. It is wall-to-wall guys that if you remember when they played in MLS, you probably get mystery aches and pains from doing strenuous activities like sleeping in your bed:

  • Chris Albright – General Manager
  • Pat Noonan – Head Coach
  • Dominic Kinnear – Assistant Coach
  • Kenny Arena – Assistant Coach
  • Hunter Freeman – Technical Director
  • Tyrone Marshall – FC Cincinnati 2 Head Coach
  • Shavar Thomas – FC Cincinnati 2 Assistant Coach
I can’t believe this guy is a successful MLS executive now

I’m probably missing a few guys, but you get the point. Meanwhile, Philly’s got Jim Curtin, but that’s about it for their MLS 1.0 guys. You otherwise don’t look at Philly’s bench and say, “Hey, I remember when that asshole was a player, and in an unrelated story, I really have to hold my phone far away from my face to read it these days.”

It’s disgusting.

Jefe the Hater’s Pick: Philly. I get enough reminders on a daily basis that Father Time is undefeated, thank you.

Sickos Game of the Week

Colorado Rapids vs. New England Revolution (MLS Season Pass, 8:30)

Normally, having the Colorado Rapids as one of the teams playing would be enough to land a game in this slot, but full marks to the New England Revolution for holding up their end of the bargain this week.

The Revs’ now-former head coach, the walking soundbite, Bruce Arena, resigned this week after being on administrative leave since August 1 for “inappropriate and insensitive remarks.” That’s when things went a little nuts:

  • Assistant coach Richie Williams was named interim
  • A meeting with the assistants and the players ended with training canceled.
  • Assistants Dave van den Bergh and Shalrie Joseph quit.
  • Richie Williams was dropped as interim coach.
  • New England Revolution 2 Head Coach Clint Peay is the new interim head coach.

This whole incident makes you wonder a few things, like “What the hell did Arena say, and to whom?” and “Now who’s gonna coach Revs 2 in the all-important MLS Next Pro season?” Congratulations on managing to be more sickos than the Rapids, New England.

And that’s even with the Rapids’ supporters writing a letter complaining about how the team is run, how the stadium is falling apart, and how ownership sucks:

Uh, which badge? You clowns have had three or four over the past quarter-century and as many color schemes. Pretty impressive for a club that’s never rebranded.

The Kroenkes fired back immediately with a very corporate “Respectfully, we’re not that bad” response, but nobody cares about that. The point is, everybody’s got a lot of shit going on, and if you want to see two clown cars in a demolition derby, this is your game.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: New England. Seeing the Rapids continue to stink brings me joy. Consider it karmic justice for MLS Cup 2010.

Good Guys Game of the Week

FC Dallas vs. Seattle Sounders (MLS Season Pass, 7:30)

Did you know that the Seattle Sounders are in second place in the West? Yeah, I didn’t either. But part of that is because nobody in the West outside of St. Louis appears to be all that good. And I’m not just talking down Seattle — their self-absorbed fanbase is all I need for that — it’s a mathematical fact.

Seattle is in second place, but they’re not even getting 1.5 points per game. Neither is anyone else, outside of St. Louis. By comparison, in the East, Atlanta’s getting 1.5 points per game and they’re in sixth place. In fact, Seattle would be in seventh place in the East on points and eighth place on points per game.

This brief foray into the world of analytics is to say that if FCD feels kind of assy this year even though they’re in a playoff spot, well, it’s because 13 out of the 14 teams in the West are varying degrees of assy this year.

Which brings me to this larger point: Seattle, you are hot-buttered ass. Some of your clown fans will be in the house on Saturday night, wearing their shirts in colors that don’t occur naturally in nature, to squint their eyes and pretend that you’re not ass, but you’re ass.

And you’re not even that interesting anymore. You draw big crowds? So do a bunch of other teams. You make great high-dollar signings? You and about seven other teams. Oh, you had a homegrown player come through your ranks and be on the US national team? Wow, wouldn’t know what that’s like.

About the only slightly interesting thing about you is that you play on a plastic field in an NFL stadium.

Congratulations, Seattle, you’re now a jazzed-up Charlotte FC.

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