The FCD Fan’s Guide to Hatewatching Matchday 9

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.

Worst season ever watch

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Gloria Vanderbilt’s kid fakes concern better than I do

Deep down inside, we were all expecting things to go very badly last Saturday night. First of all, it was a road game. Second of all, the team was missing a bunch of players. Third of all, they were a week removed from getting skunked by Little Brother Green.

But they played an ugly, unwatchable game, got a little good fortune from the Toasted Ravioli Boys’ lack of finishing, got a little bad fortune from Dante Sealy’s lack of finishing, and walked out with a point. And in doing so, they manage to avoid setting an ignominious record. The club had never had a five-game losing streak in their 28-year history and they still haven’t.

To let you know how remarkable that is, that length losing streak has been managed by the other eight surviving 1996 clubs in these seasons:

  • LA Galaxy: 2006
  • DC United: 2001
  • Kansas City Wiz/Kansas City Wizards/Sporting Kansas City: 1998
  • San Jose Clash/Earthquakes: 1997
  • Colorado Rapids: 1997
  • New England Revolution: 1997
  • MetroStars/New York Red Bulls: 1997
  • Columbus Crew: 1996

As a bonus, the one 1996 club that has not survived to the present day, the Tampa Bay Mutiny, had a five-game losing streak in 1998. 26 years later, the club formerly known as the Dallas Burn still has not ever lost five in a row, not even in 2003, when they had two different four-game losing streaks, started the season with a six-game winless streak and had four other four-game winless streaks.

Which brings us to the current tally:

2024 – 1 win, 4 losses, 1 draw, 4 points
2003 – 0 wins, 3 losses, 3 draws, 3 points


Real Salt Lake vs. Columbus Crew (MLS Season Pass, 8:30)

When I was making out my run sheet for this column, I initially had Inter Miami vs. Sporting Kansas City for this slot. (By the way, for those you who are curious, unlike the red crayon that Peter alleges that Buzz uses for the run sheet for 3rd Degree the Podcast, I use a fountain pen because I am a fancy lad.)

But then, it occurred to me that just because MLS has transformed into Messi League Soccer and just because MLS is about to put a lot of money into FCD’s owners’ pockets by holding that game at very large stadium normally used by the Hunts’ Other Team, it doesn’t mean that I have to call it a big game.

So instead, I’ll talk about a game involving a team formerly owned by the Hunts, who just happen to be the defending league champs. They’re playing Real Salt Lake, a team about who I’ve said all sorts of mean things over the years. And honestly, hiring Pablo Mastroeni, who for some reason always reminds me of this tweet:

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Pablo Mastroeni is that brother, but he is also the coach of a team that finished fifth in the West with 50 points last year and is currently third in the West with 11 points through seven games this season. So maybe I should put some respect on his damn name!


I will however give him credit for having bosses who were smart enough to sign Chicho Arango and him not being able not to screw that up. (Incidentally, if anyone asks why I have a hard time completely buying into the notion of LAFC as a serious club, it’s because they sold this guy to Pachuca after he delivered 30 goals in 51 games and helped deliver an MLS Cup.) And Chicho is delivering the goods for RSL. He’s scored or assisted on 10 out of 11 of RSL’s goals this season. Sure, RSL has other players, but this is the guy you want to watch.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Columbus, who has human cheat-code Cucho Hernández, human trophy magnet Darlington Nagbe, and former Golden Boot winner and LAFC ejectee Diego Rossi. And oh yeah, they just knocked Tigres out of the CONCACAF Champions Cup and they’re not in the Western Conference.

Little Brother Game of the Week

Minnesota United vs. Houston Dynamo (MLS Season Pass, 7:30)

I gotta be honest with y’all: I’m kind of jingoistic when it comes to coaches and announcers in this league. It’s not that I’m any sort of nationalist, mind you. It’s just that American soccer has been plagued by anglophilia ever since the NASL got started in the ’60s. Of course, when the NASL kicked off in 1967, England had just won the World Cup, and over the lifetime of the league, English clubs were winning all sorts of stuff in European competitions. So there was a plausible reason to equate “English” with “good,” at least when it comes to this game.

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The Battle of Verdun in 1916, which took place closer to England’s triumph in the 1966 World Cup than England’s triumph is to the present day

But it’s now 2024. England has not won a World Cup since 1966. English clubs are doing very well in European competitions, but it’s been largely won by non-English managers and non-English players. (The managers of the top four clubs in England at the moment? Spanish, German, Spanish, and… Greek-Australian.)

Yes, England still does soccer well, but there’s a big wide world out there full of great managers and great announcers. I’m just saying that if I wanted to hear someone drone on for two hours with an English accent, I’d just go watch a Hugh Grant movie.

This makes me wonder why Minnesota United, having hired an Englishman with a middling record in Austin and Orlando as its first coach, decided to completely go all-in for his successor and grab some coach off of the bench of a middling club like Manchester United. In fairness, he got them doing pretty well, even though he just got off the plane and even though Minnesota United’s largely been without Emanuel Reynoso most of the season, out of the 30 minutes that he played on March 16.

Speaking of Reynoso…

I’ve got a coworker who’s been here several years on an H-1B visa and who has been told by people with knowledge of such things that it would be around 33 years before they could get a green card. Pro athletes who make a lot of money get expedited through the process, but you still gotta show up for the appointment with the State Department. What I’m saying is that this was, um, quite ill-advised for Reynoso.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Minnesota. Everything about this team annoys me, but they are playing Little Brother Orange.

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

Atlanta United vs. Philadelphia Union (Fox and Apple TV+ free game, Sunday at 1:30)

The most amazing thing about the Philadelphia Union is that they have managed to be the one professional team from Philadelphia that is in any way likable. The Eagles, Phillies, 76ers, and Flyers are all historically hatable for their own reasons, but none of those bad vibes have stuck to the Union.

That’s an amazing feat, considering two things:

  1. Their fan base is largely drawn from the same reprobates that frequent the other local teams’ games.
  2. They’re coached by a former goon from the early 2000s Chicago Fire.

I guess that having a great origin story and a great development system will make up for so many things. (Memo to Nico Estévez: Four of the top five players in minutes played for the Union this season are 23 or younger. Just sayin’.)

This week, that improbably likable team will roll into Atlanta to play on a plastic field in front of a plastic fanbase. Look, I have family in and near Atlanta. My lovely wife and I went on dates in Atlanta when we were long-distance dating. I like Ludacris and Outkast. I feel slight sympathy pains for Falcons fans whenever the numbers 28 and 3 are mentioned in close proximity to one another.

But I can’t abide this horseshit notion that’s been perpetuated for several years that Atlanta is any sort of soccer town, just because Arthur Blank could sell air conditioners to Inuits. Most of you cats didn’t give two craps before Blank wanted to fill some dates at his stadium with the World’s Largest Butthole on top.

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You can’t unsee it, can you? (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Am I being petty because this team started from scratch, won an MLS Cup, and won an Open Cup since the last time FCD won anything? Maybe. But this ain’t the “Nice Thoughts About Other Teams This Week” column.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Philly.

Sickos Game of the Week

New York City FC vs. New England Revolution (MLS Season Pass, 6:30)

One of the true joys of this column is when I get to put teams into this slot that aren’t one of the Usual Suspects. But Toronto and Colorado aren’t godawful this season, so we get to branch out. But it’s not like I am lacking for things to write about these two teams. And when you think about it, they have a lot in common.

First, they’re both owned by people who care way more about other things.

New England Revolution: New England Patriots, getting “massages”
New York City FC: Manchester City, Girona FC, diving headfirst in a swimming pool filled with gold doubloons, human rights abuses

Second, they’ve both played in suboptimal stadium situations for years.

New England Revolution: Foxboro Stadium, Gillette Stadium
New York City FC: Amusingly, their Wikipedia page has the following chart:

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But all that is changing! This week, NYCFC got the city approval for a new stadium next to one of their many previous home fields, Citi Field!

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I can’t believe that City Football Group hasn’t already sold the rights to an affiliated money-laundering operation

So in 2027 (allegedly), I’ll have to retire a rich vein of jokes that I’ve made about NYCFC, namely “Where are they playing this week?” But when that does happen, I’ll have a lot of Mets-related jokes ready to take up the slack.

In the year 2024, however, they’re playing this game at the home of the New York baseball team that actually wins stuff, Yankee Stadium, even though they more closely resemble the soccer version of their future neighbors. So do the Revolution, which is how they ended up in this slot. You can watch this game, but why?

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: New England. They deserve something nice after finishing out their CONCACAF Champions Cup run by getting put into the chipper/shredder by América the last two weeks. I’m just saying that when you lose 4-0 at home and 5-2 at Estadio Azteca, you probably need something to cheer you up.

Good Guys Game of the Week

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

This time last week, Seattle was actually below FCD in the standings. As much as we’ve been whining about how bad this start has been — and it’s been bad — there have been teams that have been worse this season.

Then Montreal came to Lumen Field and Seattle did naughty things to them to the tune of 5-0. Sure, that scoreline was partially aided by a red card in the 53rd minute, but Seattle was already up 3-0 at that point. So now FCD is only in front of the one team they’ve beaten this year, San Jose.

Oh well. Sounds like the perfect time for Seattle to come to the formerly impregnable fortress that was Toyota Stadium. FCD has lost two out of three home games so far this season and the vibes are crummy. There was even booing when they were getting beat the last time they were at home last month.

But I’ve got good news! Here’s at Hatewatching HQ, I’ve been running the numbers on the Odiar 5000 supercomputer, and I’m here with a deep dive into the numbers and a reason for you to be optimistic coming into this game.

Who has FCD lost to at home this season? Montreal and Vancouver. Canadian teams. Meanwhile, they are perfect — three points out of a possible three — against teams from places where the pasta in the blue box is known as “Kraft Macaroni and Cheese” rather than “Kraft Dinner.”

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Would I lie to you about this stuff?

“Hey Dustin, that’s a dumb analysis.”

Maybe, but really, is it any dumber than playing a 3-4-3 with the way this roster is constructed?

Besides, FCD’s gonna have their Basque security blanket back in the midfield this week, Jesús Ferreira’s gonna be working on his future career as a streamer and not attempting to play right back, and maybe Nico Estévez will give us a little treat and have this team’s best center back, Nkosi Tafari, on the field for this game. But I’m sure that we’ll still be subjected to the attempts to showcase Dante Sealy to any European club that might be thinking “We can fix him.”

Still, vibes are good fresh off the team’s resounding victory draw last week and I don’t see any reason to harsh those vibes. Let’s roll.

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