The FCD fan’s guide to hatewatching: Sat. & Sun. MLS Playoffs, 1st Round, Game 2

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

Last week (Game 1)

Chalk. A lot of chalk.

The only road winners were Sporting Kansas City, who went to St. Louis and beat up on a team with a finalist for Goalkeeper of the Year and Defender of the Year. Imagine such a thing.

But in almost every other series, the higher seed and home team not only won but won by multiple goals.

For these games, the lower seed will be hosting, which might get us to Game 3 in some series, which would make a lot of folks at the league office and Apple very happy.


East #8 New York Red Bulls vs. East #1 FC Cincinnati (MLS Season Pass, 6:00)

One of the multi-goal home wins in Game 1 was FC Cincinnati’s 3-0 win over the Red Bulls in Cincitucky. It was clinical, it was ruthless, it was completely expected.

Let’s be honest: If I had told you that the Supporters Shield winners were gonna get a week off before they hosted the #8 seed, which had to win on Decision Day to get into the playoffs, then win the Wild Card game four days later, then play on the road three days after that, how would you expect it go?

The big question here is: if the plucky Red Bulls – whose ownership obviously doesn’t have the resources as some other teams in this league – can get up off the mat in front of their spirited, if small, core of supporters in North Jersey. The odds are against them against one of this league’s undisputed superteams, but you can never count out the New York Red Bulls when it’s playoff time…

What’s that?

Oh, wait, you can totally count out the New York Red Bulls when it’s playoff time. They played the first game of the 2023 MLS Cup playoffs, and they’re gonna be the first team out. Sorry, Supporters Shield Curse, you’ll have to wait for the next round.

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Thierry Henry: Won the World Cup. Won championships with Monaco, Barcelona, and Arsenal, but not with the Red Bulls

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: New York. Rooting for the Red Bulls in anything feels so dirty, but let’s face it, the New York Red Bulls are the Tiffany Trump of the Red Bull family, so you almost feel bad for them.

West #7 FC Dallas vs. West #2 Seattle Sounders FC (MLS Season Pass, 8:00)

There were a lot of directions I could go with this:

  • Jesús Ferreira’s fluffing two golden opportunities in the first half of Game 1
  • Jesús Ferreira’s subsequent embrace of the right back position (shoutout to those of y’all who remember the debacle of the USMNT at the 1998 World Cup)
  • The insanity of Nico Estévez’s substitutions in the second half
  • The utter lack of fight from FCD in the second half

But I will instead focus on the Alan Velasco injury.

After it was announced that our Argentine golden boy would be missing close to a year with an ACL tear, people started poring over the video like the Zapruder film, looking for how the injury happened. Was it the Cristian Roldan collision in the 12th minute? Or was it the garbage field in Seattle?

I’m going to blame the turf because it allows me to talk about how the Seattle Sounders are a fourth-rate team.

“But Dustin, they play in front of a lot of fans in a downtown stadium.”

Yeah, they play in the Seahawks’ stadium. The turf is maintained by the Seahawks organization, for the Seahawks organization. But you know, the playing surface doesn’t matter as much in football, and on the rare occasion that it does, the NFL doesn’t give a shit until Aaron Rodgers wrecks his Achilles in the first few minutes of his Jets career, and then after the national sports media hyperventilates for a few days, the issue is forgotten. Lord knows that the NFLPA isn’t gonna make it an issue.

But it does matter in soccer. The one solitary good thing that came out of the Season in Hell Southlake 20 years ago was that it convinced the Hunts not to have plastic in Frisco.

Of course, all it took was Jason Kreis’ knee injury at Dragon Stadium, but at least the Hunts got the message. Soccer is best on grass, and since Toyota Stadium is a soccer stadium, first and foremost, that’s what we get, even if it does get beat up this time of year.

A long and glorious history of shitty plastic fields in Seattle (Courtesy of Seattle Times)

Meanwhile, the Sounders are paying rent at Daddy’s McMansion and they don’t get to say shit about how the place is run. They get to play on a plastic field and they get to play on a Monday night because Daddy’s busy on Sunday. They’re the New England Revolution East.

But they’re getting a bunch of fans, so no one says shit, even though “paying rent, playing on plastic, and getting a lot of fans at somebody else’s place” was straight out of the NASL playbook.

Maybe you clowns can also resurrect the “soccer is the sport of the ’80s” marketing slogan, you couchsurfing clowns.


West #8 Sporting Kansas City vs. West #1 St. Louis City SC (MLS Season Pass, 4:00)

Do I hate the fact that SKC was the only team to win on the road in Game 1 and are in the best position to close out their series in sweep? No. I LOATHE it.

At the same time, however, I do enjoy the aroma of utter fraudulence being emitted by St. Louis City. Look, they had a hell of an expansion season, no doubt about it. But they did it by scoring a bunch of goals and having an average defense and getting to occupy the Western Conference, which was kind of assy this year.

Sadly for them, their first-round opponent was Sporting Kansas City, who have been a non-assy team for a few months now. Mind you, they weren’t a powerhouse either, which is the reason why they had to win a shootout after a 0-0 game against San Jose in the Wild Card Round.

And it might be time to have The Talk with your children and your family and your friends. You know The Talk: “How do we respond to the possibility that Sporting Kansas City might be doing something in the playoffs?” Have an action plan, folks.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: St. Louis. But stock up on canned goods and brown liquor, just in case.

West #6 Vancouver Whitecaps vs. West #3 Los Angeles FC (FS1, FS2, MLS Season Pass, 6:30)

You know what are the worst parts of LAFC home matches on TV? Is it all the shots of celebrities in the stands? Is it all the shots of obese fans wearing lucha libre masks in the supporters section, as if Mil Mascaras had time to come to Expo Park for a game? Is it the verbal fellatio of that supporter’s section?

Yes. And while I do enjoy the commentary of Max Bretos and Brian Dunseth, the former sometimes forgets that he isn’t doing LAFC local broadcasts anymore.

Fortunately, this game will be in Vancouver, which has a distinctly more “YAY, TEAM” vibe to its support. You don’t see tifos in Vancouver depicting the ritual mutilation of the opposing team’s mascot or the desire for 100 years of pain and suffering for opposing fans like you’ll sometimes see from the other Cascadia teams.

Things are a bit more wholesome. You’ll actually see hearts on banners hanging from the railings, and not the kind that has been pulled from chests, still beating. Even for someone like me, who celebrates sports hate on a weekly basis, it’s a very refreshing vibe. It matches very well with the general level of inoffensiveness of the Vancouver Whitecaps.

But if you did want to get into the business of pulling the still-beating hearts of the chests of opponents, Whitecaps, you could scarcely find a better opponent and a better time than now. Just sayin’.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Vancouver. Just leave Kellyn Acosta and Ryan Hollingshead be, OK?

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