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.
middle of November end of October, the trees are bare leaves are falling, we’re all getting ready for Thanksgiving Halloween, and FCD is done for the season. (Sorry, I had to make a few edits to the template because the league had to wrap things up a little bit early this year because somebody decided to put the World Cup in a repressive country that’s hotter than the sun during the summertime so they have to play it in the fall. At least we get those Fox promos with Jon Hamm and Ellie Kemper as Mr. and Mrs. Claus.)
Anyway, if you’re looking for thoughtful analysis of the end of FCD’s season, you’ve come to the wrong column. I take back all my complaints about the yearly frustrations at the hands of Seattle and Portland. Losing to those corny Vurdee herbs was way worse.
But hey, it actually could’ve been worse. We could all be Montreal fans. Tabarnak, mes amis. One minute, you’ve got an outside shot at the Supporters Shield and a couple of weeks later, you’re getting ejected from the playoffs by a team without so much as a home stadium.
Western Conference: #1 LAFC vs. #2 Austin (ABC/ESPN3 in Spanish, 2:00)
This is what hatewatching is all about. This is a game that you want both teams to lose, but you know that one of them won’t. And worse still, there’s actual stakes involved: A trip to MLS Cup.
It’s a matchup between two Little Brothers, two teams with the most revolting, Johnny-come-lately fanbases in Major League Soccer. No matter who wins, you can count on somebody to show every single part of their ass on social media.
And both teams tapped into their strategic reserves of Little Brother energy to win their home games against lower-seeded Big Brothers last week. Bravo.
So having done so, this game will probably be a dud, especially since it’ll be ABC’s low-rated counterprogramming to NFL games on CBS and Fox.
It’ll also be on ESPN3 in Spanish, which I point out because FCD got their once-a-year appearance on ESPN last week, and sweet merciful crap, that was an ass-whipping.
It is a real tribute to Jon “I only have this job because of my accent” Champion and Taylor “Derp” Twellman that sometime in the second half, I decided to switch to ESPN Deportes and although my Spanish comprehension is not that good, I found myself less inclined to toss my TV out the window. As MLS moves to Apple TV, I am wishing both of those guys long and storied careers with ESPN.
But back to the game. As much as I clown LAFC for, well, everything, they don’t offend me too much.
Honestly, they’ve got strong ownership that is willing to write checks for players and marketing. They’ve got a great stadium in a good location. They’ve made smart player and coach signings. They do a fabulous job with marketing and outreach. They’re generally a credit to the league.
The worst thing I can say about them is that they’ve been far too willing to indulge Gareth Bale’s part-time player shenanigans, but hey… not my circus, not my monkeys.
And their ownership at least doesn’t engage in foolishness like this:
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: LAFC, with apologies to my Galaxy supporter friends. But hey, you can enjoy the memes that’ll ultimately result.
Eastern Conference: #1 Philadelphia vs. #3 NYCFC (FS1, 7:00)
NYCFC taxes me.
Is it because they were born out of a singularly New Yorker allergy to the State of New Jersey?
Is it because they’re owned by sports-washing Emiratis?
Is it because they’re a farm club for Manchester City?
Is it because they have actual-factual neo-Nazi fan groups?
Is it because their nominal home stadium is a baseball stadium?
Is it because I had to use the word “nominal” in the previous sentence?
So yeah, I’m rooting for a Philly team. Nothing matters anymore. Go Birds.
And the real irony is that they are everything that knuckleheads think that FCD is: A team in a suburban stadium that relies heavily on youth, spends nothing on senior players, and has great social media.
Seriously, the Philadelphia Union have the second-lowest payroll in Major League Soccer:
On the one hand, I don’t want them to win because it’ll give Clark and Dan Hunt too many ideas that maybe this wild-assed spending that they’ve been doing lately is a Bad Idea.
On the other hand, how can you root against this?
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Philly, because let’s face it, there is no more “hating is a way of life” place in America than Philadelphia.