The FCD fan’s guide to hatewatching the MLS Cup Playoffs, Conference Finals

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

Here along the Front Range, we just got our first real snowfall of the season. (Yeah, we got the usual pre-Halloween dusting, but c’mon.) And if it’s snowing here at 5,000 feet, you know what it’s doing in the mountains. I-70 through the mountains was closed briefly this past January, traffic came to a standstill, and Colorado bluegrass group Elk Range played a few songs for their fellow motorists.

Last week

Sadly, Papi and Orlando City are out. Not so sadly, Peter Vermes and Sporting Kansas City are also out. Sadly, SKC demise came at the hands of Little Brother Orange at… you know, who cares what the stadium is called these days. Not so sadly, no more MLS games will be played on the green-painted concrete in Seattle.

The last round was truly the embodiment of this classic meme for those of us FC Dallas-curious fans:


East #1 FC Cincinnati vs. East #3 Columbus Crew (MLS Season Pass, 5:00)

While we’re on the subject of good news and bad news, we’ve got the case of one Matt Miazga. The good news for FC Cincinnati? He’s Defender of the Year. (Better him than Tim Parker, amirite?)

The bad news? He lost his damn mind at the end of the shootout against the Red Bulls, got himself a second booking — yes, in the shootout — and got himself sent off. That would already be impressive enough.

Even more impressive? The first booking was late in second half stoppage time for dissent. The second booking was for unsporting conduct for blowing kisses to the Red Bulls fans who had booed him.

The box score at called it “excessive celebration,” and I think that’s a perfect description. You’re on the Supporters Shield winner and you’re popping off to the fans of the #8 team after that team took you to a shootout and you won the shootout in Game 2 of a best-of-three series?

Settle down, cowboy.

But Miazga saved his piece-de-resistance for the post-game, in which he shook the hand of Victor Rivas and complimented him on a well-called match. Nah, just kidding. He went into the refs’ locker room at Red Bull Arena to continue to give Rivas negative feedback on his performance.

This is where the story gets contentious. The Professional Soccer Referees Association released the following statement:

Everyone quickly figured out that the player in question was Miazga. It didn’t help that he was yelling “fine me.”

MLS did him one better. After almost a month of deliberation, MLS finally slapped Miazga with a three-game suspension, meaning that he’ll miss this game, MLS Cup if Cincy wins this, and the 2024 season open. At this point, the MLS Players’ Association decided to say something:

Mind you, they’re not disputing the whole “Miazga went into the refs’ locker room” part of the story. They’re upset that Rivas and Co. allegedly hyped up the amount of zest present in the encounter, which as I will remind you, was “Matt Miazga went into the refs’ locker room to have an unsolicited conversation with Victor Rivas,” and that the PSRA repeated that story.

I don’t know what the MLSPA’s version of events is. Maybe they’re gonna tell us that Miazga was really going to the refs’ locker room with a bouquet of flowers as amends for his early behavior.

And I get that they’re just doing their job in backing one of their members. But you know, a three-game suspension for entering the refs’ locker room to have an unsolicited conversation is appropriate, no matter how much Victor Rivas may or may not have lied his ass off in the report given to the league. THIS is when you clowns decided to take the bold stance on “accountability” in the league refereeing when your guy got punished for doing something he absolutely should not have done?

Thanks for saving me from making a bunch of tired jokes about Ohio, you dopes.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Columbus, just so that Joey Saputo continues to look like the biggest clown of an owner in Major League Soccer for letting Wilfried Nancy walk, and because it’ll make some Cincituckians lose their damn minds over something other Pete Rose.

West #3 Los Angeles FC vs. West #4 Houston Dynamo

You know what’s amazing to me? There were nine teams that made the playoffs out of the Western Conference, and somehow, we got the four most hatable teams out of the nine in the last round. There is not a single team out of the San Jose Earthquakes, Vancouver Whitecaps, Real Salt Lake, and St. Louis City that was more hatable than any of the teams that were still playing.

(OK, this is the time of year we hate FC Dallas more than any other team in the league, but they’re a special case.)

And honestly, all the last round accomplished was reducing the hatability from four teams to two. But Seattle is out, which means that we’re treated to the lamentations of intolerable suffering from the least self-aware fanbase in Major League Soccer:

Y’all are both terrible and should pushed into a volcano

And Sporting Kansas City’s elimination means that Peter Vermes can enjoy his favorite offseason activities: Kicking dogs and pushing old people into oncoming traffic.

As for the two remaining, well, I hope that there’s no surprise in the rooting pick. And while I would still root for a team of demons — managed by Satan himself — if they were playing Little Brother Orange, I still have less problem rooting for LAFC up against the little brothers than I would with other teams. Last round’s matchup against SKC was a real Sophie’s choice.

This is not to say that LAFC is likable. They managed to achieve the near-impossible feat of making the Galaxy almost tolerable. Sure, the fact that the Galaxy have been a dumpster fire has helped, but not even having everyone’s favorite Swedish wrestling heel Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the roster made them more hatable than LAFC.

But there I was, before the last round, remarking that LAFC was the least hatable team left in the West field. And that remains true today.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: LAFC. May they get absolutely hamblasted by either Cincy or Columbus next week.

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