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.
After two straight games of playing poorly and winning, it was bound to happen that our heroes were going to finally run into an opponent that was going to make them pay dearly for playing poorly, and that’s what happened at Yankee Stadium Red Bull Arena Citi Field.
Full marks to Eddie and the FCD social media team for the top-quality pre-match banter…
…but sadly, the team didn’t back up the banter. And am I the only one who’s noticed that the team’s current poor performances have coincided with our favorite Argentine wunderkind’s absences? Not saying that they were great beforehand, but Alan Velasco does inject a little more chaos into opposing defenses than his veteran teammates do, even said chaos isn’t always fruitful.
EL SUPERCLÁSICO DEL SIGLO (de la semana)
New England Revolution vs. FC Cincinnati (MLS Season Pass, 6:30)
In week 10, nobody should be looking at the Supporters Shield standings at MLSSoccer dot com. And yet, I’ll be referring to it twice in this week’s column. The first of those mentions is for this game. Let’s have a look at the top:
That’s right, kids. The two top teams in the league are meeting on a plastic field halfway between Boston and Providence in a tilt that might determine the prestigious “Champions of April” trophy. If you’re not watching this game, you better be dead or part of Danny Ocean’s crew trying to rob the Bellagio.
Besides, what else are you gonna watch for the next two hours? Sure, there’s some playoff hockey and basketball, but the rest of the MLS slate tops out at “mildly interesting.” No offense to Matt Hedges and Brandon Servania, but I’d rather clean the bathroom than watch their new team up against NYCFC.
This game is likely gonna be a preview of a very consequential playoff game in November, so of course, MLS has stuck it behind the MLS Season Pass paywall which only us sickos are paying.
Nice job, dummies.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw, I guess. It’s the Eastern Conference and it’s week 10, so I really just hope both teams have fun and I’m not gonna give a good goddamn about the actual result.
Little Brother Game of the Week
Austin FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes (MLS Season Pass, 7:30)
Houston’s off this week, so our little friends in suburban Austin get the slot by default. But let’s talk a little bit about this game.
Last year, Austin FC won a lot of games that could be categorized as “pulling the game out of their asses.” They’d roll into the 80th or 85th-minute level or down a goal, some bullshit would usually happen, and they’d walk out with a victory.
They outscored their xG by a wide margin, which is good work if you can get it, but it’s not usually sustainable. Eventually, the “some bullshit” well dries up, and you’ll revert to the mean. And reversion to the mean is happening in a big way for North of 183 FC this season.
They handed St. Louis their first-ever victory, they got beat by a Haitian club that may or may not be completely functional, they’re on a multi-match scoreless run, and just got beaten 2-0 by the Galaxy for the Gals first win of the season.
But the corniness levels aren’t dropping:
Look, you derivative, riding-LAFC’s-nuts clowns, if you’re gonna go with old, tired jokes, at least put in a little effort. (See for example the Sebastien Ibeagha picture above) I can’t wait to see what sort of low-effort corniness y’all roll out before your inevitable loss to New Mexico United in the Open Cup in a couple of weeks.
And speaking of Open Cup losses, this was not a good week for our old friend Luchi Gonzalez and his Earthquakes.
Here’s a fun fact: Luchi Gonzalez as a coach has never faced an MLS club in the Open Cup. That fun fact was largely made possible that there was no Open Cup in 2020 or 2021 due to a pandemic, but here’s his Open Cup record in total:
- June 12, 2019: FC Dallas 4, OKC Energy (USL Championship) 0
- June 19, 2019: FC Dallas 1, New Mexico United (USL Championship) 2
- April 25, 2019: Monterey Bay FC (USL Championship) 1, San Jose Earthquakes 0
Holy crap, Luchi.
Maybe you and Josh Wolff — who lost to San Antonio FC last year — can commiserate prematch about how those USL Championship teams are hell.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: San Jose, because we haven’t quite got to the point where the excessively entitled fanbase of gentrifiers are burning the authentic jerseys that they’re happy to tell you how much they cost, so I want to get there so badly.
“Let’s Pretend to Care about the Eastern Conference” Game of the Week
Nashville SC vs. Atlanta United (Fox, 12:30)
Most other weeks, this game would be in the top slot, but this is not one of those weeks. Still, it’s worth watching.
Atlanta’s not far away from New England and Cincy at the top of the East, and while Nashville is several points back, they’re at least in the top half of the East and are mostly competent. So one would expect this to be a fine showcase of soccer for national broadcast TV.
But I’ll level with y’all. Atlanta scares me. Not so much because of what they are currently — they’ve got some flaws, which is why they’re third in the East and not running away with it — but because of what they could be.
You see, they’ve got Thiago Almada on their squad. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a fan. He’s young, he’s a World Cup winner, and he’s wrecking shop in MLS. If Atlanta holds onto him, he could make Josef Martínez look like Conor Casey in time, and it wouldn’t take much to add a few pieces to put them in prime position to win everything out there.
But, more likely, he’s on his way to Europe. And if Atlanta got $26 million for Miguel Almirón and FCD got $15-20 million for Ricardo Pepi, you’d figure that he’d be at least in that neighborhood, if not more.
And it’s not an idle threat:
If he knocks in a few more goals, you’d think that the price is gonna move into the “heavy hitters” range.
And now we get to the dangerous part. A few seasons ago, Atlanta made a very consequential signing: former Dallas Burn legend Garth Lagerwey as President and CEO.
The guy built the Sounders into the machine that they are today, buoyed by an owner willing to spend and insane attendance. He’s got both of those things in Atlanta AND you’re gonna give him the proceeds of an Almada sale? Cripes. Talk about the rich getting richer.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Nashville, because I want the league to do its part to keep the money cannon out of Garth Lagerwey’s hands. And oh yeah, because I like Hany Mukhtar too.
Bumfight of the Week
Sporting Kansas City vs. CF Montréal (MLS Season Pass, 7:30)
Remember further up when I said that I’d be referring to the Supporters Shield standings twice this week? Here’s the second time.
It’s not often that both the Superclásico slot and the Bumfight slots are so obvious, but man, we were blessed this week. Here are all the things I love about this look at the table:
- Sporting Kansas City in 29th, obviously. The only thing better would be if either one of the Little Brothers were there.
- Both of these clubs made dumb coaching moves in the offseason. I’ve talked about Montreal’s foolishness with Wilfried Nancy recently, but let’s give some love to SKC for giving Peter Vermes an extension, despite only making the playoffs twice since 2018. Sure, that’s 50% of the time, but Clark and Dan Hunt ran Luchi Gonzalez out of town having never officially missed the playoffs.
- After sending some St. Louis City podcast a cease-and-desist letter over their use of the words “Soccer Capital,” Kansas City is last in the league, while St. Louis is top of the West. If the US Patent and Trademark Office had any sense of style, they’d issue a ruling that SKC’s use of the words “Soccer Capital” must come with obligatory finger quotes.
So this is a good old-fashioned bumfight in every sense of the word, and like a real bumfight, you shouldn’t watch it. It’s ugly and exploitative and you’ve got better things to do with your time.
Hell, in MLS this season, most of the league will be playing between 7:30 and 8:30 pm Central Time every Saturday night, while the 7:30 Eastern Time games and the 7:30 Central Time games are going on, so you’ve got choices.
Just not this trainwreck.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Montreal, I guess. Whatever. Both teams are crap. If you hate yourself enough to watch this game, may I suggest therapy? Or that you watch USL Championship on ESPN+ instead.
Good Guys Game of the Week
Minnesota United vs. FC Dallas (FS1, Sunday at 8:00)
Didn’t FCD just play these clowns?
Yes, they did. It was two lousy months ago. They haven’t played Houston or Austin or any number of other teams, but they get to see these donkeys a second time, this time in St. Paul. Love that scheduling, MLS.
You know, back in Ye Olden Days, when you saw a team twice in two months, it was because there were only 10 teams in the league and you played some teams four times a season, not because somebody in charge of scheduling got into the good weed. (Now legal in Minnesota!)
And frankly, I’m tired of seeing these chumps. Since the beginning of last September, almost eight months, FCD has played them four times. And that timespan includes four months of offseason.
If familiarity breeds contempt, then consider me rather contemptuous of them.
It would be different if they were a fun team while being hatable, or if they were a rival. No, they’re just a middling team that likes to kick their opponents while they grind their opponents’ best-laid plans to a halt and don’t really try to create much on their own.
Unfortunately, this visual assault on soccer will be on national cable TV on Sunday night. Thank God we don’t have to see them again until at least November. God willing, FCD’s done with them until 2024.
And on a final note, their NHL team blows and should be put down like a rabid dog. Go Stars.