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.
As a sports fan, you’ll watch games that’ll stick with you for the rest of your life. Sometimes, they’re great victories. As an alumnus of a Texas’
flagship public university (let’s see if this gets past Buzz Ed: it didn’t.) and a lifelong Longhorns fan, I’ll always remember the 2006 Rose Bowl. I’ll always remember Texas being down 12 with about five minutes to go and uttering to the people gathered in my den, “We got ’em right where we want them.” I’ll always remember Pete Carroll’s foolishness on fourth down, and I’ll always remember Vince Young’s heroic’s on fourth down.
Sometimes, the memories aren’t so good. FCD fans of a certain vintage will remember a certain 8-1 loss to the LA Galaxy on June 4, 1998. I remember the rain, the Leonel Álvarez red card, the Damian Álvarez olímpico, and finally, the Harut Karapetyan hat trick in 10 minutes at the end of the game.
There was nothing memorable about Sunday night’s game in Minnesota. FCD got a point out of it, which is nice, but it would not surprise me if I had heard that Fox issued an apology to everyone that tuned in.
Apple should issue an apology every week that they have Taylor Twellman on the mic, as they did on Sunday for their stream of the game. Ah, the sacrifices we make for good picture quality.
As for the game itself, both teams were determined to set the game back 50 years. Between the rather conservative play on both sides and the blown goal-scoring opportunities at both ends, all one could do at the end was say, “Well, that was two hours of my life that I’m not getting back,” be thankful for the road point, and quickly hope that memories of that game never make it out of short-term memory.
EL SUPERCLÁSICO DEL SIGLO (de la semana)
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Los Angeles FC (MLS Season Pass, 6:30)
Gentle reader, you have no idea how close I was to putting the FCD game against St. Louis in this slot. Second in the West against fourth in the West? C’mon! Besides, there just aren’t very many good games this week.
The Fox game, which is usually a decent indicator, is Seattle against SKC. Wow, talk about a snuff film waiting to happen, especially now that Sporting appears to straight-up quit on Peter Vermes. (In game 10!)
But then I realized something: San Jose doesn’t suck this year. In fact, they’re tied with FCD at fourth in the West and have an identical record as FCD. They’re not only in playoff position but well within it! And lookie, lookie, lookie, they’re playing LAFC, who have taken on the current role of Godzilla in MLS in 2023. They’re undefeated, they’re in the CONCACAF Champions League final, and the only reason why they’re not atop the Supporters Shield standings is because they’ve played so few league matches.
On the one hand, you can hate LAFC for the fact that everything that they touch turns to gold. They’ve got owners that spend dough, they’ve got a terrific stadium in downtown LA, they don’t miss too often in player or coach acquisition, and they’ve got great branding. You can hate them because they win stuff. They’re in their sixth year and are up to two Supporters Shields and an MLS Cup.
You can hate them for all sorts of reasons. And hate is what we do here. Will Ferrell can kiss my ass.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw. Will Ferrell can kiss my ass, but San Jose is now officially A Threat, so he can enjoy a nice, bland road point while counting his residuals from Kicking and Screaming.
Little Brother Game of the Week
Houston Dynamo vs. Real Salt Lake (MLS League Pass, 7:30)
It’s been a couple of weeks since we checked in on Little Brother #1, so I’m going with this game for this slot. Besides, FCD is playing Little Brother #2 next week, so I’ll have a lot to say then.
Anyway, we’ve had some laughs over the past several years about the Dynamo being a trash fire. We’ve had laughs about their succession of bad coaching hires. We’ve had laughs about their near-permanent residence at the bottom of the Western Conference. We’ve had laughs about the friends-and-family attendances at their games.
The best part about all of this is that these things pretty much seemed like karmic retribution for getting a really, really good team when the Earthquakes relocated from San Jose in 2005 and proceeded to win MLS Cups in 2006 and 2007 in their new home.
Sadly for us FCD fans, the comedy portion of the program appears to be over. Ben Olsen appears to be working out as their new coach and Hector Herrera is now shaping up to be more than just the orange answer to Duilio Davino. They’ve close behind FCD in the standings, but because they’ve played two fewer games, they’re ahead on points per game. And they’ve done it with the time-honored method of “tightening things up at the back.”
This sucks. Fortunately for us, they’re still absolute crap in road games, winless on the road, and thus have a limit on how high they can climb in the standings. Unfortunately for us, this game’s in the Bayou City.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Salt Lake, of course. Look, I get that counting on a Pablo Mastroeni team to do anything constructive is a poor bet, but his teams are terrific at being the cockroaches that get into your potato salad at the picnic and it’s what I’m hoping for here.
“Let’s Pretend to Care About the Eastern Conference” Game of the Week
Toronto FC vs. New England Revolution (MLS Season Pass, 6:30)
May is a lovely time of the year. Spring is well underway, the trees and flowers are blooming, the weather is not too hot yet, and hope still springs eternal for teams in Major League Soccer.
If you’re Canadian, however, it’s the time of year when your local teams have ended their participation in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
I bring this up because the most notorious example of this phenomenon is the Toronto Maple Leafs. For those of you who don’t follow hockey, the Maple Leafs have not made it out of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs since 2004. This has been a source of great consternation for Canada’s Toronto-centric mass media, and a great source of amusement to all the rest of us.
That is, until this year. The Maple Leafs upset the Tampa Bay Lightning and made it into the second round for the first time in a generation. And the scenes in Toronto were electric:
What does that have to do with Toronto FC, the New England Revolution, or anything soccer-related? Not a damn thing, except for the fact that TFC has the same corporate owners as the Maple Leafs. But I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to take a shot at Toronto’s most-beloved sports team and it’s an Eastern Conference game that has almost no impact on FC Dallas.
Besides, TFC is providing gainful employment to Matt Hedges and Brandon Servania, and is picking up the tab for the generally competent, if unspectacular, Jesús Jiménez this season, so I’ve got nothing against them.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Toronto. Besides, a New England loss increases the odds that Bruce Arena will say something even snarkier and more dismissive than what he usually gives us.
Bumfight of the Week
LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids (MLS Season Pass, 9:30)
Since we have LAFC in the Superclásico slot, it’s only appropriate that we have the Galaxy here. They are opposite in so many ways. LAFC has a bunch of celebrities in their ownership. The Galaxy? Philip Anschutz, who makes a point of avoiding any sort of publicity. LAFC plays in downtown LA. The Galaxy? In Carson.
And more to the point of this slot, LAFC is currently winning everything under the sun, while the Galaxy are near the bottom of the Western Conference.
In fact, the Galaxy have much more in common with their opponent this week, the Colorado Rapids. Both teams are owned by people who are more concerned with how their other sports properties are doing. Anschutz’s LA Lakers are making a run in the NBA playoffs, while Stan Kroenke’s Denver Nuggets are doing the same and Arsenal are busy choking away the Premier League title. Both teams play in less-than-glamorous suburbs of their home cities. Both teams are original 1996 clubs in Major League Soccer.
And more to the point of this slot, they’re both near the bottom of the Western Conference, with Colorado in 12th and the Galaxy in 13th.
The fact that I can say all of that about the Los Angeles Galaxy, winners of five MLS Cups, four Supporters’ Shield, and two Open Cups, and compare them to the Colorado Rapids, who have won a single trophy which I will absolutely not talk about in their 27 years of history, is possibly the most hateful thing I can say about the Galaxy. And it probably stings more than seeing LAFC win everything these days.
But I have not told a single lie here.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw, hopefully in a real #MLSAfterDark fashion, like a scoreless game in the 75th minute turns into a 2-2 draw, with the final goal coming in the 9th minute of second-half stoppage time.
And hey, since Colorado drew four out of their five games in April, it would be on-brand.
Good Guys Game of the Week
FC Dallas vs. St. Louis City (MLS Season Pass, 7:30)
It has come to my attention that I have not been using the correct branding for MLS’ newest team. They are not “St. Louis City SC,” they are “St. Louis CITY SC.” Y’all, that is the dumbest branding-related item I have seen from a professional sports team in this country since teams had their teal fetish in the early ’90s. I will absolutely not honor that capitalization and you can’t make me.
Instead, I will refer to them by their city’s main culinary treasure.
But that’s honestly been the most laughable part about this team in their very brief history.
Usually, expansion teams are more amusing than that. They’re usually doing dumb stuff like kicking the ball into their own goal, keeping a bunch of USL players on their roster when they step up from a lower division, or playing their home games at a baseball stadium.
Not the Toasted Ravioli. They’ve been pretty competent. They hit a bit of a rough patch in April, losing three out of five games, as their opponents have made strategic innovations like “not kicking a ball directly to a Toasted Ravioli player in a dangerous position.”
And that kind of annoys me. I’m sick to hell of teams coming into the league, showing some level of competence, and having their fans act like they’re people. Seriously, after Toronto in 2007, Seattle in 2009, Portland in 2011, Atlanta in 2017, LAFC in 2018, and Austin in 2021, it’s gotten to be pretty damn old.
If I gotta hear self-congratulatory horseshit from yet another fanbase that was nowhere to be found for a generation until some very rich asshole decided to spend a metric shitton of cash on an expansion team and a stadium, I will lose my shit.
And that annoys me as a member of an “old money” fanbase. I’m tired of waving off these nouveau-riche jackwagons. Even if they do come from a city with actual American soccer history.