The FCD fan’s guide to hatewatching Week 4

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.

Last week

FCD went into one of their houses of horror and walked out with a point, so that was nice. Kansas City and the Gals derped their way to a 0-0 draw that not even an MLS sicko would enjoy. RSL tried to xDAWG their way to a win over Austin but just couldn’t overcome a real banger of a goal scored by everyone’s favorite nepobaby. (Austin saved the good stuff for midweek.)

The real story, however, is that St. Louis won — again — and they won in Portland.

Now, we may get to the end of the season and see Portland and Austin outside the playoffs, and we’ll definitely get to that point with Charlotte, who are undoubtedly garbage. Still, the fact that an expansion team has racked up three wins in its first three games ever against that group, with two of the wins on the road, is pretty damn impressive.


St. Louis City SC vs. San Jose Earthquakes (MLS Season Pass, 7:30)

Admit it: You thought I was gonna put the LAFC-Seattle game here, didn’t you?

But although I’m a hater, I also believe in self-care. And part of self-care is not subjecting yourself to Alexi Lalas’ buffoonery on Fox. I know, I know, it’s an act. But just because he’s committed to being US soccer’s answer to Colin Cowherd doesn’t mean we have to enable it. And with the Apple deal, you never have to. So don’t.

Besides, the SLC v SJ game has something that no other game this weekend has: A team that has three wins out of three games this season. And they’re an expansion team! And they’re playing our old friend Luchi Gonzalez and the San Jose Earthquakes, who are off to a nice start themselves with two wins in three games.

I’m not saying it’s going to be a preview of the Western Conference Final in eight months or anything ridiculous like that, but it should be a fun game with a broadcast where you will not hear a red-headed doofus utter the word “superclub.”

You will, however, hear Luchi overcoach from the touchline for 90 minutes, just like old times. And if you’re really lucky, you might get to see former FCD first-round pick Lucas Bartlett get double-digit minutes for St. Louis.

And while the concept of a San Jose Earthquakes team at or near the top of the Western Conference is slightly frightening and confusing, it’s still early, and besides, it’s just funnier to think that the first team to hand St. Louis an L and a home L would be the San Jose Earthquakes, and not someone like LAFC or the Sounders.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: San Jose. Sometimes, I’m in it for the hate, sometimes, the self-care, but I’m always in it for the comedy.

Little Brother Game of the Week

Houston Dynamo vs. Austin FC (Apple TV+, 7:30)

Before I get to this game, a commercial announcement. The 3rd Degree Superstore has a new item for sale:

It’s like having Twitter on your resumé. It might be true. It might not. Who knows?

Anyway, thanks for that, Austin. Your efforts in bringing mirth to an entire confederation are much appreciated. While watching your game, I was contemplating which would’ve been the funniest result for you:

  1. Drawing or losing again to Violette
  2. Winning by less than three goals
  3. Winning 3-0 and going out on penalties
  4. Winning 4-1 and going out on away goals

Ultimately, I decided that it didn’t really matter because each of those scenarios would’ve been hilarious in its own way.

Oh, I know… Josh Wolff screwed y’all 40 different ways when he took a B team down to the D.R. and got blasted 3-0. But consider this: Atlas turned over a 4-1 first-leg deficit against Olimpia, an opponent from an actual functional league, winning 4-0 at home.

But somehow you clowns couldn’t turn over a three-goal deficit at home against a club that hadn’t played in nine months before they beat y’all 3-0 in Not Their Home Country, that couldn’t get half of their team into this country, that had to sign any Haitian player already in this country to a short-term deal, and STILL only had three subs on the bench and no backup goalie.

And now, you get to go to Houston to open the freshened-up PNC Stadium for this season in the first game of the Copa You-Don’t-Get-A-Cannon-For-Winning. Normally, I would think that you’d be feeling good about a game against the sorry-ass Dynamo, but hey, y’all showed this week that anything’s possible.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Wow, Houston. I never thought I’d see the day, but let’s face it, in this battle for little brother supremacy, it would just be so damn funny to stack Houston on top of all the hilarious L’s that Austin has been taking this season. Growing the legend, indeed.

“Pretend to Care About the Eastern Conference” Game of the Week

New England Revolution vs. Nashville SC (MLS Season Pass, 6:30)

In case you ever wonder if marketing actually works, consider the following. This year, Nashville has the following as a secondary uniform:

None more black

It’s a black shirt with black shorts and black socks. OK, cool. Been done before, but it’s fine. It’s nothing special, but it’s not a clown suit.

“Ah, but what if we rang up the Johnny Cash estate and got with them to put his face and signature on it?”

Worse grade inflation than that Dog Rates guy (Click for source)

Anyway, Nashville now qualifies for this slot because they’re in the Eastern Conference again. I don’t know why they were in the West for a couple of years. MLS will do anything but put the Chicago Fire in the Western Conference, I suppose.

But Nashville are on seven points after three games, and New England is on six, so I suppose that it’s the best Eastern Conference game of the weekend.

If I’m being perfectly honest, aside from apparel marketing shenanigans, there’s not really much to hate in either of these teams. Nashville has provided a good, loving home to former FCD man Walker Zimmerman. (As an aside, I’d love to see Óscar Pareja get the USMNT gig, not just because I’m in the bag for Papi, but because it would be low-key fun to see him in a position where he’d have to have Zim in the team.) And they’re not in the West anymore.

And New England has given Dallas so much over the years: Pareja, Ariel Graziani, the 2016 Open Cup, and Becky G’s fiancé. Plus, they get their chains jerked every year with the tried-and-true “a stadium in Boston for the Revs is just around the corner,” coincidentally around season-ticket renewal time, when everyone and their brother knows that Bob Kraft is gonna have them in Foxborough until the heat death of the universe. So you kinda feel like they suffer enough.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: New England, because I just can’t abide any team that also provides a good, loving home to Gary Smith. I still haven’t forgotten 2010 and your Hack-a-Ferreira bullshit, Gary.

Bumfight of the Week

LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (Apple TV+, 9:30)

Wow, the Galaxy in the Bumfight slot two weeks in a row? Yes. They are still without a win — OK, I know, they’ve only played twice — and they’re playing another winless team this week. And really, when you’re giving up 30 shots to Kansas City, doing very little at the other end, and somehow miraculously walking away with a 0-0 draw, you’re not exactly showing the world that you’re not Bumfight material.

And Vancouver? Props to you for not coughing up a 1-0 halftime lead and losing for once. But getting your first point of the season on an own goal from a team that has only won once in your house in the last decade doesn’t exactly scream “Supporters Shield contender.”

This is the Galaxy’s home opener — the actual home opener, not the “we were probably gonna be the road team at our old home stadium” home opener that got washed out and postponed — so they’ll be fired up to prove that they’re still a relevant team, that they haven’t turned into soccer’s answer to the Angels, and that Riqui Puig’s MVP ambitions aren’t just a punchline.

The fact that I could seriously write that last sentence is an indication of how quickly they’ve dropped. It warms my black MLS 1.0 heart, almost as much as it does to see DC United derp around on a weekly basis over the last couple of decades.

Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Vancouver. While I enjoy calling LAFC “Sons of Chivas USA” and “LA Former Chivas,” the truth is that I’m also enjoying watching the Galaxy turn into Chivas USA 2.0 before our eyes.

Besides, it really doesn’t offend me when good things happen to the Whitecaps.

Good Guys Game of the Week

FC Dallas vs. Sporting Kansas City (Apple TV+, 7:30)

Ah, speaking of MLS 1.0, we have a rivalry that goes back to the first days of MLS, which was the Dallas Burn vs. the Kansas City Wiz. A matchup that absolutely did NOT provoke any hoary STD-related jokes among hacky sportscasters.

Back in the day, the Wiz were absolutely hateable from top to bottom. Their first coach was Ron Newman, the stereotype of an English coach who came over during the NASL days and managed to not get kicked out of the country, transitioning to having a great deal of success in coaching the San Diego Sockers to a bunch of MISL championships.

Then, when MLS started, Lamar Hunt brought him to Kansas City to coach the Wiz, and he brought in a bunch of guys that could be broadly categorized as “guys you absolutely hated when they were playing indoor soccer,” like Preki.

And for the first few years of the league, they committed gross jackassery across MLS, but especially with the Dallas Burn.

Things died down when Newman was fired in 1999. Then when MLS realignments shifted Kansas City into different divisions from Dallas, there just wasn’t the familiarity breeding contempt anymore. Plus, Dallas got new rivals in Chicago and Houston, and Kansas City got shifted to the back burner.

But Peter Vermes is a man of tradition and he’s done his part to bring back the hatability. He’s a jackass and he’s committed to filling the roster with a bunch of jackasses like Johnny Russell, Graham Zusi, and Tim Melia and riding them on a rampage of jackassery across MLS, to the delight of their corn-fed yokel fans.

I hate this team, I delight in their suffering, I enjoy seeing Vermes stewing on the touchline in defeat, and I genuinely believe that this league is better when they suck. I am presently enjoying their current winless state, and I am looking forward to seeing the rebranded Dallas Burn deliver another boot up the asses of the rebranded Kansas City Wiz on Saturday night.


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