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.
Well, that was fun, until it wasn’t. Hey, I’m not a soccer genius — this is exactly the wrong page on this site for astute analysis — and I’m pretty biased towards “scoring lots of goals and letting things take care of themselves at the other end,” but I think that we can all agree that scoring a single goal and trying to keep a clean sheet at the other end is probably a tough way to live and leaves you open to exactly what happened on Saturday night.
On the upside, St. Louis finally lost, so FCD closed the gap between them and top of the Western Conference from eight to seven points!
Just call me Mr. Brightside.
EL SUPERCLÁSICO DEL SIGLO (de la semana)
Seattle Sounders vs. St. Louis City (Apple TV+, 9:30)
“Cripes, Dustin, St. Louis AGAIN? You’re getting to be as bad as the clowns at MLSSoccer.com.”
First of all, how dare you. Second of all, St. Louis still has the best record in the league, last week’s loss to Minnesota notwithstanding.
And they’re playing the Sounders, who are rebounding from last year’s non-playoff season, are free of any roster management concerns with the CONCACAF Champions League, and are only two points behind the Princes of Provel (still workshopping the nickname here). And it hasn’t hurt that Jordan Morris has rebounded nicely from being not entirely helpful in Qatar.
Find me a better game this weekend, I triple-dog dare you.
But this game is interesting for one more reason.
Since they first graced our fair league in 2009, Seattle fans have been the furthest thing from shy about implying that they and their city were God’s gift to American soccer and that they were the true home of American soccer in this, the 21st Century. Into town, this weekend rolls the newest team from St. Louis, a city with a legitimate claim to being American soccer’s spiritual home in the second half of the 20th Century.
Gotta love these Old-Timers vs. Young Upstarts matchups. It’s what made Rocky V the classic movie that everyone knows and loves.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Draw. One team plays on plastic. The other took 27 years to arrive. There are no good guys here.
Little Brother Game of the Week
Los Angeles FC vs. Austin FC (Fox, 6:30)
This week, the following was tweeted out by
“No More FCD Since Jon Arnold Left” Gazette The Striker:
And my initial first reaction was a popular Spanish phrase:
The more I thought about it, however, there might be something to this. Let’s call it The Battle of the Little Brothers, because let’s face it, both clubs are little brothers in their own right. Austin’s little brotherdom has been well-established here and other places, mostly by Austin fans, but let’s look at LAFC for a moment.
This is a club that has, from its inception, defined itself against the Galaxy. You know, the “we’re actually in Los Angeles, unlike that team in Carson” thing.
When they won the championship last year, LAFC fans were quick to point out that it made them the true kings of LA, as if merely being the champs was not good enough. Frankly, it’s a need for validation like we’ve rarely seen in this league.
Meanwhile, Galaxy fans are far more interested in loading Chris Klein into the ejection seat.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: A nice sporting draw, during which they’ll swap stories about how they’re so much better in every way than the Galaxy and FC Dallas.
“Let’s Pretend to Care About the Eastern Conference” Game of the Week
FC Cincinnati vs. Philadelphia Union (MLS Season Pass, 6:30)
A quick peek behind the scenes in the making of this column: I briefly flirted with making this EL SUPERCLÁSICO DEL SIGLO (de la semana).
But then I saw, Seattle-St. Louis and I saw how unimpressive the rest of the Eastern Conference games were this week that I’d have to slide into this slot, and that was that.
With that out of the way, I’m gonna show y’all the most shocking thing you’ve seen since you were a kid and you walked in on your parents having sex:
Yes, yes, I know: It’s just week 7.
But 14 points after six games definitely qualifies as “cookin’ with gas.” And it’s almost gone unnoticed because everyone’s been losing their damn minds about St. Louis. For those of us who remember the bygone days of 2019, the days of three straight Wooden Spoon seasons, it’s quite an amazing sight. It’s amazing what happens when you hire good management and coaching and give them the resources to go out and get good players.
And in a case of “Everything’s Coming Up Milhouse,” Cincy gets Philly this week at home, Philly had a home leg against Atlas four days earlier, and has a trip to Guadalajara four days later. There is literally not a better time to play the Union and get three points off them.
In fact, it would be hilarious if they didn’t, so you know what I’m pulling for.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Philly. Let’s watch Cincy party like it’s 2019.
Bumfight of the Week
Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids (MLS Season Pass, 7:30)
A picture is worth a thousand words:
This matchup fills me with so much joy because these two teams have tormented the Dallas Burn and FC Dallas so much over the past 27 years. And look at them now, in the crapper. (And since the Galaxy are 12th, it’s quite a meeting of original teams down at the bottom of the West.)
It also fills me with so much joy because Kansas City is sitting there after having made Peter Vermes El Presidente for Life this past offseason, fresh off of missing the playoffs in 2022. There’s nothing like extending a coach, then having to pay him a large buyout when he makes you look foolish a couple of months or years later.
Meanwhile, Robin Fraser must get on his knees every night before bed and thank the Good Lord Above that he works for the Colorado Rapids. I’ve written this before, but I’m still convinced that Stan Kroenke would take a few minutes to even remember that he owns the Colorado Rapids. So do you think he’s gonna worry too much about them being at the bottom of the Western Conference or worry about the coach that’s got them there? Hell no.
And there’s no one in Denver rooting for deep runs for the Nuggets and Avalanche in the NBA and NHL playoffs than Robin Fraser.
Jefe the Hater’s rooting pick: Colorado, because Peter Vermes and his boys are always welcome to eat shit.
Good Guys Game of the Week
Inter Miami vs. FC Dallas (Apple TV+, 6:30)
I gotta be honest with y’all. I don’t really hate Inter Miami. Why would I? This is going to be the third time that FCD has ever played them, and FCD has never lost to them: A win in 2020 and a draw in 2022, both in Frisco. They’re providing gainful employment to Jason Kreis (assistant coach) and Victor Ulloa (midfielder).
They play in a market that was without a team for almost two decades. They play in a newly-rebuilt glorified high school stadium in the exact location where the previous glorified high school stadium was located where the Miami Fusion and Ft. Lauderdale Strikers played.
They don’t have a lot of fans and those that they do have don’t act like they are the Greatest Fans in American Soccer in the History of Ever.
They’re not good, they’re not bad. They’re not loveable, they’re not hatable. They’re just there. This guy is the most polarizing part of the team:
Maybe he’ll be in the owner’s box, maybe he’ll be elsewhere, possibly doing some freelance sportswashing work. Either way, his team fails to arouse too much passion in me.
…which is possibly the most damning thing I can say about them.