The season isn’t here yet.

We don’t even know if the season will ever get here. Sadly, we’re still firmly in “Dueling PR Statements” territory when it comes to settling the issues between MLS and the players association.

The popular sentiment being expressed by MLS is that old, familiar tale told by every billionaire-owned sports league in history: “We’re broke, we lose money doing this for you people, have you seen the cost of superyacht fuel lately,” etc. The players have followed up with the outrageous demand of “Hey, maybe we could just stick with the deal you all agreed to?” Whatever. I’m not a labor lawyer and the only thing I know about bargaining with a collective is that it seems to always result in one side saying “Resistance is Futile” followed by explosions.

Enter FC Cincinnati, everyone’s favorite drunk / unemployed uncle of a soccer team.

While the rest of the league attempts to paint themselves as close to the point of starvation for labor negotiation purposes, FC Cincinnati wanders into the goddamn room wearing a cowboy hat made of Busch Light boxes with a pair of those strip club dollar bill guns shooting money up into the air. In an evening that rivaled the craziness of a Rudy Guliani press conference or a dive into Marjorie Taylor Greene’s comment history, we learned that FCC was breaking the bank on a major transfer to get Brenner from Brazil, only to get the follow up that they were re-breaking the bank to bring Pity Martinez back to MLS as well. It wouldn’t surprise us if the MLSPA’s negotiation strategy from here on out is just to hand the league printed screenshots of these two guys from transfermarkt.us and wait for the response.

This is fucking big.

This is fucking big -- to the extent that you almost feel embarrassed looking back and remembering how stoked you were that Fanendo Adi was coming to Cincinnati.

This is walk into the room, drop trou and flex big.

This FC team has been pushing towards irrelevance for the past two seasons. I don’t need to remind anyone reading this how much that sucked. We got a DM last night from someone who described it as “Killing the Territory,” and they’re not wrong. The hype about FCC for the last year has had nothing to do with the team on the field and everything to do with being excited to move into a new stadium. That’s a fucking problem, because a nice building holds your attention for exactly the amount of time it takes to walk inside and get to your seat. Remember the first time you walked into one of those Stadium Seating movie theaters after years of the old Showcase Cinemas with floors made of superglue and seats covered in years of sweat and poor teenage dating decisions? You were probably blown away by how much nicer it was than what you had been going to, but then the lights went down – and the nicest seats and best views in the world couldn’t save your night from the crushing disappointment of “The Matrix Revolutions.” That was what FCC was facing this year (albeit with still more of a plan in mind than the Wachowskis had). They needed to make moves and get the excitement back where it started originally: with the product on the fucking field and the excitement that produces.

Will these moves pan out? Fuck if I know. Remember, this time a year ago, we were all awkwardly crowding into CVG (remember crowds?) because we were excited that Locadia had arrived to solve our goal scoring problems. Lil’ Nij X predicted scoring records, but the only records Loca seemed to be involved with last year were on the fucking turntables, not the pitch. And I don’t even need to get into Yuya Kubo, the most disappointing import to arrive from Japan since the Virtual Boy. The point is these moves always look good on paper. The more important part here is that FCC Ownership is showing that they understand that the status quo cannot continue and are willing to spend to fix it. The experience at the West End Stadium is already going to be less than they were hoping for due to our nation’s continued inability to stop fucking coughing on one another; the team on the field has to make the noise in place of the crowd. It may not work, but I’d rather have ownership dropping cash to try and fix problems vs. being indifferent to their continued existence. That tells me they care. And, at the end of the day, that’s all you can ever ask from a sports owner.

Now, fucking do right by the players and get this goddamn season going.

INVEST RESPONSIBLY

My theory for this sudden spending spree is that Carl Jr. Jr. took the $3.5 billion he made from the sale of American Financial and immediately invested in Dogecoin or GameStop stock. The sale was announced on 1/27/21, at which time Dogecoin was trading at $0.007. Just 24 hours later, Dogecoin had increased in value to nearly $0.08. If CL3 had dumped his entire net worth into crypto immediately after the sale, he would have stood to pocket nearly $37 billion. And the investment advice to acquire this money was literally free, provided he was willing to listen to a clearly drugged-out Elon Musk on twitter.

Incidentally, with crypto all the rage right now, I’m hereby making the proposal that the next CBA for MLS remove GAM / TAM / FAM / XAM etc. and replace the entire spending setup with an MLS-only form of cryptocurrency: Doncoin (named after Don Garber). By utilizing the crypto, MLS can revolutionize how salary spending works. Think about it: teams could freely trade their Doncoins on the market in order to obtain enough money to spend on players just like they do by trading all the various types of allocation money. And, just like no one really understands all the made-up types of money MLS uses, no one understands the Blockchain either – the only difference is that when you say “Oh, it uses the Blockchain…” everyone immediately assumes you’re really smart and throws fucking tons of venture capital money at you. Plus, you could incentivize teams to invest in growing their fanbases by allowing fans to mine Doncoins for their team. You think the FC is flush with cash right now? Imagine if the combined force of all of the fucking idiots like us who follow this team obsessively could also be monetized into mining additional money for the salary cap. Joseph Meme would own his own floor of the stadium, and there would still be enough Doncoins left over to send gold-plated private jets to pick up Messi and Pulisic from Europe by Wednesday.

To the fucking moon!

NEVER BET ON NASHVILLE

A minor nontroversey erupted within the fanbase of our hillbilly soccer friends to the south (no, further south). Apparently, the people who run Nashville SC’s supporter group collaborative the “Backline” decided to go and get themselves sponsored by a local sports gambling outfit – presumably because their local FedEx Office announced an increase in the price of printing large banners. This sponsorship, which lasted approximately the same amount of time it’s taken to type this paragraph, would have made “Action 24/7” the official sports gambling partner of the Backline Supports Collective. The collective was forced to change names to “The Backpedal” almost instantly, when the entire fanbase of Nashville SC revolted on the concept of their team support being branded, bought and paid for by a shady gambling outfit.

And, make no mistake about it – Action 24/7 looks shady as fuck. If you visit their website, the thing looks like it was coded in crayon by the same motherfuckers who used to make those websites where you could order knock-off sports jerseys from China (before DHGate was a thing). The stock photos on the site don’t load the correct aspect ratio and the “about us” section is 7 sentences long, with one of them being the vaguely-threatening “We’re your neighbors.” The website also prominently lists out every location you can go to in order to bet with straight cash, homey – which is just awesome, when you consider what segment of the population is unbanked and using cash to buy things. In short, the exact type of people you’d expect soccer supporters to love being involved with.

The fights on twitter and reddit were the text equivalent of the Stephen Colbert popcorn gif, and I encourage you to go seek them out for your entertainment (and to put into focus how, dysfunctional as they are from time to time, well run our SGs are). The best revelation to come from it, however, was on this reddit post that revealed Nashville’s SGs have “discovery rights” for sponsorship money and plans to ensure that portions of sponsorship money get paid back to the “discovering” group when brought to the collective. Fucking L. Fucking O. Fucking L. Is there anything more perfectly fucking MLS than a bunch of fan groups sitting around and senatorially discussing how to kickback money one another and then going and finding some Garberword nonsense to describe it? Do they have an allocation list too to determine who gets new STHs who express an interest in being involved? Maybe a SuperDraft for tailgate spaces? It’s a goddamn clown act, yet somehow, completely on brand for a franchise that prints tifos and paid a band to produce a soft-jam anthem.

THE BIG GAME IS THIS WEEKEND

If you know, you know. Brady by a billion.

That’s all for this Emergency edition of the Funblast. Until next time, I’ll see you motherfuckers in the Thunderdome.