A few days after the miserable 5-0 drubbing from Austin last Saturday, a narrative emerged in some circles that fans – particularly fans with “platforms” or “influence,” whatever that means – need to be careful how negatively they discuss the team. The idea, I gather, is that it’s important not to let overall morale to get too low while Albright and Noonan take the necessary time to put a watchable product together.

I disagree.

As a fan, you have the right to speak your mind. The idea of intentionally moderating your takes either way – going more positive or negative than you genuinely feel – doesn’t sit right with me. We spend a great deal of time and money supporting the team, and all we ask in return is competitive soccer. I am very happy for the players and coaches as they experience growth from struggling through adversity, but that is not why they are paid and that is certainly not why I watch. When I want to see people fail and grow, I watch Ted Lasso. (When I want to see people fail and not grow, I watch Succession.) From my point of view, the purpose of professional soccer is to win things. Failing to do that is, well, a failure. And I have no interest in carrying water for failure.

There are, of course, some people who should be trying to reassure people that improvement is coming, that there are some bright spots to take away even from last Saturday’s shellacking, and that there are reasons to come back each week.

But those people are only the ones who receive paychecks from the team. And to their credit, they are putting in the work.

Alex Stec put together a valiant Twitter thread highlighting some positives from the game.

T.C. Brewster shared a short hype video to mark the start of the season.

Lucho Acosta tweeted an apology for the result that took credit for the loss and promised that the team would do everything it could to keep that from happening again.

All of these things were good, and there should be more of this. The team, owners, management, coaches, and staff should be terrified that fans are going to bail. The players should feel that their careers are on the line. And they should all be acting like it.

But fans? Fans should be doing the following:

1.      Speaking honestly and respectfully to each other.

2.      Having a nice time with their friends and family.

3.      Watching, or not watching, the games as they see fit.

4.      Engaging with content they like, and not engaging with or even muting content that they don’t like.

5.      Participating in supporter events and groups to the extent that they want to.

And that’s basically it. I’m not going to let this keep me from going to games (which is maybe part of the problem) but I’m also not going to hold my tongue.

Now, there are certainly limits to what fans should do. Fans should not be getting in fights with each other at games out of frustration from losing. Fans should not be acting abusively toward anyone in the stadium(fans, workers, players, coaches, or even Jeff Berding). They should not be sending hateful, hurtful, or disrespectful messages to players on social media. And I’m not a big fan of booing in the stadium either.

But another thing fans should not be doing is pretending that reality is anything other than it is. The team has promised us a winning product, and it owes us a winning product, and it has absolutely failed on that obligation. If the fans owe anything to the team and to each other, it is to call it like it is.