2014 MLS Season, Week 4: What We Learned

2014 MLS Season, Week 4: What We Learned

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 31, 2014
  • 2014 MLS Season, 2014 Week 4

I want to keep reminding myself that it is only March. The first month of the season came to an end yesterday afternoon and the more I look around the league, the more I continue to remind myself that there is still a lot of soccer left to go here.

1. Slow starts in the East. You don’t win a title in March. Ask Montreal and even to a degree teams like Chivas and Dallas for how things went last year after a quick opening month. Several clubs in the Eastern Conference are off to a slow start this season, including last year’s Supporters’ Shield winners, New York.

The Red Bulls once again struggled with Chivas at home and needed a late equalizer to get the draw. What is it about Chivas that brings out the worst in New York? The Red Bulls don’t look nearly like a team on good form at the moment.

Then I look at D.C. United and the mess they are in right now. I’ll say this much, as long as Eddie Johnson remains goalless, this United team may remain winless here. That game with Chicago on Saturday afternoon proved enough to me that neither side are good at the moment. But it is still very early folks in the Windy City and in D.C., things can turn around and in this league they usually do in a hurry.

2. Portland’s early struggles. Last year it seemed that Caleb Porter could do no wrong with his lineups and player selection. This year however, there is some doubt creeping in as the Timbers lost another one, this time on the road in Dallas. Sure this game was weird, with a double ejection of Michael Harrington and Je-Vaughn Watson in the first half, not to mention the six other yellow cards given out in the match.

Portland really struggled to create chances though once this game got open after the red cards. Their best chances happened to come in the second half when they actually applied pressure on the Dallas midfield and back four. Oscar Pareja played a defensive midfielder that was fifth on his depth charts on opening day on Saturday against the Timbers. Why Portland didn’t apply more pressure on him and Michel (a known turnover machine) for 90 minutes is beyond me.

The Timber’s defense looks completely lost. Any team that spreads them out and pins back their fullbacks can have their time with them. That is what Dallas did on Saturday night.

Still, there were some good moments out of Portland in this one. Diego Valeri looked dangerous on the ball when he would work quick passes with Gaston Fernandez.

3. Salt Lake proves it has been more about the team than the coach. Yes, Jason Kreis had a huge impact on this club, but turning it over to his assistant Jeff Cassar this year has proved to me that this club is more about the players than the coach. I commend Cassar for not really having to do a ton to get this club back to the top part of the table in such a short time. And really we shouldn’t be shocked to see this RSL squad up there either. They hardly lost anyone in the offseason.

Other quick thoughts:

– SKC and Colorado played to a wild finish. So many penalties but at least SKC finally got a goal from a forward in the run of play.

– Never bet against a Eastern Conference team visiting BC Place. Just don’t do it. Vancouver is 2-0-0 at home this season and so far they are making a serious case for being a contender in the West.

– The Crew are looking like the real deal. A late win in Seattle may have just been enough to put me on their early season bandwagon.