2014 MLS Season, Week 5: What We Learned

2014 MLS Season, Week 5: What We Learned

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On April 7, 2014
  • 2014 MLS Season, 2014 Week 5

Rivalry week in Major League Soccer lived up to some of the expectations we place on it. We had some wild games on Saturday and one blowout on Sunday to cap off the first week of April.

1. Rivalries bring out best and worst. Between the 4-4 battle in Portland, the 0-0 tussle in Kansas City and the other blowouts, the rivalries this past weekend brought out some of the best in these clubs and certainly some of the worst.

Best: Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins are finally, yes finally, looking like the duo that Seattle was hoping for here. Dempsey’s hat trick was simple at times and brilliant at times.

Worst: Red cards and dumb fouls. Sure, some cards this weekend weren’t justified but players in the league give refs too many easy chances to book them for serious offenses. I look at Houston’s David Horst in particular. His challenge on Fabian Castillo wasn’t a red worthy offense but he didn’t help his own cause by getting beat by Castillo, then lunging in on the challenge and having a leg sweep up in the process. All didn’t help his cause for sure on the play. Again it wasn’t a red in my book but Horst should know better.

Best: Timber’s midfielder Diego Chara for being a beast on both sides of the ball.

Worst: Matais Laba (in a non-rivalry game) for his red card. Not only did it cause his team to lose but it shows me that the kid still has some maturing to do on the field.

Best: LA in their dominance of Chivas. Holy moly. It wasn’t even fair.

Worst: Yeah, Chivas. That was more like we expected out of them this season. On one goal, they gave up somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 passes. You can’t go that long without the ball and not do well in this sport.

2. LA is still good. 

I touched on it already but the LA Galaxy are still damn good. Yes, Chivas was horrible on Sunday, the Galaxy were fresh thanks to some time off but it all didn’t matter in the end. The Galaxy still proved to me that they are a force to be taken serious again this season. LA made 520 passes, and completed 88 percent of them. Possession numbers like that can often be very misleading, but in this case they weren’t.

3. Toronto didn’t do anything special. 

The more I look at what the Reds did against the Crew on Saturday, the more I’m liking it. Ryan Nelsen used a fairly reserve looking lineup due to some injuries and absences against his club’s rival on the road. What happened was a fairly simple win on their part. They let the Crew play their game, which resulted in chances. But Toronto took the punches in strides and just let the Crew run all over them.

In the end, the Reds still came out on top. That shows that either Columbus was a tad overrated here in this early season or Toronto is on the verge of finally being really good in this league.