Week 4 is when things got wierd in MLS. Bad teams beating good, East beating West and away beating home, with New England of all teams managing to do all 3 of those at the same time. When all was said and done, the standings look a lot less skewed towards the West than they used to,l and there's plenty of teams in surprising positions. There's only one team with a perfect record, also there's only one team left pointless. Sigh.
The week started on Friday night with FC Dallas travelling to D.C United after a tough late loss in Kansas City last week. Nothing tough or late about this one though as D.C hammered them 4-1, with Maicon Santos of all people getting 2 of the goals, the first one very similar to Ryan Johnson's against Seattle. That was D.C's first win of the season, lifting them to 4 points, which is the same that Dallas has now, after consecutive losses. They're almost the most surprisingly disappointing team in the West. Almost.
Saturday saw Toronto FC and Columbus crew, but we don't need to go into that one again, much more fun to look at what happened in New Jersey. After a disappointing start, losing 2 away games, New York have lit it up at home, following up last week's 4-1 victory over Colorado with a 5-2 thumping of Montreal. For all of us who were enjoying seeing Thierry Henry mope his way through the first two games, it's a bit disheartening to see him back to top form, as he repeated his player of the week award after getting a hat trick. The Red Bulls are now in 2nd in the East, annoying to see, but hey, the important thing is that L'Impact lost.
The other Canadian team Vancouver are still undefeated, but they, and especially Sebastian le Toux will be a bit disappointed to only get a point against a so far woeful Philadelphia team. Wihout Eric Hassli or Camilo, Le toux was forced to rely on Atiba Harris as his strike partner, which predictably enough didn't work well, and once again Vancouver were shut out. that means after getting 2 goals in their opener against Montreal, but you know, it's Montrel, they have just the one goal from Jay de Merit from a corner against Chivas to show for their next 3 games. Even more bizarrely, they still haven't conceded a goal yet, which means they are undefeated, with 8 points, 4 already on the road where they only got 5 all season last year. Philly, well they still don't look good, but hey at least they've got a point now.
The match of the week ended up being at Portland who took on Real Salt Lake. Here's the highlights, which are well worth watching if you haven't already.
RSL took the lead, only for Darlington Nagbe to answer with two goals as spectacular as his name is awesome, which is very. It was 2-1 until the 88th minute when RSL equalised, then in the last minute of injury time, it was the dirty hippy himself, Kyle Beckerman with a goal from an absolutely delightful scooped pass from Fabian Espindola. Salt Lake are now back where they'd feel they belong, tied at the top of the table, and looking very much like the team to beat this year. As for Portland, well they look like they're on the edge of being a good team, but can't quite put it together, with only the 1 win against the aforementionedly woeful Philadelphia Union, and 4 points form 4 games to show for their efforts so far.
Another of the Western Conference big boys got shocked at home as San Jose Earthquakes, fresh off embarrassing TFC, went to Seattle and came away with a 1-0 win. Stephen Lenhart won a very very dodgy penalty, making sure he ran into Mark Burch off the ball then falling over and getting the penalty awarded. Chris Wondolowski converted it and San Jose held on for the 1-0 win in what was by all reports a very chippy game.
Another shocking home defeat for a supposed Western power saw L.A Galaxy lose 3-1 to New England. New England! They were up 2-0 after 13 minutes, up 3-0 after 65, then despite Robbie Keane scoring, cruised home for the 3-1 win, a result that sees them snugly in a playoff spot with 6 points already. As for LA? Knocked out of the CCL by Toronto and 2nd from bottom of the West with only 4 points from 4 games probably wasn't exactly how they saw their March playing out, but happily, that's where they are, long may it last.
Sunday saw the end of the surprises, with Colorado beating Chicago 2-0, Omar Cummings scoring the winner, before Kansas City went to Carson to take on Chivas USA and came away with a 1-0 win, their 4th straight to start the season.
Their 12 points has them already 6 points clear of the rest in the Eastern Conference, though both Columbus and Houston have a game in hand among those with 6. It's a lot closer at the top of the West. Real Salt Lake have 9, there's no surprises there, but I can't imagine there's many people out there would have had San Jose, Colorado and Vancouver taking up the next 3 spots. At the bottom, well it's tough times in Carson California right now, with Chivas and LA occupying 9th and 8th respectively.