MLS Week 4: A Look Back

 Roger Torres (GettyImages)

Week Four in MLS had its share of drama, and its share of telling results, controversy and quality.

You had the Philadelphia Union posting a third shutout in four matches, and opening its lead atop the East to four points in the process. You had the Los Angeles Galaxy denied three points by a phantom penalty call, and you had FC Dallas dismantle previously unbeaten Colorado, earning its own first win of the season in the process.

On the subtle, but interesting side, you saw Real Salt Lake win a road game with reserves, Toronto draw a road game against a tough San Jose side, and Houston beat up on an expansion Vancouver side that has come back to earth after an impressive debut.

Here is A Look Back at all the matches from Week 4, our in-depth breakdown of all of the matches:

MLS WEEK 4

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS 1, NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION 1 (HIGHLIGHTS)

Man of the Match- Ilija Stolica. Scored the equalizing goal well into stoppage time in the second half that saved the draw for the Revolution, who almost lost despite playing with a man advantage for much of the match.

Honorable Mention- Eric Hassli. Big forward converted PK to give the short-handed Whitecaps a 1-0 lead, then was promptly sent off for celebrating the goal by doffing his long-sleeve jersey to reveal a short-sleeve version and picking up a second yellow card for the action.

A Night to Forget- Hassli. Played 13 minutes in the second half and was shown two yellows by head referee Baldomero Toledo, who himself had a forgetful night given all the criticism he took for being rather quick with the cards.

Rookie Watch- A.J. Soares and Stephen McCarthy. The New England pair played key roles in the match, Soares for drawing a red cards in the 74th minute and McCarthy for a near-goal late in the first half that Whitecaps defender Nizar Khalfan cleared off the goal line.

Random thoughts- Three red cards were issued by Toledo. … Hassli has three goals in three games played this season, but has two red cards which have cost him two games. … Starting goalkeeper Matt Reis missed both Revs' games last week due to injury and was replaced by Bobby Shuttlesworth. 

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FC DALLAS 3, COLORADO RAPIDS 1 (HIGHLIGHTS)

Man of the Match- David Ferreira. The reigning MLS MVP was at his dynamic best last Friday, scoring a pair of goals and helping dismantle a normally stingy Rapids defense.

Honorable Mention- Ugo Ihemelu. The FC Dallas defender moved back to his normal centerback position and responded with a standout performance. He was a rock in the back, and opened the scoring with a goal of his own.

A Night to Forget- Marvell Wynne. The Colorado centerback lost his mark on all three of FC Dallas goals. You can't get much worse than that.

Random thoughts- Brek Shea started at left back and did a good job of getting forward and keeping the Rapids contained on his side of the field. … Fabian Castillo looked very dangerous, and played a part in the first two goals for Dallas. …Daniel Hernandez enjoyed a strong night, and delivered a beautiful pass on Ferreira's second goal.

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SEATTLE SOUNDERS 2, CHICAGO FIRE 1 (HIGHLIGHTS)

Man of the Match- O'Brian White. Pressed into extended service as the Sounders' only true striker with Fredy Montero out due to injury, White scored his second goal in the past two games and assisted on Seattle's second goal Saturday.

Honorable Mention- Kasey Keller. Veteran keeper stopped three on-target shots in the second half that saved the Sounders' first win of the season. 

A Night to Forget- Jalil Anibaba. Defender was no match for the speed of Seattle's Steve Zakuani nor the strength of White, as he was one of those victimized in both Sounders' goals.

Rookie Watch- Anibaba and Sounders M Servando Carrasco. See above for Anibaba, and Carrasco, a late-game substitute, came on to provide possession, hustle and defense as Sigi Schmid sought to protect a lead late in the match.

Random thoughts- Diego Chaves scored his third goal in the three Fire game this season and is looking like an impact signing for Carlos de los Cobos and the Fire… The Sounders are close to getting Montero back from a broken wrist, and Montero's forward partner the past two seasons, Nate Jaqua, is rounding into form. This could create a playing-time issue for White and the quickly-emerging Mauro Rosales.

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PHILADELPHIA UNION 1, NEW YORK RED BULLS 0 (HIGHLIGHTS)

Man of the Match- Carlos Valdes. Roger Torres scored the winning goal with his first touch, and Danny Mwanga set up that goal, but the Philadelphia defense was the story of the night and Valdes was the leader of the back-line as it recorded its third shutout of the season.

Honorable Mention- Teemu Tainio. The Red Bulls dominated possession and Tainio was key to the control New York enjoyed in the middle of the field. The Finnish midfielder has quietly been New York's most consistent player and one of the better newcomers in the league so far.

A Night to Forget- Tim Ream. Juts two weeks removed from a dream run that saw him earn his first start with the full U.S. senior national team, Ream had a nightmare Saturday, committing an awful turnover that led to Philly's game-winning goal.

Random thoughts- Amobi Okugo came on as a sixth-minute sub and played a stellar match in place of injured veteran Brian Carroll. Just four days removed from playing in the U.S. Under-20 national team's upset loss to Guatemala, Okugo looked very good and may have earned himself more playing time. …Thierry Henry revealed after the match that he is dealing with an Achilles injury that has been bothering him for some time. He could be forced to miss New York's next match. …Danny Mwanga came on as a second-half substitute and looked good in his cameo appearance. He applied good defensive pressure and was clinical in taking full advantage of Ream's error with a sharp assist.

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LOS ANGELES GALAXY 1, D.C. UNITED 1 (HIGHLIGHTS)

Man of the Match- David Beckham. Filling in as captain (for Landon Donovan) and as a central midfielder (for Chris Birchall), Beckham drove numerous lethal set pieces into the box and showed an admirable workrate on the defensive side of the ball. His 12th-minute corner kick was a perfect ball that Mike Magee nodded home for the Galaxy's lone goal.

Honorable Mention- Charlie Davies. Yes, Davies made the most of minimal contact with Omar Gonzalez when drawing the late penalty kick that knotted the score for D.C. But he did show pace and ambition to
put himself in position to get the call, and it took confidence to place his penalty right down the middle.

A Night to Forget- Santino Quaranta. The United midfielder struggled to find the game from his post on the right flank and picked up a late red card when he received his second caution for an ill-advised
challenge on Gonzalez.

Rookie Watch- Ethan White. Making his first league start, the United academy product out of Maryland helped keep Juan Pablo Angel under wraps and cleared a shot off the goal line in the first half.

Random thoughts- Davies sits alone atop the Golden Boot standings with four goals (three from the penalty spot) despite having not started a game. … Beckham received a first-half yellow card, giving him a league-leading four in five games. … With Donovan out, fullback Sean Franklin pushed up to right midfield but had a quiet evening there. … Out-of-favor United DP Branko Boskovic looked sharp in a late cameo as D.C. pushed for the equalizer, delivering the through ball to Davies that set up the PK call.

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NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION 0, REAL SALT LAKE 2 (HIGHLIGHTS)

Man of the Match – Collen Warner. The second-year man assisted on both goals and made good decisions in the midfield all night for a reserve-heavy RSL team.

Honorable Mention – Paulo Araujo Jr. The Brazilian doesn't see the field much behind Alvaro Saborio and Fabian Espindola, but when he gets a chance he always seems to produce. His insurance goal came on a beautiful breakaway.

A Night to Forget – Marko Perovic. He never looked comfortable in his first significant minutes of the season for the Revs, who were hoping for better service from the Serbian.

Rookie Watch – Second-year players had more of an impact than rookies on this one. Warner had two assists and Chris Schuler got the first goal of his MLS career. The only true rookie on the pitch was the Revs' Stephen McCarthy, who didn't look bad, but was subbed off when the club switched to a more attacking formation at halftime.

Random Thoughts – Three red cards in a Revs game for the second time in four days, and this week's losses (Shalrie Joseph and Pat Phelan) will hurt more than last week's (A.J. Soares) … RSL stays perfect on the season without overworking its stars, resting the likes of Alvaro Saborio, Jamison Olave and Javier Morales. … Referee Jasen Anno has now shown 15 red cards in 20 MLS matches.

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SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES 1, TORONTO FC 1 (HIGHLIGHTS)

Man of the Match- Chris Wondolowski. Simon Dawkins scored San Jose's goal, but Wondolowski was a handful for Toronto FC all night.

Honorable Mention- Stefan Frei. Made several key saves, including a reaction stop on a hard Wondolowski blast, to help TFC earn its first road point.

A Night to Forget- Ryan Johnson. The San Jose forward was extremely ineffective and largely invisible, leaving Wondolowski struggling to generate chances on his own up top.

Random thoughts- Julian DeGuzman played the entire second half and looked very sharp. He should have a key role with the team as soon as he can play closer to 90 minutes. … Ike Opara earned his first start of the season and while he had some shaky moments you can see the athleticism he brings to the position. …To make room for Opara, Jason Hernandez was moved to right back, where he didn't look particularly comfortable. Veteran Chris Leitch is the better right back option, but Frank Yallop will have to decide whether he can bench Hernandez or lose productivity at fullback.

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CHIVAS USA 0, COLUMBUS CREW 0 (HIGHLIGHTS)

Man of the Match- Chad Marshall. It was another star performance for Marshall, who did well to shut down Chivas forward Alejandro Moreno, making the former Crew forward a non factor on the match.

Honorable Mention- Dan Kennedy. Making his second consecutive start, Kennedy came up with a couple of big saves, including one off a Eddie Gaven breakaway in the 74th minute.

A Night to Forget- Emilio Renteria. Facing Valentin for much of the night, Renteria did well to use his physicality to overpower the rookie, but like the rest of the Crew attack, he struggled to finish
against Kennedy.

Rookie Watch- Zarek Valentin. Only 48 hours after arriving from the CONCACAF U-20 championships in Guatemala, Valentin was back in action against the Crew. The young defender was clearly fatigued as he found himself beaten by the Crew
defensive several times.

Random thoughts- Both offenses struggled in this match, which clearly led to some to some frustration as eight cards were given out in the match…Heath Pearce put in another successful performance in central defense for the injured Jimmy Conrad, who was out with a concussion…The shut out was the first of the year for Chivas USA and the third consecutive for Columbus, which tied a Crew record.

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HOUSTON DYNAMO 3, VANCOUVER WHITECAPS 1 (HIGHLIGHTS)

Man of the Match- Brad Davis. The Dynamo winger had a hand in all three goals, both via corner kick and sharp long pass. With Brian Ching sidelined, Davis stepped up and carried the attack.

Honorable Mention- Bobby Boswell. His classy volley goal was impressive enough, but Boswell also played a solid defensive game.

A Night to Forget- Jay DeMerit. Forced to leave at halftime due to injury, DeMerit stuck around long enough to see two goals scored against his defense as he hobbled around.

Rookie Watch- Dynamo striker Will Bruin scored his first career professional goal and enjoyed a strong night in the starting lineup. Whitecaps rookie Omar Salgado, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 MLS Draft, came on as a late sub in his first professional appearance. Notre Dame product Jeb Brovsky and UCSB centerback Michael Boxhall earned starts for the Whitecaps.

Random thoughts- Ching is sidelined with a rib injury, leaving Dom Kinnear to turn to the Cam Weaver-Bruin tandem, a physical duo that overpowered Vancouver's back-line. …The Corey Ashe left back experiment continues to look good for the Dynamo. His speed allows him to cover plenty of ground and his presence gives Davis freedom to push forward even more. … Danny Cruz looked very good on the right wing for Houston. Could he be feeling the heat of the impending return of Colin Clark? That should be a good battle once Clark is fully healthy. … Davide Chiumiento continues to look like a top-flight playmaker, one of the better creators brought into MLS this season. … Eric Hassli missed the match serving his "Jersey-gate" red card.

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What did you think of the Week 4 results? Which players impressed you the most? What result surprised you?

Share your thoughts below.

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10 Responses to MLS Week 4: A Look Back

  1. abm says:

    for the sounders-fire match, your mention of Servando Carrasco highlights the complete ignorance of the writer due to the omission of the red-worthy tackle he laid on Patrick Nyarko in stoppage time

    (SBI-Settle down. I get that you’re a Fire fan and all, but to say someone was “ignorant” for not mentioning a bad tackle is silly.)

  2. Gary says:

    Great write-ups and analysis guys. Thanks. Hands down the best site for MLS and USMNT.

  3. Jeremy says:

    Big deal. He didn’t mention Chaves’ 5+ blatant dives either. You got beat, get over it.

  4. john.q says:

    three cheers for angry soccer nerds!

  5. David says:

    THE NEW PORTLAND FIELD IS TURF!?!?!??!!

    That kills me, but I am buoyed by the fact that it will be ridiculously loud thanks to the roof structure . . . good luck to them this week

  6. abm says:

    not as silly as “came on to provide possession, hustle and defense”

  7. Mike says:

    Did we watch Nate Jaqua in the same game? He constantly lost possession in the offensive third, had several poor fouls, and was extremely lazy.

    Once Montero comes back with Rosales also able to play in the forward role Jaqua will struggle for minutes if he doesn’t pick up his performances.

  8. Esteban de la Sexface says:

    Amobi Okugo had far from a “stellar match” as he frequently gave the ball away and, when he didn’t give it away, played 5-yard passes to Miglioranzi that didn’t advance play or relieve pressure on the Philly defense. Okugo is a good athlete and has a strong work rate but he hinders all offense movement. If Carrol is fit, Okugo need not play.

  9. Wendell Gee says:

    I believe the flag was up on Keller’s most spectacular save, but it was pretty impressive nonetheless.

  10. Matt says:

    Portland has turf? Why the **** would you want that?