Four weeks into MLS 2013 and there is a lot to learn.
To date, the league boasts 74 goals scored on 789 total shots. Just around a goal every 10 shots. 282 of the 789 shots have been on target.
There have been 885 fouls conceded. That adds up to about 14 fouls conceded per team per match.
307 corner kicks so far in MLS 2013.
In the race for the Supporters' Shield, the Montreal Impact look the side to beat right now. They have won all four of their games for 12 points. No other team has won four games.
The Chicago Fire has scored just one goal. Same goes for the New England Revolution.
Hendry Thomas of the Colorado Rapids and Bobby Burling of Chivas USA are tied for the lead in most yellow cards so far with three each.
The team with the most points, Montreal, leads the league in being caught offside. The team in last place for the Supporters' Shield, Chicago, is second.
The former having being caught 20 times and the latter 17.
Here are 10 more things we've learned so far about the MLS 2013.
The synergy between Felipe and Patrice Bernier is a big reason why the Montreal Impact has been perfect this season.
Bernier’s deep midfield role has been MLS First 11 quality. His simple side-to-side distribution sets a nice tempo for the Impact.
He can create too, as he leads MLS with three assists.
And his recovery work when the Impact does not have the ball is noteworthy: always with excellent positioning and the ability to cover tons of field.
Then there is Felipe, the crafty Brazilian, who has emerged as one of the best playmakers in MLS. He has multiple weapons in his passing arsenal, including a one-touch, flick-on that is supremely cerebral. He can also thread longer through balls and switch the point of attack when necessary.
This connection should continue to dominate the midfield third of the pitch for Montreal. It will also drive a realistic pursuit of the Supporters' Shield.
Jose Luis Sanchez Sola’s Chivas USA side has caught the attention of MLS, deploying the rarely used 3-5-2 formation.
So far so good from the visionary head coach.
Due to the unbalanced nature of using only three true backs, a team playing in a 3-5-2 requires particularly precise spacing and movement with one less defender.
The wing backs; otherwise known as outside midfielders, need to do a lot of running.
Chivas USA has been able to do both the former and the latter.
Apart from their season-opener; Bobby Burling, Mario de Luna and Joaquin Velasquez have formed a good connection in the back.
Juan Agudelo’s play has helped the cause, too. He’s finally finding consistent, dangerous form.
Three backs allows, obviously, more numbers forward and the Goats have scored a league best eight goals.
They will continue to be a difficult club to prepare for.
New York’s designated player, Tim Cahill, has struggled to contribute in the attack for Red Bulls.
Perhaps his forever-changing position on the field has something to do with this ineffectiveness.
Cahill has played nearly every offensive position in his three starts this year with the exception of right midfield. When he’s the advanced center-midfielder, New York has rarely found his feet in good spots.
He has spent much of his time competing for aerial duels from punts and goal kicks.
With a forward corps growing, playing him as a second striker seems unlikely.
Switching him so that he is in a deeper midfield role might help him get on the ball earlier in the flow of the offense. It would also allow him to make second runs into the box, something he did quite well at Everton for years.
Regardless, Mike Petke needs to figure out how to best maximize Tim Cahill’s tactical role.
A conversation regarding the best center-backs in the MLS right now is a discussion in which many players could be involved. Not so for the outside-backs.
Omar Gonzalez, Allesandro Nesta, and Victor Bernardez are three examples of dominant center-backs plying their trade in MLS.
They all are international level.
Be it superior positional anticipation, aerial dominance or forward passing; a good number of center-backs possess highly regardable attributes.
Quality depth is much thinner on the flanks in the back. And while there are definitely outside-backs worth noting; Dwight Morrow and Tony Beltran for starters, overall this one of the weakest positions in MLS.
The Los Angeles Galaxy’s Mike Magee made waves for scoring clutch goals in playoff games over the past two seasons.
As the early leader in the Golden Boot race, Magee’s game continues to improve.
Be it on the outside flank, center-midfield, or paired alongside Robbie Keane up top; Magee has a knack for intelligent movement off the ball.
His running is persistent in the final third and he finishes multiple ways. He has the laces-led strike from distance, the dexterous volley and the pure hit with either foot; for starters, in his toolbox.
Magee is an intensely confident player.
The American has done an excellent job of picking up the scoring in Landon Donovan’s absence. He will likely be in the conversation for a Best 11 spot if he keeps finishing in bunches.
The good news for Chicago Fire fans is that the team finally scored a goal this weekend against Chivas USA. The bad news is that they gave up four.
One Patrick Nyarko goal is all the Fire has to hang their hat on this season in terms of offensive productivity.
The new players have yet to seem comfortable. There is very little rhythm to their passing. And accuracy has been poor when they have managed to have a go on target.
Finding their quick playmaker, Chris Rolfe, in the final third would be a good way to start.
Kei Kamara’s loan to English Premier League side Norwich is a critical loss for Sporting Kansas City this season.
While the sample is still small, Kansas City has four goals in four games. This is just below the league average.
For a team with aspirations like Sporting Kansas City has, this simply is not good enough.
They have options in the forward corps in terms of fitting in with how the team wants to play but they are lacking a striker that does the most important thing in the game well: score.
Kamara did that efficiently and in spades, many times with his head.
Can C.J. Sapong score more than 10 goals this season with Kamara gone?
Many MLS teams take a hit during international fixture weekends, none worse than Real Salt Lake.
Their three most important players were missing in their 2-0 loss to FC Dallas. And their quality right-back, Tony Beltran, was also away with the U.S. national team.
And a center-back, Abdoulie Mansally, too.
Five total players.
Goalkeeper Nick Rimando, midfielder Kyle Beckerman and striker Alvaro Saborio were all involved in Friday evening’s snowy World Cup Qualifier in Denver between Costa Rica and the United States.
That left RSL without their veteran and reliable shot-stopper, their midfield engine and their best scoring threat on top of the two other aforementioned major contributors.
These faces will be a welcome sight back to the training grounds in Salt Lake when they return next week.
Deshorn Brown has been a bright spot for a Colorado offense struggling to finish.
His one goal accounts for 50 percent of the Rapids' goals in MLS 2013.
Brown scored in a 1-1 draw against Real Salt Lake last week. He stripped defender Chris Schuler in the defensive third of the field and finished a big chance he created with timely pressure.
He has a smooth first touch, is figuring out how to dangerously move without the ball and has a hunger about his game required of effective strikers.
His 15 shots is by far the most on his team. Atiba Harris is the next closet with seven shots.
This is a nice piece for the future in Colorado.
There is no player more fun to watch than Darren Mattocks of the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Robbie Keane of the Los Angeles Galaxy might be the best player in the MLS but no one is more unique then Mattocks.
His speed is intimidating. He beats defenders with pure pace. But he has a style to his game, too. He can cut defenders with intricate footwork and finish in difficult spots.
A Vancouver Whitecaps game takes on an entirely new meaning because of him.
He added another brilliant goal to his collection this weekend. More to come, no doubt.