8 Things We Learned from MLS Week 4

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 31, 2014

8 Things We Learned from MLS Week 4

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    Believe it or not, we are already one month into the 2014 Major League soccer season.

    Before the league turned the calendar over to April, plenty of madness occurred over the nine matches played on the final weekend of March. 

    The weekend that saw four second-half stoppage-time winners taught us plenty about the 18 teams who took the pitch. 

    We cut those many lessons down to the eight key takeaways from Week 4. 

The Goonies Got Beat at Their Own Game

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    As we have come to expect by now, there was late drama in a match involving the San Jose Earthquakes. 

    This time around, the Goonies were handed a taste of their own medicine as New England struck in the 93rd minute through Lee Nguyen. 

    The goal denied the Earthquakes of a crucial home point as they continued to stumble out of the gates. 

    Despite all the theatrics surrounding its first three matches, San Jose has just one point to show for it. 

Philadelphia Still Has Some Work to Do

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    Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

    The potential is certainly there for the Philadelphia Union to become one of the best stories of the season, but the team has yet to shake its propensity to concede late in games. 

    For the second time this season, the Union conceded late in a game where the result should have already been decided. 

    Thanks to a lack of closure on the defensive end by Amobi Okugo, Montreal's Marco Di Vaio scored in the 80th minute, a goal that gave Union fans a case of deja vu after the team conceded late against Portland in Week 1. 

    Another terrifying trend that the Union have yet to kick is the streak of 14 straight games without scoring more than one goal. 

Real Salt Lake Showed Their Muscle

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    Real Salt Lake reminded Toronto FC that they still have a ways to go in its climb up the league hierarchy. 

    The Claret and Cobalt, who for obvious reasons did not receive as much hype in the offseason as Toronto did, manhandled the Reds in their 3-0 victory on Saturday. 

    Jeff Cassar's team won the important battle in the midfield as Javier Morales and Kyle Beckerman kept Michael Bradley quiet for most of the match. 

    While laying out a blueprint for how to beat Toronto, RSL also reminded all of us that they will be in the playoff hunt all season long. 

CenturyLink Field May Not Be the Fortress We Think It Is

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    For the second time this season, an Eastern Conference foe marched into CenturyLink Field and defeated the Sounders. 

    This time around, Columbus used a late Justin Meram goal and a man advantage to defeat Seattle at the stadium where it lost just twice all of last season. 

    The home struggles will linger around the camp for quite some time now that Sigi Schmid's club will play the next three matches on the road.

    The next home game for the Sounders comes on April 26 against Colorado, a game that starts a three-game homestand.  

Colorado Has a Thing for Penalties

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    Colorado has produced one of the strangest statistics from the first four weeks of play in 2014 as it has earned five penalties in three matches.

    Two of the five came on Saturday in the loss to Sporting Kansas City at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. 

    Both of the goals from the spot were scored by Vicente Sanchez, who is tied for the league lead in goals with Erick Torres with four, all of which have come from the penalty spot. 

    The five penalties earned by the Rapids this season is a total that is just two less than the amount earned by the other 18 clubs in the league. 

FC Dallas Can Hit You from All Angles

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    Oscar Pareja is getting the most out of the talent on his roster so far as every player on the pitch is contributing in most aspects of the game. 

    We all know that the trio of Fabian Castillo, Mauro Diaz and Blas Perez have put in some spectacular work up front, but they are not the only FC Dallas players that can cause harm when you least expect it. 

    The pair of full-backs, Jair Benitez and Kellyn Acosta have done a superb job on the flanks and the pair have shown good balance on both ends of the pitch early in the season.

    In between Benitez and Acosta, the center-back pairing of Stephen Keel and Matt Hedges have conceded five goals in four games, one of which was an own goal by Hedges on Saturday. 

    Now, Pareja and company need to prove that this season's fast start is not a replication of the 2013 season, where the team crashed and burned under former manager Schellas Hyndman. 

We Shouldn't Discount the Dynamo

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    Yes, the Dynamo did lose 2-1 to Vancouver on Saturday night, but the game was played on a surface that the team is not used to and plenty of chances were created. 

    Heading into the match, Houston had six points from two home matches and it showed plenty of promise at every position on the pitch. 

    While they did lose at BC Place, the Dynamo did well on a surface that they only play on once every two years because of the way the MLS schedule works. 

    The true test for the 2014 edition of the Dynamo will come in Week 5 when they host FC Dallas in the Texas derby. 

Sporting Kansas City Put in a Championship-Caliber Comeback

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    Down by a goal with 12 minutes left, Sporting Kansas City did the only thing a defending champion would do: Score two goals and leave Colorado with three points. 

    Peter Vermes' side showed plenty of resolve against the Rapids and passed the first test in a season that will see plenty of teams hit them with their best shot. 

    Sporting was sprung back to life by a Benny Feilhaber goal in the 79th minute, a strike that occurred just a minute after Colorado went ahead through a Sanchez penalty. 

    Dom Dwyer then finished things off in the 92nd minute by scoring the first of four second-half stoppage-time goals across the league in Week 4. 

    Receiving goals from two of its main contributors in an under-pressure situation was a huge sign of things to come for Sporting. 

    Joe Tansey covers MLS for Bleacher Report, you can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90. 

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