MLS Week 4: What We Learned

Matt Kremkau


The fourth weekend of the Major League Soccer season was limited to three games, with most of the league off for FIFA international dates. Two were high scoring, one ended 0-0. Still, there were lessons to be learned from Week 4.

Red Bulls Marsch Critical of Schedule

New York was one of only six MLS teams in action. Both the Red Bulls (Sacha Kljestan) and Real Salt Lake (Nick Rimando and Alberto Rusnak) had players away on national team duty. New York Coach Jesse Marsch was not a big fan of playing on during the break:

“I don’t like it. I don’t understand it. These are things to ask the league. There’s often things that I don’t quite get. But in the end, it’s O.K. because it gives us a rhythm right now of playing games, but, yeah, I’d much rather have both teams be able to have their full complement of players.”

Matt Van Oekel Is Ready for MLS

After winning the Golden Glove award as the best keeper in the North American Soccer League last year, Matt Van Oekel moved from FC Edmonton and took a job as Nick Rimando’s backup at Real Salt Lake. With Rimando away with the United States national team for World Cup qualifying, Van Oekel made his first start for Salt Lake on Saturday, and impressed with three saves against the Red Bulls. His shutout was matched by Luis Robles in a scoreless draw.

Minnesota’s Defense Is Dreadful

With 17 goals allowed in their first four games, Minnesota United is on pace to shatter the MLS record for defensive futility in a season (Colorado allowed 69 in 32 games in 1998) . The Loons allowed five goals, including two penalties, in their loss to New England on Saturday. Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth’s return to Foxborough after eight years with the Revs was unpleasant, to say the least.

Columbus Can Compete With the Best

Columbus made a statement with its win over Portland, which had a perfect record through three weeks. The Crew fell behind early, but showed some of the firepower that led them on their MLS Cup run in 2015. This was a replay of that year’s title match, the first time the Timbers have visited since, and the atmosphere at Mapfre Stadium was something more than a typical game in March.