29 Takeaways: One thought on every team after Matchday 4


And that's a wrap on Matchday 4.

Let's break down what we learned, ranging from Inter Miami CF's first defeat of 2024 to Toronto FC's reclamation project.

It's a both/and situation for Giorgos Giakoumakis when it comes to goalscoring, not an either/or. I found this to be particularly insightful after he scored a hat trick in Atlanta United's 4-1 rout of New England.

"I don’t need to send any message. I think they know me, and I know them, the strikers who are really dangerous for the Golden Boot," Giakoumakis said post-match.

"I will try to score every single game, that is my main job and I am really happy when I do it, but the most important thing is to win week in and week out, and the team is first. I really mean that. It sounds strange, but if I win the Golden Boot and the team doesn’t do well in the season, I won’t be happy. So, I need a good combination of these two, the collective and the individual success."

After a relatively quiet offseason, it's not surprising that Austin FC are still winless (0W-1L-2D). Maybe they can take advantage of upcoming games against Philadelphia and Orlando, who have juggled early-season congestion (i.e. Concacaf Champions Cup runs).

Enzo Copetti is getting into good chances, but the finishing touch isn't there. I have a hunch that the floodgates will open soon for Charlotte's DP striker, though.

There's some pressure mounting on DP striker Hugo Cuypers to score his first MLS goal. The reported $12 million signing got chances against Columbus, but couldn't finish.

But more worrisome is another late goal conceded, this time resulting in a 2-1 defeat. Year after year, the same issue plagues the Fire.

Two home matches, two 0-0 draws. Yes, FC Cincinnati are in transition mode after replacing five starters in the transfer market. But the defending Supporters' Shield champs expect more.

“Not much of a silver lining," head coach Pat Noonan said. "We feel like it's dropped points.

"You try to find ways as the year progresses to make up for some missed opportunities. But I think as you saw last year, and last year is last year, but at least from the group standpoint, when there's been disappointment in results and performances, there's typically been a pretty good response. Hopefully we see that and go out and prepare in a good way for Monterrey on Thursday."

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Colorado Rapids

Colorado's Chris Armas era is now off and running, taking a 2-1 win at Rocky Mountain Cup rivals RSL. The three points were extra special for Cole Bassett, who could easily surpass his career-high goals total of six.

What a week for the Crew.

First, Alex Matan scored a 96th-minute winner in Concacaf Champions Cup action. Then, Mohamed Farsi scored a 100th-minute winner in league play.

Columbus, even when not at their best, still find a way.

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FC Dallas

Can Jesús Ferreira and Petar Musa bring the best out of each other? They've traded goals in back-to-back 2-1 defeats, but that relationship clearly will need time. FC Dallas need to get healthy, too.

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D.C. United

No Christian Benteke, no Ted Ku-DiPietro and still a point for D.C. United in last weekend's 0-0 draw at FC Cincinnati. That speaks to the collective commitment head coach Troy Lesesne has instilled early on.

Houston Dynamo FC logo
Houston Dynamo FC

Houston were on a bye in Matchday 4. There's not much else to report as Designated Players Héctor Herrera and Sebastián Ferreira remain out injured and transfer market rumblings remain just that.

Sometimes, teams focus too much on scoring the perfect goal. That mindset doesn't define LAFC, necessarily, but it was interesting to hear this from head coach Steve Cherundolo after a highly-entertaining 0-0 draw with Sporting KC.

"Another area of improvement for us is in the final third, to be a little cleaner and have a little more patience when we do have the ball," Cherundolo said. "Not to always go for the home run, so to speak. Have a little more patience, work teams in a deeper block and then try to go expose them with our ideas."

Did somebody put a curse on the LA Galaxy when it comes to penalty kicks? It's at the very least a talking point after Dejan Joveljic missed from the spot in Sunday's 2-2 comeback draw at Nashville SC.

"Maybe it's next man up, we'll see. But I think when guys get up there, they just need to be clear," head coach Greg Vanney said post-game.

"… We are going to find somebody or somebody needs to step up and be the guy who can at least hit 90 percent, maybe not 100 percent, but we've got to get most of them. We are at zero percent right now. That's not good."

Inter Miami CF logo
Inter Miami CF

No Lionel Messi, no party for Inter Miami. Sunday's 3-2 defeat to CF Montréal wasn't that simple; their set-piece and transition defense left a lot to be desired. But the GOAT watched from the sidelines while resting (load management), unable to bail his team out.

Moving forward, let's see how Inter Miami apply lessons learned from their first major squad rotation of 2024.

Minnesota United FC logo
Minnesota United FC

Man, to think Minnesota have seven points from three matches without Emanuel Reynoso?! This Loons team is seriously fun to watch.

Now an interesting wrinkle arrives: transitioning to head coach Eric Ramsay. The former Manchester United assistant is stateside and poised to take over.

Underestimate Laurent Courtois' reborn CF Montréal at your own peril. These road warriors have seven points away from Stade Saputo after gathering just eight all of last season.

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Nashville SC

Gary Smith rotated 10 of his 11 starters in Sunday's 2-2 draw vs. LA Galaxy – prioritizing Concacaf Champions Cup play midweek. That was the right call, even if their two-goal lead slipped away.

There's some good and bad on the injury front, though. DP attackers Sam Surridge and Hany Mukhtar are back, while DP center back Walker Zimmerman is out (knee).

Tomás Chancalay has been phenomenal in Concacaf Champions Cup action, atop the Golden Boot charts (alongside Philadelphia striker Julián Carranza) with four goals.

But he's yet to translate that form to MLS action, much like the team overall. That's not to blame Chancalay, but rather show an example of how New England (aside from Carles Gil) aren't hitting their stride in the league just yet.

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New York City FC

It's not quite panic-button time, and I agree with Nick Cushing (below) that New York City FC's first-half performance was strong. But their inability to close a game sours the mood drastically.

“I thought for 45 minutes we were incredible – for 45 minutes, probably the best 45 minutes of football we played in about three or four years here," Cushing said. " … And I think in the second half we got to show a little bit more leadership and a little bit more control of the game."

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New York Red Bulls

Two games, two game-winners for Lewis Morgan. The old cliché of "like a new signing" certainly applies to the Scottish attacker after he missed much of 2023 due to injuries.

Orlando City SC logo
Orlando City SC

Orlando City have too much talent to be struggling this much, right? I think "yes" and trust head coach Oscar Pareja, with a veteran-heavy team, to right the ship.

Philadelphia Union logo
Philadelphia Union

The Subaru Park pitch quickly turned into a slip-and-slide, so Philadelphia's game was postponed. The blessing in disguise might be extra rest before their Champions Cup Leg 2 match at Pachuca (0-0 aggregate).

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Portland Timbers

If the widely-reported deal for Club América forward Jonathan Rodríguez gets over the line, that Timbers' attack becomes scary good. Antony and Evander got the goals in last weekend's 2-1 win at New York City FC, and then you've got Santiago Moreno, Dairon Asprilla and Felipe Mora (when healthy) adding a plethora of options.

Real Salt Lake logo
Real Salt Lake

Long stretches of possession and build-up had little end product for RSL, only forcing Rapids goalkeeper Zack Steffen into three (rather routine) saves. And thus RSL's six-game unbeaten run in the Rocky Mountain Cup ended with a 2-1 defeat, a bitter pill to swallow at home.

I don't think a DP No. 10 solves San Jose's problems. It would help chance-creation and end product, for sure. But their defense has allowed a Western Conference-worst seven goals through three games, which is more glaring.

Seattle's match at Philadelphia was postponed to a later date. But with the club's mounting injuries, maybe that's ultimately a positive thing? To name a few, the Sounders are down Pedro de la Vega, Stefan Frei, João Paulo and Albert Rusnák.

Sporting Kansas City logo
Sporting Kansas City

It was a battle of goalkeepers Saturday night at BMO Field, with Sporting KC's Tim Melia and LAFC's Hugo Lloris trading stunning stops in an end-to-end 0-0 draw. Yes, there was wayward finishing from both teams. But the veteran goalkeepers stole the show.

Eduard Löwen, when he sent a penalty kick past Brad Stuver, broke a 19-game scoring drought (all competitions) for St. Louis over the weekend. The DP midfielder, who had 6g/14a in 29 matches a year ago, must be at his best for the second-year club to remain atop the Western Conference pack.

Toronto FC logo
Toronto FC

Another week, another Lorenzo Insigne golazo handed Toronto FC a 1-0 win. But the most illuminating part is seeing the Italian star celebrate so passionately with head coach John Herdman. They've got a special relationship brewing.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC logo
Vancouver Whitecaps FC

The player with the most upside at Vancouver Whitecaps FC? Ali Ahmed, who curled home a beautiful goal in Vancouver's first win of 2024.

Don't be surprised if the 23-year-old Canadian international carves out a role for the co-hosts at the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Or if he's playing in a top European league by then.