In addition to giving up goals at a record pace in its 0-3-1 start, Minnesota United is not being treated kindly in the national soccer media. The side's leaky defense was on full display again Saturday afternoon in a 5-2 loss to the New England Revolution.
While ESPN's soccer web site pointed out that the loss of four players to their international teams for World Cup qualifiers contributed to Saturday's loss, soccer writer Jason Davis said: "Of course, that excuse will ring hollow in light of the expansion club's horrific defensive record through four matches. On the wrong side of another lopsided loss -- this time in Massachusetts -- Minnesota has now conceded 18 goals in four matches."
How bad is that?
United has a minus-12 goal differential through its first four matches. No other MLS side is worse than minus-3. And those 18 goals are two more than the four teams immediate above them in the standings combined. In other words, this isn't just a poor start.
More from Davis: "That record is so bad that it not only sets an all-time mark for worst defense through four games in MLS, it would also do so for five and six games as well. The Loons could keep two clean sheets over the next two weeks and still set the ignominious record."
On foxsports,com, writer Caitlin Murray took a shot at United management for being unprepared to deal with the absences caused by international play and the injuries that left the roster without 10 players over the weekend:. "The concern here, however, is that some of Minnesota's problems aren't going away anytime soon. Saturday's match proved, if anything, that they have no depth, which any team in MLS needs. Injuries, suspensions and national team call-ups are just part of life in MLS and the Loons look utterly unprepared for it."
Even the league's website is jumping the team. In his Armchair Analyst blog, senior writer Matthew Doyle wrote: "There are many troubling things about this team's start in MLS, but the one that bothers me most is this: How did a club that spend its entire existence in the second tier of the pyramid manage to underrate the quality of players available on very, very salary budget-friendly contract?"
His report, which includes a takedown on signing "sub-elite players from the Scandinavian leagues," is here.
CBSsports.com soccer writer Roger Gonzalez pointed out that expansion sides don't need to struggle this badly, pointing out that Atlanta, the other new team, has won two of its first three games.
He also added this inglorious tidbit: "Want to know how bad it has been? Try and digest this: Minnesota is on pace to allow 153 goals this season. The most ever allowed in an MLS regular season is 69 in 1998."
Here's the rest of his take on United, if you can stand any more.