MLS Player Power Rankings: Defoe Climbs to the Top After Home Debut

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2014

MLS Player Power Rankings: Defoe Climbs to the Top After Home Debut

0 of 21

    Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

    The third week of the Major League Soccer season saw the most action in 2014 with a full slate of nine games taking place across the United States and Canada. 

    Plenty of players delivered standout performances in those nine games, but only 20 were able to make the most recent player power rankings.

    Continue reading to see which 20 players made the cut after Week 3.

On the Way out

1 of 21

    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Eight players found themselves on the outside looking in just one week after qualifying for the top 20. 

    Three players departed because of a bye week, while a few others dropped off the radar because of poor performance on the pitch.

    Dropped Out of Rankings: 

    Kenny Miller (Vancouver; Last Week's Ranking: 10)

    Jermaine Taylor (Houston; 11)

    David Horst (Houston; 12)

    Michael Parkhurst (Columbus; 13)

    Cristian Maidana (Philadelphia; 15)

    Thierry Henry (New York; 17)

    Kofi Sarkodie (Houston; 19

    Chris Seitz (FC Dallas; 20) 

20. Giancarlo Gonzalez

2 of 21

    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Week 2 Ranking: not ranked

    Columbus' Giancarlo Gonzalez replaced his center-back partner, Michael Parkhurst, this week, thanks to his efforts against Philadelphia. 

    Gonzalez made four interceptions and 12 effective clearances against a dangerous Union attack. 

    If he keeps his strong play up alongside the United States international, Gonzalez could easily move up the charts in the coming weeks.

19. Doneil Henry

3 of 21

    Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 2 Ranking: not ranked

    Much of the attention this season has been focused on the Toronto attack, but the defense has done a solid job as well.

    Center-back Doneil Henry is one of those players who has not received enough credit for his play at the back. 

    Henry made 11 effective clearances and won 100 percent of his aerial battles against D.C. United in the home opener at BMO Field on Saturday.

18. Nick Rimando

4 of 21

    Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 2 Ranking: 9

    Nick Rimando did not receive the peppering he took in the first two weeks against the LA Galaxy in the Western Conference clash at Rio Tinto Stadium.

    Rimando did not make a single save and conceded one goal to Robbie Keane in his third game of the season.

    Despite not making a single save, Rimando still leads the league with 16.

17. Jair Benitez

5 of 21

    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 2 Ranking: not ranked

    Jair Benitez helped FC Dallas propel itself to the top of the Supporters' Shield standings with a 3-1 win over Chivas USA.

    The left-back, who was a member of our MLS Team of the Week, was responsible for the inefficiency of Chivas winger Mauro Rosales. 

    Benitez also contributed two key passes on the offensive end of the ball.

16. Jose Goncalves

6 of 21

    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 2 Ranking: not ranked

    What a difference a week made for Jose Goncalves and the New England Revolution.

    A week after being left out of the squad, Goncalves squashed his contract issues with the front office in order to star at center-back in the 0-0 draw with Vancouver.

    The contract situation of the 2013 MLS Defender of the Year is far from resolved, but right now it looks like the two sides are getting along well enough for the defensive star to start once more.

15. Federico Higuain

7 of 21

    Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 2 Ranking: 14

    Federico Higuain took a step back from the spotlight as his fellow midfielders took control of the Saturday victory over the Union.

    Despite not scoring, Higuain did deliver an assist on the first of two goals scored by Bernardo Anor. 

    Higuain's corner kick found the head of Anor in the 24th minute of the second victory of the season for Columbus. 

14. Mauro Diaz

8 of 21

    Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 2 Ranking: not ranked

    A week after being dropped from the top 20, Mauro Diaz is back with a bang after the midfield maestro powered FC Dallas to its win over Chivas USA.

    Diaz is arguably the most important player in the Dallas attack, and he proved that on Saturday by making the most touches of any of his teammates with 76. 

    He also contributed two key passes, which was tied for most on the team with Benitez.

13. Michael Bradley

9 of 21

    Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 2 Ranking: 18 

    Michael Bradley's consistency in midfield is something we are used to watching, and he continued that against D.C.

    In his home debut, the United States international recorded a pass accuracy of 77 percent, and he had the most accurate long balls of any Toronto player with five. 

    He also delivered four key passes to an attack that caused a bevy of problems against a hapless D.C. back four.

12. Boniek Garcia

10 of 21

    Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 2 Ranking: 8

    Boniek Garcia's four-spot drop down the rankings is due to his absence on the pitch this weekend. 

    Houston had the week off to prepare for a trip to Vancouver, which will present a new challenge for the team this season since the game will be played on the turf at BC Place.

11. Victor Bernardez

11 of 21

    Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 2 Ranking: 6

    Second-half theatrics was not the name of Victor Bernardez's game on Saturday as he was forced to drop back and defend against Sporting Kansas City. 

    With four key tackles and four interceptions, Bernardez was clearly the best defender for San Jose in the 1-0 loss at Sporting Park.

10. Maurice Edu

12 of 21

    Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Spor

    Week 2 Ranking: 7

    Maurice Edu was one of the few players who turned in a strong 90 minutes of play for Philadelphia in its loss to Columbus. 

    Edu completed 83 percent of his 52 passes, and he attempted two shots while making two key passes. 

    The 27-year-old also did nothing to hurt his chances of being called up to the United States squad for the April 2 friendly against Mexico.

9. Osvaldo Alonso

13 of 21

    Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 2 Ranking: 16 

    A week after recording over 100 touches in the clash against Toronto, Osvaldo Alonso made 84 touches and was very active on the road versus Montreal. 

    Alonso delivered his third straight impressive performance in the center of midfield by completing 94 percent of his 62 passes. 

    Alonso also improved on his disciplinary record by not recording a yellow card in a match for the first time this season.

8. Gilberto

14 of 21

    Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

    Week 2 Ranking: not ranked

    Gilberto's debut for Toronto FC was a spectacular one as he starred alongside Jermain Defoe up front against D.C. 

    In 63 minutes of play, the Brazilian dished out three key passes as he set Defoe up on numerous occasions to score. 

    If Gilberto continues to play like he did on Saturday, he could be the best designated player on the Reds roster.

7. Bernardo Anor

15 of 21

    Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Spor

    Week 2 Ranking: not ranked

    Bernardo Anor had quite the day on Saturday in the Crew's home opener. 

    Anor scored two goals in a 21-minute span for Columbus as he propelled it past Philadelphia in an Eastern Conference showdown. 

    The left-winger used his head in the 24th minute to power home a Higuain corner before he found some space and knocked in his second goal right before the halftime whistle.

6. Mauro Rosales

16 of 21

    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 2 Ranking: 3

    Mauro Rosales did not have as solid of a showing on Saturday as he has in the first two weeks, and the FC Dallas defense is to blame for that.

    The league leader in assists was shut down by Benitez and Kellyn Acosta on the wings as Chivas USA earned its first loss of the season. 

    Rosales did make the most touches of any Chivas USA player with 60, but he only had a pass accuracy of 74, which was only good enough for seventh-best on his team.

5. Erick Torres

17 of 21

    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 2 Ranking: not ranked 

    It's about time we start showing more love toward Erick Torres. 

    The Chivas USA forward scored his third goal in three games late in the loss to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium. 

    Torres' only shot on target found the back of the net in the 81st minute, and it put him level with Will Bruin and Defoe for the lead in the Golden Boot standings.

4. Joao Plata

18 of 21

    Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 2 Ranking: 2

    Despite playing just 36 minutes against LA on Saturday afternoon, Joao Plata still made a key contribution to the well-being of Real Salt Lake.

    Plata fired in a superb ball in the 19th minute that found a wide-open Alvaro Saborio, who then struck the back of the net. 

    Unfortunately for Plata, he picked up a hamstring injury, and according his tweet on Monday, he will be out for the next three weeks. 

3. Shea Salinas

19 of 21

    Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 2 Ranking: 5

    Shea Salinas may not have had a strong outing against Sporting on Saturday, but he was a part of an Earthquakes team that fought their hearts out in Toluca on Wednesday in the CONCACAF Champions League. 

    Salinas, and most of his teammates, showed their exhaustion in the loss where only one shot on goal was recorded. 

    We do have to take into account here that Salinas had two very strong games leading up to the loss at Sporting Park and Saturday's showing was just a fluke from the midfielder.

2. Will Bruin

20 of 21

    Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor

    Week 2 Ranking: 1

    Will Bruin dropped from the top spot this week because of Houston's inactivity on the pitch.

    Bruin will face a steep fight to earn his title back, but with a strong performance in Vancouver on Saturday, he could leap back up a spot.

1. Jermain Defoe

21 of 21

    Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

    Week 2 Ranking: 4

    No player is doing better in the league during the first three weeks than Jermain Defoe. 

    The designated player scored his third goal in two games in the 60th minute of his home debut against D.C. 

    Defoe sent in seven total shots, three of which were on goal, and he hit the post once as he sought to put more than a single goal past D.C. keeper Bill Hamid. 

     

    All statistics obtained from MLSSoccer.com and WhoScored.com.

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