MLS

MLS Player Power Rankings: Seattle Trio Dominates List of League's Best

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2014

MLS Player Power Rankings: Seattle Trio Dominates List of League's Best

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    The Seattle Sounders are on fire at the moment, and because of that, three of their stars are high up on the list of the league's best players after Week 8.

    Clint Dempsey has earned the top spot for the last two weeks, and Osvaldo Alonso has consistently ranked in the top 10 all year long, but a third player rooted himself high up in the MLS Player Power Rankings this week as well. 

    As for players not based in Seattle, two of the top performers from Week 8 debuted on the list, while one surprising defender continued his climb up the chart. 

    Continue reading on to see where the Seattle trio and 17 other players ranked after eight weeks of play in Major League Soccer.

On the Way out

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    Thanks to injuries, bye weeks and ineffective play in Week 8, five players exited the rankings this week. 

    Players Dropped out of Rankings: 

    Quincy Amarikwa (Chicago; Week 7 Ranking: 14)

    Matt Hedges (FC Dallas; 15)

    Pedro Morales (Vancouver; 16)

    Harrison Shipp (Chicago; 18)

    Jose Mari (Colorado; 19)

20. Sebastian Fernandez

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    Week 7 Ranking: not ranked 

    Sebastian Fernandez was only on the pitch for just over 30 minutes, but his impact on Vancouver's 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake was a massive one. 

    Fernandez struck the back of the net in second-half stoppage time from 35 yards out to hand the Whitecaps a vital road point.

19. Lee Nguyen

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    Week 7 Ranking: not ranked

    Lee Nguyen's strong start to the 2014 campaign continued on Saturday night in New England's 2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City. 

    Nguyen slotted home a penalty in the final seconds of the match, a goal that was deserved by the midfielder, who contributed two key passes and recorded a pass accuracy of 82 percent.

18. Nick Rimando

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    Week 7 Ranking: 10 

    Week 8 saw Nick Rimando deliver an uncharacteristic showing, as Vancouver's comeback became a reality. 

    Rimando could have done better on Fernandez's equalizer, but it seemed like the RSL keeper was thrown off a bit, which handed Fernandez enough space to score. 

    Before letting in two late goals, Rimando made four saves to add to his season total of 27.

17. Lloyd Sam

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    Week 7 Ranking: 20 

    Lloyd Sam continued to deliver quality in the improving New York attack with two strong games against Houston and Columbus. 

    Sam made two key passes in each game for the Red Bulls, but his better overall match came in the 4-0 blowout of Houston at home on Wednesday.

16. Graham Zusi

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    Week 7 Ranking: 13 

    The entire Sporting attack, including Graham Zusi, had an off week against an impressive New England back four. 

    Zusi failed to manage a shot on goal, and just four of his 14 crosses found a teammate. 

    The United States international will look to rebound at home against Columbus in an Eastern Conference showdown on Sunday.

15. Dom Dwyer

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    Week 7 Ranking: 

    A week after striking a brace against Montreal, Dom Dwyer was silenced by the Revolution at Gillette Stadium. 

    The Englishman did fire three shots, but none of them threatened Bobby Shuttleworth in the New England net. 

    The 23-year-old, who has four goals this season, will have to face another tough defense in the form of Columbus' Michael Parkhurst and Giancarlo Gonzalez in Week 9.

14. Darren Mattocks

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    Week 7 Ranking: 9

    Leading the Vancouver front line, Darren Mattocks forced just one shot on target and made 28 touches at Rio Tinto Stadium. 

    Despite not contributing to either of the Whitecaps' two goals, Mattocks is still tied for second in the league in assists with three.

13. Andrew Farrell

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    Week 7 Ranking: 17 

    Andrew Farrell is experiencing the polar opposite of a sophomore slump at the back for the Revolution. 

    The Louisville product shifted over to center back in the absence of Jose Goncalves two weeks ago, and he has thrived at the position ever since. 

    With Farrell at center back, New England has conceded one goal in 229 minutes of play.

12. Michael Bradley

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    Week 7 Ranking: 12 

    If there was ever such a thing as a much-needed bye week this early in the season, Michael Bradley and Toronto FC had it during Week 8.

    The Reds needed a week to rest all of their players, and get healthy, for the Week 9 clash at home versus New England.

11. Fabian Espindola

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    Week 7 Ranking: not ranked 

    Fabian Espindola was on fire against FC Dallas in D.C. United's 4-1 win at RFK Stadium. 

    The 28-year-old offseason acquisition scored a brace, and recorded an assist, for a United side that contained a man advantage after the 39th minute. 

    To go along with his two goals and assist, the Argentinian made five key passes and fired three shots on target in the blowout victory.

10. Javier Morales

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    Week 7 Ranking: 11

    Javier Morales was allowed to work with a bit more creativity against Vancouver, thanks to the return of Joao Plata to the RSL lineup. 

    Because of Plata's return, Morales did not have to focus on getting shots on target, and he was able to get back to his role as main distributor. 

    Morales made a team-high 61 passes and completed six of seven attempted long balls.

9. Maurice Edu

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    Week 7 Ranking: 

    One of the few positives about the Philadelphia Union right now is the play of Maurice Edu. 

    Against Montreal, Edu completed 84 percent of his team-high 62 passes and was accurate on all eight of his attempted long balls. 

    Edu also won two aerial duels in the defeat at Stade Saputo.

8. Obafemi Martins

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    Week 7 Ranking: not ranked

    For the second consecutive week, we were treated to a celebratory flip from Obafemi Martins. 

    Martins scored the final goal of Seattle's 4-1 crushing of Colorado to cap off another spectacular offensive performance from the forward trio that he lines up in alongside Lamar Neagle and Dempsey. 

    Not only did the Nigerian score in the match, but he also recorded his personal season-high of six shots on goal.

7. Bradley Wright-Phillips

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    Week 7 Ranking: not ranked 

    Bradley Wright-Phillips had the best week of any player in the league, as he scored on four occasions, for the New York Red Bulls. 

    Wright-Phillips scored a hat trick against Houston on Wednesday, and then followed up his amazing performance with a goal in the 1-1 draw at Columbus on Saturday. 

    The quartet of strikes broke a scoring drought that dated back to Week 1, when the Englishman scored off the bench against Vancouver.

6. Erick Torres

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    Week 7 Ranking: 

    For just the second time in 2014, Erick Torres failed to score a goal for Chivas USA. 

    Torres and the Goats were shutout by a San Jose side that created the better chances in the second half at Buck Shaw Stadium. 

    In defeat, Torres did get off three shots, but none of them challenged Jon Busch in the San Jose net. 

5. Robbie Keane

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    Week 7 Ranking: 

    Robbie Keane's four-game goal streak continued through Week 8, thanks to yet another bye week for the LA Galaxy. 

    Keane and his Galaxy teammates have only played five games in 2014, but they will play five games in May, including three straight road games beginning in Colorado on Saturday.

4. Federico Higuain

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    Week 7 Ranking: 3

    Federico Higuain's efforts against New York were not enough to earn the Crew a win at home on Saturday.

    Higuain recorded the third-worst pass accuracy of any Columbus player at 74 percent, but he did record a shot on target and a key pass against a stingy Red Bulls team that is starting to heat up. 

    In seven games this season, Higuain has failed to get off a shot on just one occasion, which came in Week 3 against Philadelphia.

3. Osvaldo Alonso

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    Week 7 Ranking: 6

    The numbers that Osvaldo Alonso has been putting up in the midfield for Seattle have been well above average all season, and he continued his strong form against Colorado.

    Alonso made 99 touches and completed 95 percent of his game-high 84 passes, in the dominant victory by the Sounders. 

    Through eight games, Alonso is averaging a pass success rate of 90.4 percent.

2. Mauro Diaz

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    Week 7 Ranking: 2

    FC Dallas may have received a pounding from D.C. United on Saturday night, but before the defense let in four goals, Mauro Diaz scored a skillful goal for the visitors. 

    Diaz was handed a clever pass from Blas Perez and then proceeded to dart around a defender, before beating Bill Hamid in the 13th minute. 

    Despite scoring early in the match, Diaz was a victim of defensive tactics from manager Oscar Pareja, as he was taken off at halftime with his club down a man.

1. Clint Dempsey

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    Week 7 Ranking: 

    For the third consecutive week, Dempsey reigns supreme on this list. 

    Dempsey scored two more goals on Saturday to bring his league-leading total to eight, which is two more than Torres. 

    To go along with his brace, Dempsey took seven shots, five of which were on target. 

    With home matches on the horizon against Philadelphia and Dallas, both of whom are susceptible to conceding multiple goals in a match, do not be surprised if Dempsey continues to score at his rapid pace. 

     

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

    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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