MLS

MLS Player Power Rankings: BWP, Morales Surpass Dempsey in Race for Top Spot

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2014

MLS Player Power Rankings: BWP, Morales Surpass Dempsey in Race for Top Spot

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The 10th week of play in Major League Soccer saw plenty of electrifying individual displays. 

    Three players scored hat-tricks, while four others found the back of the net on two occasions in a week that saw 39 goals fly in. 

    While the stellar offensive performances across the league dominated the headlines, there were also some impressive defensive games turned in by some of the league's best.

    After sorting through all of the terrific displays on the pitch this weekend, we compiled the latest MLS Player Power Rankings, a list that sees its first change at the top since Week 6. 

On the Way out

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Only five players fell out of the top 20 this week due to a long-term injury, stellar performances from teammates and an influx of terrific goalscorers. 

    Players Dropped out of Rankings: 

    Mauro Diaz (FC Dallas; Week 9 Ranking: 10)

    Giles Barnes (Houston; 14)

    Diego Valeri (Portland; 18)

    Maurice Edu (Philadelphia; 19)

    Michael Bradley (Toronto; 20)

20. Michel

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Week 9 Ranking: Not Ranked 

    Michel stepped in at left-back and gave FC Dallas two terrific performances in two losses this week. 

    In the 2-1 loss to Seattle on Wednesday, the Brazilian scored from the spot and made six tackles and four interceptions. 

    Against San Jose, Michel and his teammates lost by the same score, but the 32-year-old did score a rocket of a free-kick goal to go along with his four key passes and five shots. 

19. Chris Wondolowski

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    Week 9 Ranking: 17 

    In what was his last game for the Earthquakes before leaving for United States World Cup camp, Chris Wondolowski put two shots on target and delivered two key passes against FC Dallas. 

    Wondolowski has scored five goals in nine matches for the Earthquakes, and he may need to score a few more against Azerbaijan and Turkey, to solidify his spot on the plane to Brazil. 

18. Brad Davis

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    Week 9 Ranking: Not Ranked

    Brad Davis also played in his final club game before the World Cup with the Dynamo on Sunday night. 

    Despite falling 5-2 to Real Salt Lake, Davis did turn in a solid showing with four key passes and a pass accuracy of 90 percent. 

    Davis also extended his streak of games with either a goal or an assist to six games. 

17. Pedro Morales

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    Week 9 Ranking: 16 

    Vancouver's 1-0 win in Columbus flew under the radar thanks to all the goalfests across the league. 

    In the victory, Pedro Morales continued his consistent season in the attack for the Whitecaps with four key passes, two shots and a pass accuracy of 91 percent. 

16. Graham Zusi

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Week 9 Ranking: 15

    The third of four players on the preliminary roster of the United States that ranks in the top 20 this week is Graham Zusi. 

    In Sporting's annihilation of Montreal, Zusi made 63 touches, completed 90 percent of his passes and had two accurate long balls. 

15. Matias Laba

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Week 9 Ranking: Not Ranked 

    Matias Laba was a dominant force in the defensive midfield for the Whitecaps in their road success at Crew Stadium. 

    Laba made 10 tackles, two interceptions, blocked one shot and recorded a pass accuracy of 82 percent in his 89 minutes on the pitch. 

    If the 22-year-old continues to play like this in the upcoming weeks leading into the World Cup break, Vancouver could end up near the top of the Western Conference in June. 

14. Oriol Rosell

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    Week 9 Ranking: Not Ranked

    Oriol Rosell was even more dominant than Laba in the defensive midfield on Saturday for Sporting.

    Rosell controlled the pace of the game with an astounding 172 touches and a pass accuracy of 96 percent. 

    What makes the pass-accuracy stat stand out more is the fact that Rosell made a whopping 164 passes. 

13. Lee Nguyen

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    Week 9 Ranking: 12 

    In New England's blowout victory over Seattle at home on Sunday, Lee Nguyen contributed two shots on target and a key pass. 

    Although the midfielder, who has been a model of consistency all season long, did not complete as many passes as Rosell, he was highly accurate at 95 percent, which led all players at Gillette Stadium. 

12. Robbie Keane

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    Week 9 Ranking: 11

    Robbie Keane took advantage of a defensive mishap by Portland to score the lone Galaxy goal at Providence Park on Sunday. 

    The Irishman fired home in the 92nd minute to give LA a lead for three minutes, as he capitalized on the defensive ineptitude of Futty Danso. 

    Keane now has five goals in seven games for a Galaxy side that has just nine points at the moment. 

11. Osvaldo Alonso

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    Week 9 Ranking: 7

    Osvaldo Alonso took part in two games this week and made one strong performance and a lackluster one. 

    Against FC Dallas on Wednesday, Alonso had four tackles, two effective clearances and an interception. 

    In the loss to New England, Alonso completed 87 percent of his passes, and was ineffective on the defensive side of the ball, with one tackle and an interception. 

10. Joao Plata

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    Week 9 Ranking: 4

    Joao Plata was overshadowed by two of his teammates in Week 10, both of whom jumped over him in the rankings this week as well. 

    In 74 minutes on the pitch against Houston, Plata touched the ball just 27 times and got off just one shot, but he did record two key passes. 

9. Andrew Farrell

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    Week 9 Ranking: 

    While the New England attack stole all the headlines on Sunday, Andrew Farrell had another impressive showing at the back. 

    Against one of the best attacks in the league, Farrell made 12 effective clearances, six interceptions and three tackles in the 5-0 win over Seattle. 

    Through nine games, the 22-year-old has averaged 8.8 clearances, 2.7 interceptions and 2.6 tackles per game. 

8. Alvaro Saborio

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Week 9 Ranking: 13

    In most weeks, a forward with a goal and an assist would the lead headlines for his team. 

    That was not the case for Alvaro Saborio, who let hat-trick hero Javier Morales bask in the spotlight during the 5-2 demolition of Houston at BBVA Compass Stadium.

    The 32-year-old scored his sixth goal of the season in the 32nd minute and assisted on the first-minute strike by Morales. 

7. Erick Torres

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    Week 9 Ranking: 8

    Erick Torres was able to break out his trademark robot goal celebration once again on Sunday with a 56th-minute strike against Colorado. 

    Torres also dished out an assist 11 minutes later on the first of two goals scored by Marvin Chavez. 

    The goal was the eighth of the season for Torres, who has scored a single goal in eight of his 10 matches in 2014. 

6. Federico Higuain

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    Week 9 Ranking: 5

    Federico Higuain did his best to try and hand Columbus a positive result at home against Vancouver, but he came up short. 

    The Argentinian playmaker had four key passes and a pass accuracy of 83 percent for a Crew team that needs a win in the worst way right now. 

5. Harry Shipp

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Week 9 Ranking: Not Ranked 

    Harry Shipp's emphatic return to the Player Power Rankings comes to us thanks to a three-goal outburst in Chicago's 5-4 win over New York.

    The favorite for Rookie of the Year also notched an assist in the nine-goal shootout at Red Bull Arena. 

    Shipp's season stat line includes his three goals from Saturday night and four assists in eight matches. 

4. Obafemi Martins

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    Week 9 Ranking: 

    Obafemi Martins added to his league-leading assist total with two against FC Dallas on Wednesday night. 

    Despite his impressive showing at CenturyLink Field, Martins was not named to Nigeria's World Cup squad, and he was forced to partake in the 5-0 thumping that the Sounders received at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. 

3. Clint Dempsey

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Week 9 Ranking: 

    After spending the last four weeks atop this list, Clint Dempsey was dethroned this week thanks to a few factors, one of which was his inability to score in two games for Seattle. 

    Dempsey also lost his lead in the Golden Boot race during Week 10 and he will not be able to regain it until after the World Cup. 

    While he is away at the United States World Cup camp, Dempsey will miss games against San Jose, Vancouver, Real Salt Lake and Chicago. 

2. Javier Morales

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Week 9 Ranking: 6

    Javier Morales could not be stopped on Sunday in RSL's first-ever win in Houston.

    Morales netted his first career hat-trick against the Dynamo, an achievement which was the sixth in franchise history. 

    He also scored the fourth-fastest goal in league history, and because we didn't have enough fun facts about Morales, he was also the second Argentine to record three goals in an MLS game. 

1. Bradley Wright-Phillips

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    Week 9 Ranking: 2

    Bradley Wright-Phillips continued his amazing start to the season with his second hat-trick of 2014 in New York's home defeat to Chicago.

    The Englishman scored twice from open play and once from the spot in the game that produced two of the three hat-tricks in Week 10. 

    With his stellar showing at Red Bull Arena, Wright-Phillips gained control of the Golden Boot race with nine goals. 

     

    All statistics obtained from MLSSoccer.com and WhoScored.com

    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90. 

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