MLS Player Power Rankings: Morales Grabs Top Spot Before Break

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2014

MLS Player Power Rankings: Morales Grabs Top Spot Before Break

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    During the final weekend of play in Major League Soccer before the World Cup break, certain individuals stood out despite the final result of their respective games. 

    One of those players was Javier Morales, who has been waiting patiently to take back the top spot in the MLS Player Power Rankings from Federico Higuain.

    Continue reading to see if Morales did enough to overtake Higuain to earn the title of best player in MLS. 

On the Way out

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    For the second straight week, only four players fell out of the top 20. This group of players dropped out not because they did bad on the pitch, but due to strong showings from others.

    Players Dropped out of Rankings: 

    Patrick Mullins (New England; Week 13 Ranking: 13)

    Jon Busch (San Jose; 17)

    Chad Marshall (Seattle; 19)

    Maximiliano Urruti (Portland; 20)

20. Ethan Finlay

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    Week 13 Ranking: Not Ranked

    Since being handed a start on May 24 against Chicago, Ethan Finlay has brought an added element to the Columbus attack. 

    The 23-year-old product of Creighton University scored his third goal of the season against Real Salt Lake Wednesday after coming off the bench. 

    In the scoreless draw with D.C. Saturday, Finlay made three key passes for an attack that was without an injured Federico Higuain. 

19. Erik Hurtado

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    Week 13 Ranking: Not Ranked 

    Another 23-year-old who has impressed over the last month for his club is Vancouver's Erik Hurtado, who has scored in each of his last four games. 

    Hurtado continued his scoring streak against Philadelphia on a wide-open header in the 18th minute. 

    He also recorded his second assist of the season on Nicolas Mezquida's 41st-minute strike. 

18. Pedro Morales

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    Week 13 Ranking: 15 

    A week after dominating the Timbers, Pedro Morales had an average performance by his standards in the 3-3 draw with the Union. 

    Morales fired three shots, two of which were on goal, but only recorded one key pass. He made the fourth-most touches of any Vancouver player with 54. 

17. Diego Valeri

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    Week 13 Ranking: Not Ranked

    After a slow start, Diego Valeri is playing a lot like the midfielder we saw in 2013. 

    The Argentinian playmaker has five assists in his last three games, including one in  Portland's 3-1 win on Saturday, to put himself in the league lead with eight heading into the World Cup break. 

16. Jermain Defoe

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    Week 13 Ranking: 18

    Jermain Defoe showed us Saturday how to correctly take a penalty. 

    Defoe drilled his 27th-minute penalty into the left corner past Jon Busch for his seventh goal in eight games for Toronto FC. 

    The former Tottenham player has four goals off of nine shots in his last four games. 

15. Erick Torres

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    Week 13 Ranking: 16

    Erick Torres got back on the scoresheet Sunday in the SuperClasico against the Galaxy with a 20th-minute strike assisted by Martin Rivero and Mauro Rosales. 

    Before recording a tally against his team's biggest rival, Torres had gone three games without scoring a goal. 

    The strike brought his season total up to nine, which is five more than the rest of his team has scored. 

14. Dillon Powers

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    Week 13 Ranking: 12

    Dillon Powers was once again active in the Colorado attack Saturday against FC Dallas with two key passes and an assist. 

    Powers also made the most touches of any Rapids player with 84, as he looked to spring a comeback at Toyota Stadium. 

     

13. Fanendo Adi

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    Week 13 Ranking: Not Ranked

    The highest debutant on this week's list is a young Nigerian who has handed the Timbers an extra punch up front. 

    Fanendo Adi bagged his second brace in three games against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.

    In the two games that Adi has started, Portland has won by a combined score of 5-1 over RSL and Chivas USA. 

12. Robbie Keane

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    Week 13 Ranking: 

    Robbie Keane did not play in L.A.'s final game before the World Cup break due to international duty.

    The Republic of Ireland international has scored seven goals and recorded three assists in 990 minutes of play this season. 

11. Fabian Espindola

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    Week 13 Ranking: 8

    Fabian Espindola has been the recipient of tons of praise in recent weeks, but he deserved a massive amount of criticism after the final whistle blew Saturday at FedEx Field. 

    Espindola's three-game scoring streak came to an end after he took a terrible penalty during the final minute of the scoreless draw with Columbus. 

     

10. Diego Fagundez

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    Week 13 Ranking: 14 

    A few days after graduating from high school, Diego Fagundez was a force on the left wing for the Revolution in their 2-0 loss to New York.

    Fagundez showed exactly why he has a bright future ahead of him with his run in the 44th minute that saw him sprint past a herd of defenders to fire a shot that rattled the left post. 

    Adding to his shot off the woodwork, the 19-year-old had five shots and two key passes in defeat. 

9. Osvaldo Alonso

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    Week 13 Ranking: 10

    Osvaldo Alonso had a terrific day in the middle of the park for the Sounders in their 3-2 road win over the Fire. 

    Alonso recorded a game-high 85 touches, completed 93 percent of his 73 passes and had six accurate long balls. 

    On the defensive end, Alonso had four tackles, two effective clearances and a blocked shot. 

8. Harry Shipp

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    Week 13 Ranking: 11

    Harry Shipp put his name back at the top of the Rookie of the Year race with two stellar goals against Seattle. 

    Shipp meticulously cut through a pair of defenders to score in the 41st minute before he drilled the top left corner in the 82nd minute. 

    He also made three key passes and completed 88 percent of 42 passes in the home loss by the Fire. 

7. Lee Nguyen

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    Week 13 Ranking: 7

    Lee Nguyen could not crack the top six for the second straight week despite his nine key passes and five shots. 

    Nguyen hasn't scored since May 17, but he has attempted 12 shots in his last four games for the Revolution. 

6. Bradley Wright-Phillips

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    Week 13 Ranking: 3

    Bradley Wright-Phillips had a less-than-stellar day in New York's 2-0 win Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

    The Englishman, who is tied for the league lead in goals with Dom Dwyer at 11, took just one shot, which was off target, and made only 24 touches. 

    Sunday marked the second time in eight games that Wright-Phillips failed to score. In the other game he didn't strike gold, he also had just one shot. 

5. Dom Dwyer

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    Week 13 Ranking: 6

    With Wright-Phillips having a bad week, Dom Dwyer tied up the Golden Boot race with a 70th-minute penalty against Houston. 

    Dwyer won eight aerial duels against a feisty Houston back line and attempted five shots in Sporting KC's 2-0 victory at BBVA Compass Stadium. 

4. Federico Higuain

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    Week 13 Ranking: 

    Federico Higuain's two-week reign at the top ended this week thanks to a bad penalty and an injury. 

    Higuain played just 44 minutes in two games for the Crew in Week 14 thanks to a hamstring injury that saw him exit the 1-1 draw with RSL 32 minutes after missing a penalty. 

     

3. Landon Donovan

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    Week 13 Ranking: 

    Heading into the World Cup break, Landon Donovan is hitting his stride for the Galaxy.

    Despite not scoring for the third straight week, Donovan did put together a performance that included four key passes, two shots and a pass accuracy of 85 percent. 

    To go along with his three goals and two assists this season, Donovan has averaged three key passes per game. 

2. Obafemi Martins

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    Week 13 Ranking: 5

    Obafemi Martins produced plenty of fireworks in his 42 minutes on the pitch for the Sounders  at Toyota Park.

    Martins scored a pair of goals seven minutes apart before being sent off for an apparent elbow on Benji Joya in the 42nd minute. 

    In the absence of Clint Dempsey, Martins has scored four times in four games for the league's best team. 

1. Javier Morales

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    Week 13 Ranking: 2

    In a week where Real Salt Lake scored just two goals, Javier Morales tried his best to hand the Claret and Cobalt a victory. 

    Morales made a total of six key passes, four of which came against Portland, had three shots and averaged 79 touches in the RSL midfield. 

    Morales has started all but one game in 2014 for RSL on his way to four goals and five assists. 

     

    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

    All statistics obtained from MLSSoccer.com and WhoScored.com