MLS Player Power Rankings: Keane, Morales Inch Closer to Top Spot

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 29, 2014

MLS Player Power Rankings: Keane, Morales Inch Closer to Top Spot

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    After a great week for the attacking players in Major League Soccer, the gap between Bradley Wright-Phillips and the rest of the top 20 players in the league grew smaller.

    Wright-Phillips and the Red Bulls had the week off, which meant players such as Robbie Keane and Javier Morales were able to gain ground on the Golden Boot leader in the MLS Player Power Rankings.

    Beneath the top three, a slew of players swapped positions after a week that saw a total of 31 goals scored across eight games.

    Continue reading on to see who landed where in the list of the top 20 players in MLS.

On the Way Out

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    Thanks to a ton of stars in attack in Week 20, the bottom three from last week's list were forced out.

    Players Dropped Out of Rankings:

    • Andres Escobar (FC Dallas, Previous Ranking: 18)
    • Perry Kitchen (D.C., 19)
    • Obafemi Martins (Seattle, 20)

20. Joao Plata

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    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Joao Plata continued his explosive month of July by attempting five shots in Real Salt Lake's 3-1 win over Montreal.

    Over his past four games, the little Ecuadorian has two goals, one assist and 11 shots, six of which have been on target.

19. Kyle Beckerman

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    Previous Ranking: 16

    Kyle Beckerman did not take as many shots as his teammates Thursday night, but he was effective in the middle of the park against the Impact.

    The United States international made 80 touches and completed 90 percent of his passes in his side's eighth win of the year.

18. Brad Davis

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    Previous Ranking: 12

    Brad Davis was not a part of the attacking barrage on MLS goals this week because the Dynamo were one of four teams to have a bye week.

    The 32-year-old did receive a boost during the off week, as DaMarcus Beasley and Luis Garrido joined Houston to provide the struggling team with reinforcements.

17. Graham Zusi

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    Previous Ranking: 17

    Graham Zusi found the back of the net for the first time since March 29 with his equalizer against Toronto in the 48th minute of Sporting Kansas City's 2-1 win.

    Zusi also made a team-high four key passes in the victory at BMO Field.

16. Chris Wondolowski

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    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    If anyone thought Chris Wondolowski's form would suffer after his miss against Belgium, those concerns are being pushed away by the San Jose forward after three games back with the Earthquakes.

    Wondolowski earned a goal and an assist in San Jose's blowout win over Chicago Wednesday night.

    Since returning from his first World Cup, Wondolowski has two goals and a total of 10 shots, as his team looks to find a way out of last place in the Western Conference.

15. Landon Donovan

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    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Maybe we were a bit harsh by knocking Landon Donovan off the list from the No. 9 spot last week.

    Donovan went off against the Sounders back four, who missed Chad Marshall dearly, by scoring his fourth goal of the season and earning his fifth assist.

    The MLS All-Star also completed 94 percent of his 50 passes in the 3-0 win.

14. Benny Feilhaber

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    Previous Ranking: 10

    In his 20th start of the season, Benny Feilhaber was once again active in the center of midfield for Sporting Kansas City.

    Two of the midfielder's five shots were on target, while he completed 83 percent of his 40 passes.

    Unlike his stellar showings in Week 19, Feilhaber did not record a goal, which would've extended his scoring streak to three games.

13. Osvaldo Alonso

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    Previous Ranking: 9

    Despite losing 3-0 to the Galaxy at home on national television, Osvaldo Alonso still put in a decent performance for the Sounders.

    The midfield linchpin completed 94 percent of his passes, and he had three accurate long balls.

    On defense, he made four interceptions against a relentless Galaxy front line.

12. Gyasi Zardes

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    Previous Ranking: 15

    Gyasi Zardes' stellar summer continued Monday night, as he scored his seventh goal of the season against the Sounders.

    To go along with his eighth-minute goal, Zardes won five aerial duels and put all three of his shots target.

    Despite his solid showing, Zardes could have done even better if he would have converted on one of his two shots in the 43rd minute.

11. Diego Valeri

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    Previous Ranking: 14

    For the second consecutive week, Diego Valeri scored the game-winning goal for the Portland Timbers.

    Valeri scored his fifth goal of the season in the 82nd minute of his side's 3-2 victory at Stade Saputo in Montreal.

    His two clutch goals have helped Portland move within three points of a playoff berth in the West.

10. Harry Shipp

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    Previous Ranking: 7

    In his 59 minutes on the pitch at Buck Shaw Stadium Wednesday night, Harry Shipp did not turn in a strong performance.

    Shipp made just 44 touches, which was the lowest amount by a Chicago starter in the 5-1 loss to San Jose.

9. Federico Higuain

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    Previous Ranking: 11

    After a few off-weeks in his return from injury, Federico Higuain delivered a standout game in attack for Columbus.

    Higuain's shining moment came in the 43rd minute, when he unleashed a terrific free-kick past Bobby Shuttleworth.

8. Jermain Defoe

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    Previous Ranking: 4

    The fourth-best scorer in MLS was absent from Toronto's 2-1 loss to Sporting KC due to a yellow-card suspension.

    Jermain Defoe, who picked up his fifth caution of the year as a substitute against Houston in Week 19, will be available for selection Saturday against Montreal.

7. Erick Torres

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    Previous Ranking: 2

    Erick Torres did not put a shot on target for the first time since May 17 in Chivas USA's loss to Colorado.

    In the 3-0 road loss, the scoring streak of six games that the Mexican brought into the game was snapped.

6. Thierry Henry

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    Previous Ranking: 6

    In his week off from league play, Thierry Henry took on his former club, Arsenal, in a friendly at Red Bull Arena.

    The league leader in assists was honored by both teams in a match that was won by the Red Bulls, 1-0.

5. Pedro Morales

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    Previous Ranking: 13

    Pedro Morales put up an absurd stat line in Vancouver's 2-2 draw with FC Dallas at BC Place.

    The Chilean made 110 touches and attempted 12 shots, five of which ended up on target.

    Morales also scored his seventh goal of the season from the spot to tie the game up at two goals apiece.

4. Dom Dwyer

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    Previous Ranking: 5

    Dom Dwyer may not have added to his goal tally Saturday night, but he did record his first assist of the season.

    Dwyer provided substitute Jacob Peterson with a pass in the 80th minute to set up the game-winning goal in Sporting KC's 11th win of the season.

3. Javier Morales

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Javier Morales was dominant in the Real Salt Lake attack against Montreal with two assists in the 3-1 win.

    Morales was able to deliver six key passes to go along with his six shots, two of which were on target.

    The designated player will have to replicate his performance against the Impact Wednesday night against the Red Bulls in a clash of two of the most talented sides in the league.

2. Robbie Keane

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    Previous Ranking: 3

    For the sixth straight time since the World Cup break ended, Robbie Keane attempted at least three shots.

    Keane took four shots, one of which was on target, in LA's 3-0 crushing of Seattle at CenturyLink Field.

    The Irishman added three key passes to his stat line, which was the most turned in by any player on the turf in Seattle.

1. Bradley Wright-Phillips

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Bradley Wright-Phillips did not have a chance to extend his scoring run in the league, but that did not stop him from finding the back of the net this weekend.

    The Golden Boot leader powered New York past Arsenal with a goal in the friendly at home.

    Wright-Phillips will face Real Salt Lake for the first time in his career Wednesday night in a crucial clash at Rio Tinto Stadium.

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    All statistics obtained from and