MLS Player Power Rankings: Wright-Phillips Remains at Top After 18th Goal

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2014

MLS Player Power Rankings: Wright-Phillips Remains at Top After 18th Goal

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    The play in Major League Soccer this week delivered us with something we have become used to seeinga goal from Bradley Wright-Phillips.

    While players like Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes and Chris Wondolowski catch the headlines, the Golden Boot leader has gone about his business en route to a four-goal lead in the race to be 2014's top scorer. 

    As a surprise to no one, Wright-Phillips is once again on top of the MLS Player Power Rankings, but there was plenty of movement beneath him.

    Continue reading on to see who the potential challengers to Wright-Phillips are in the list of the league's top 20 players. 

On the Way out

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    Due to a high level of competition for the spots in the top 20, now that all the World Cup stars have returned, five players were forced out of this week's list.

     

    Players Dropped Out of Rankings: 

    Harry Shipp (Chicago; Previous Ranking: 10)

    Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City; 14)

    Brad Davis (Houston; 18)

    Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake; 19)

    Joao Plata (Real Salt Lake; 20)

20. Deshorn Brown

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    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Before he was hurt during the first half of Colorado's game against Portland on July 18, Deshorn Brown was close to breaking into the top 20.

    After sitting out two games, Brown returned with a bang in the Rapids' 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake. 

    Brown took seven shots, three of which were on target, in the defeat to his side's Rocky Mountain Cup rival. 

    His performance Saturday night moved him up to second in the league in shots (72) and fourth in shots on goal (26). 

19. Tesho Akindele

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    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Tesho Akindele was an unknown product when he was drafted with the sixth overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft out of the Colorado School of Mines. 

    At this point in the season, everyone knows who Akindele is thanks to his scoring exploits for FC Dallas. 

    The Canadian forward scored his third goal in four games Sunday night in the 1-0 win by Oscar Pareja's side over Chivas USA. 

18. Robbie Rogers

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    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    The most lopsided trade of 2013 is finally beginning to benefit the LA Galaxy, and in a major way, with Robbie Rogers holding down the left back position for Bruce Arena's side. 

    Since his move to the left flank at the start of June, Rogers has helped the Galaxy defense concede seven goals in his six starts. 

    If he and his defensive teammates continue to play at the high level they have over the last few weeks, the Galaxy could easily go deep in the playoffs. 

17. Nat Borchers

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    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Individual defensive performances are sometimes neglected by this list because of the great attackers in MLS, but not this week. 

    Nat Borchers is the second defender to enter the list after once again having a strong showing at center back for Real Salt Lake. 

    Borchers, who made his 21st start of the season Saturday, made 11 effective clearances and four tackles for a RSL side that played with 10 men for a half against Colorado. 

     

16. Graham Zusi

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    Previous Ranking: 17

    MLS All-Star Graham Zusi scored for the second consecutive week in Sporting KC's 1-1 draw with Philadelphia.

    Zusi also continued to deliver key passes to his teammates with two in the match at Sporting Park to help his season average of 3.2 remain high.

15. Clint Dempsey

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    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Despite Seattle's recent poor form in the results column, Clint Dempsey has done everything possible to put the ball in the back of the net. 

    For the third time this season, Dempsey took seven shots in Seattle's 1-0 defeat to San Jose. 

    Three of the shots were on target in the loss for the scorer of nine goals in 2014. 

14. Osvaldo Alonso

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    Previous Ranking: 13

    It is hard to keep Osvaldo Alonso so far down on this list, but there are a plethora of attackers hitting their stride at the moment. 

    While he may not be the scoring machine like others ahead of him on this list, Alonso continued his consistent season in the defensive part of the midfield for Seattle.

    In the defeat to San Jose, Alonso touched the ball 92 times, recorded a pass accuracy of 91 percent and had six tackles.

13. Chris Wondolowski

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    Previous Ranking: 16

    For the second straight game, Chris Wondolowski played the role of provider for the Earthquakes. 

    Wondolowski's second assist of the season came on a long pass to the feet of Yannick Djalo in the 42nd minute. 

    Ever since Wondolowski and Djalo have teamed up together up front, the Earthquakes have looked like a completely different team, which was needed from the former cellar dwellers of the Western Conference.

12. Jermain Defoe

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    Previous Ranking: 8

    Jermain Defoe's All-Star Game appearance was taken away from him this weekend after it was announced the forward has a groin strain that will keep out of play for two to three weeks, per Fox Soccer. 

    In the five games that the 31-year-old has missed this season, Toronto has won two and lost three. 

11. Landon Donovan

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    Previous Ranking: 15

    Landon Donovan may not have played a part in three goals this weekend, but he did contribute eight key passes and an assist in LA's 3-1 win over Portland. 

    Thanks to his dynamic performance on the left wing, the Galaxy moved within five points of first place in the West.

10. Gyasi Zardes

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    Previous Ranking: 12 

    Gyasi Zardes netted his eighth goal of the season in LA's win over Portland at the StubHub Center. 

    With his goal Saturday, Zardes now has seven goals in his last eight league games, a streak that has given the Galaxy an extra weapon up frontlike they actually needed another one. 

9. Diego Valeri

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    Previous Ranking: 11

    One of the few positives Portland took out of the loss to LA was the continuation of Diego Valeri's goalscoring form. 

    Valeri scored his fourth goal in five games in the 14th minute before things got ugly for Caleb Porter's side on the road. 

    The designated player will look to bring some of his scoring magic to Wednesday's All-Star Game against Bayern Munich, where he will be playing in front of his home crowd at Providence Park. 

8. Erick Torres

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    Previous Ranking: 7

    For the second game in a row, Erick Torres failed to fire a single shot on goal for a Chivas USA side that suddenly can't earn a point. 

    During the three-game losing streak that the Goats are currently on, Torres has just one shot on goal against D.C., Colorado and FC Dallas. 

7. Pedro Morales

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    Previous Ranking: 

    Three days after his stellar performance against FC Dallas, Pedro Morales was back on the pitch for a Wednesday clash with Chicago. 

    Morales put together a rather pedestrian game by his standards with four shots and two key passes. 

    Luckily for the Chilean playmaker, he had the weekend off to rest up for the Whitecaps' clash with Sporting KC Sunday night. 

6. Federico Higuain

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    Previous Ranking: 9

    Federico Higuain once again had his scoring boots on when he took to the pitch for Columbus Saturday night. 

    The Argentinian designated player scored for the second straight week in his side's 1-1 draw with the Fire. 

    He will look to extend that streak to three games in the Trillium Cup matchup with Toronto in Week 22. 

5. Thierry Henry

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    Previous Ranking: 6

    The league leader in assists did not add to his total of 10, but he did play a role up front in New York's 2-1 win over New England. 

    Thierry Henry made four key passes in the come-from-behind victory at Red Bull Arena to move his season total up to 2.5 key passes per game. 

4. Dom Dwyer

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    Previous Ranking: 4

    Dom Dwyer finally earned a spot on the MLS All-Star Game roster this weekend, which was a decision that was made two weeks too late by the league. 

    Before he got the call to head to Portland for Wednesday's clash with Bayern Munich, Dwyer played in Sporting KC's 1-1 home draw and attempted four shots. 

3. Javier Morales

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    Previous Ranking: 3

    Almost a month after scoring his last goal, Javier Morales netted his sixth strike of the season in RSL's win over Colorado that clinched the Rocky Mountain Cup. 

    Morales benefited from a Chris Wingert hustle play to beat Clint Irwin in the early stages of the game at Rio Tinto Stadium.

2. Robbie Keane

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    Previous Ranking: 2

    Robbie Keane tortured yet another opposing defense Saturday with two goals against the Timbers.

    In his last four games, Keane has scored on five occasions, and he has been hungry around the goal with nine of his 15 shots during that span being on goal.

    The next defense that Keane will look to take down is San Jose, a team he has failed to score against in his last two games, including the June 28 clash that saw him record an assist.

1. Bradley Wright-Phillips

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    Previous Ranking: 1

    At this rate, you could cover the entire goal with a brick wall, and Bradley Wright-Phillips would still find a way to score.

    The Golden Boot leader extended his season total to 18 with the game-winner against New England Saturday night at Red Bull Arena.

    In just 21 games, Wright-Phillips has brought himself within nine goals of the single-season scoring record.

     

    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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