MLS Player Power Rankings After Matches from August 15-17

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2014

MLS Player Power Rankings After Matches from August 15-17

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    In a week where 29 goals were scored across Major League Soccer, some of the hottest players in the league found the back of the net. 

    Thanks to the tremendous efforts from Fabian Castillo, Gyasi Zardes and others, the race for the top spot in the MLS Player Power Rankings continued to heat up. 

    With Golden Boot leader Bradley Wright-Phillips on a bye week, the opportunity to seize the top spot on the list of the top-20 players grew for Zardes, Dom Dwyer and Robbie Keane. 

    Continue reading on to see if any of the on-fire players in MLS were able to knock Wright-Phillips off his throne. 

On the Way out

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    Thanks to the impressive attacking numbers in Week 23, three defenders and one forward saw their names taken off the list. 

    Players Dropped out of Rankings: 

    Robbie Rogers (LA; Previous Ranking: 16)

    Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia; 17)

    Chad Marshall (Seattle; 19)

    Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake; 20)

20. Matt Hedges

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    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    For the last few weeks, the FC Dallas attack has been in the spotlight, but the team's defense has also played well during the nine-game unbeaten run. 

    In the 5-0 win over San Jose, Matt Hedges put together yet another solid performance in the middle of the back four with seven effective clearances, four tackles and four blocked shots. 

    During the current unbeaten streak, Hedges and the FC Dallas defense have conceded eight goals. 

19. Will Bruin

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    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    It's about that time of year when Houston heats up in search of a playoff berth, and Will Bruin is helping that cause. 

    Bruin scored for the third time in four games Friday in the Dynamo's 2-0 win over Philadelphia that pulled them within three points of the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

18. Tesho Akindele

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    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked 

    Tesho Akindele bagged the fifth hat-trick in a FC Dallas league game Saturday against San Jose. 

    With his first goal, Akindele tied the FC Dallas rookie scoring record held by Aleksey Korol, but he went on to net two more to become the highest first-year scorer in franchise history. 

    The three goals from the Colorado School of Mines product pushed him into the lead in the Rookie of the Year race with Harry Shipp slumping as of late. 

17. Clint Dempsey

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    Previous Ranking: 13 

    Clint Dempsey extended his scoreless streak to four games after coming up short against Real Salt Lake. 

    In the four games since his ninth goal of the season, Dempsey has put six of his 19 shots on target. 

    After facing San Jose Wednesday, Dempsey will take on a Portland side Sunday that he has scored four goals against in 2014. 

16. Osvaldo Alonso

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    Previous Ranking: 12 

    In Seattle's 2-1 defeat to RSL, Osvaldo Alonso wasn't as active on the defensive front as he usually is. 

    The midfielder did have a solid day passing by completing 91 percent of his 55 passes, but he was responsible for the second RSL goal, as he let Luke Mulholland sneak past him to tap the ball past Stefan Frei. 

15. Graham Zusi

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    Previous Ranking: 15

    Graham Zusi recorded his fifth assist of the season in Sporting Kansas City's 4-1 win over Toronto in a crucial clash in the East. 

    The United States international led his team in touches with 73, and put together a pass accuracy of 83 percent, in his side's 12th win of 2014. 

14. Joao Plata

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    Previous Ranking: 18

    What we thought was a rarity became a reality for the second straight week, as Joao Plata scored with his head once again. 

    The 5'2" Ecuadorian nodded home the first RSL goal in the win over Seattle to boost his goal total to 11, which put him into fifth place in the Golden Boot race. 

    The 22-year-old now has five goals in his last seven games for the Western Conference leaders. 

13. Chris Wondolowski

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    Previous Ranking: 9

    For just the second time since his return from Brazil, Chris Wondolowski failed to put a single shot on target up front for the Earthquakes. 

    In the 5-0 loss to FC Dallas, the forward did take five shots, but none of them were able to challenge Raul Fernandez. 

    His biggest miss of the night came in the 45th minute, when he skied a penalty over the goal. 

12. Erick Torres

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    Previous Ranking: 14

    Erick Torres was unable to break the Chivas USA scoring drought, that now stands at 366 minutes, against Vancouver, but he was more active than he was in the last three games. 

    Torres recorded a season-high seven shots in the 0-0 draw at home against the Whitecaps, but only three of those shots ended up on target. 

     

11. Thierry Henry

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    Previous Ranking: 10 

    Thierry Henry had the week off to rest up for the stretch run of the season. 

    The league leader in assists should be able to record his first assist since July 16 against a weak Montreal defense Saturday. 

10. Diego Valeri

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    Previous Ranking: 6

    Diego Valeri was shut down by the New England defense in Portland's 1-1 road draw at Gillette Stadium.

    In the draw, Valeri's four-game scoring streak was ended. He will get a chance to get back on track Sunday against a Seattle side he scored against back in April at home. 

9. Landon Donovan

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    Previous Ranking: 11

    Landon Donovan has had plenty of success at Crew Stadium, but he failed to score for the first time in a regular-season game in Columbus in the Galaxy's 4-1 loss. 

    Donovan, who was honored for his contributions to the game, especially in Columbus, before the match, had a game-high four key passes. 

    In 19 games this season, Donovan has averaged 2.9 key passes per game. 

8. Fabian Castillo

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    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Fabian Castillo may not be a player in MLS for long if he continues the form he has been in recently. 

    The speedy winger caused all sorts of problems to the San Jose back four Saturday night, as he scored two goals and notched an assist. 

    In his last three games, the electric Colombian has three goals, two assists and seven shots on target. 

7. Pedro Morales

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    Previous Ranking: 4

    Pedro Morales made a brief cameo in Vancouver's scoreless draw with Chivas USA. 

    The Chilean entered the match in the 68th minute, and he had a solid chance on goal in the 80th minute, but his free-kick flew right into the arms of Dan Kennedy. 

6. Javier Morales

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    Previous Ranking: 2

    The other star with the surname Morales didn't play a part in his team's match this weekend due to a hip injury. 

    Javier Morales fell four spots this week because a few of the players in front of him on the list decided to light up the scoreboard in fine fashion. 

5. Federico Higuain

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    Previous Ranking: 5

    In the blowout win by Columbus over the Galaxy, Federico Higuain played a part in a goal for the fourth straight week. 

    After scoring in his last three games, Higuain was responsible for an assist on the fourth Crew goal scored by Giancarlo Gonzalez. 

    The designated player made 71 touches, and completed 91 percent of his 54 passes, in his side's seventh win of the season. 

4. Gyasi Zardes

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    Previous Ranking: 7

    The top American scorer in the league found his way into double digits with a laser of a strike in the 49th minute against Columbus. 

    Gyasi Zardes scored his seventh goal in seven games after he received a cross from Dan Gargan that forced him to slow down his run into the box. 

    If he continues to score at this rate, Zardes might earn a call from Jurgen Klinsmann for one of the upcoming United States friendly matches. 

3. Dom Dwyer

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    Previous Ranking: 8

    Dom Dwyer powered home from the spot on two occasions to move his goal total up to 16 on the season. 

    The Englishman's goals in the 18th and 33rd minutes helped put Sporting Kansas City on pace to beat Toronto FC, and earn the top spot in the Supporters' Shield standings. 

    Dwyer now sits two goals behind Bradley Wright-Phillips in the Golden Boot race. 

2. Robbie Keane

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    Previous Ranking: 3

    Despite falling by three goals to Columbus, Robbie Keane had a productive day in the LA attack. 

    Keane put two of his five shots on target, and dished out three key passes, in the Galaxy's fifth loss of the season. 

    The Irishman and his Galaxy teammates will look to get back on the winning track Saturday against Vancouver at home. 

1. Bradley Wright-Phillips

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    Previous Ranking: 

    Bradley Wright-Phillips remains on top of this list after his bye week, but his stranglehold on the No. 1 spot is being threatened by the red-hot scorers behind him in the top 20. 

    In his next game, the Golden Boot leader will face Montreal, who he failed to score against back on April 5. 

     

    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

    All statistics obtained from MLSSoccer.com and WhoScored.com