MLS Player Rankings: Plata Remains on Top, Kaka Surges Up List After Week 5

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 5, 2016

MLS Player Rankings: Plata Remains on Top, Kaka Surges Up List After Week 5

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    The fifth week of play in Major League Soccer wasn't an attacking showcase like the month of March, but there were a few standout showings in the final third. 

    The top performance of the weekend came from Kaka, who marveled in front of goal in his season debut for Orlando City. 

    As for the players near the top of our MLS Player Rankings, only Joao Plata produced a solid effort in Week 5. Some of the stars near the top of the list were ravaged by injuries. 

    Our player rankings take into account the last four games individuals participated in, with the most recent match holding the most importance. 

    Continue reading to see who landed where in our list of the 20 best in-form players in MLS. 

     

On the Way out

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    Injuries, a few drop-offs in form and a bye week cost these six players their spots on the list.

     

    Players Dropped out of Rankings (Team; Previous Ranking)

    David Accam (Chicago Fire; 13) 

    Mix Diskerud (New York City FC; 14) 

    Tim Melia (Sporting Kansas City; 17)

    Dominic Oduro (Montreal Impact; 18) 

    Mike Magee (LA Galaxy; 19)

    Juan Manuel Martinez (Real Salt Lake; 20) 

20. Thomas McNamara, CM, New York City FC

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    Michael Stewart/Getty Images

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Thomas McNamara barely stays on the list this week after New York City FC had off during Week 5. 

    McNamara scored for NYCFC in their Week 4 draw with the New England Revolution to move his season totals to two goals and one assist. 

    The 25-year-old will be back on the pitch in Week 6 against Chicago at Yankee Stadium. 

19. Michael Barrios, FW, FC Dallas

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Michael Barrios was unable to replicate his two-goal performance from Week 4 on Saturday against the Columbus Crew. 

    The Colombian attacker attempted four shots, but only one of them found the target in FC Dallas' 1-1 draw with the Crew. 

    The 24-year-old will look to get back on the scoreboard against San Jose in Week 6. 

18. Cristian Higuita, CDM, Orlando City

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    Alex Menendez/Getty Images

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    One of the most underrated midfielders in the league produced a strong shift in Orlando City's 4-1 thumping of Portland on Sunday. 

    Cristian Higuita recorded five tackles and two interceptions against the dangerous Portland Timbers attack that failed to show life for parts of the contest at the Citrus Bowl. 

    After five weeks of play, Higuita leads MLS in tackles per game with 7.3.

17. Marco Pappa, RM, Colorado Rapids

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked 

    Marco Pappa has been an integral part of the Colorado Rapids' three-game unbeaten run. 

    The offseason acquisition from the Seattle Sounders handed out his second assist of the season on Luis Solignac's first-half goal in the Rapids' surprising 1-0 home win over Toronto FC.

    The Guatemala international has played a role in each of the last three strikes the Rapids have scored during their early-season run of form. 

16. David Ousted, GK, Vancouver Whitecaps

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    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Vancouver Whitecaps netminder David Ousted picked up his second clean sheet in a row on Saturday at BC Place against the LA Galaxy.

    The Danish goalkeeper made four saves in the scoreless draw at home, including an impressive denial of a Gyasi Zardes shot in the second half. 

    In addition to his pair of shutouts, Ousted has let in one goal over his last three matches. 

15. Osvaldo Alonso, CDM, Seattle Sounders

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    Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Seattle's rock in front of the back four impressed throughout the club's 1-0 win over Montreal with his presence on the ball. 

    Osvaldo Alonso completed 93 percent of his 71 passes and made nine tackles in Seattle's first win of the season. 

    The 30-year-old owns the highest pass-success rate in the league among players who have started at least three games. He is also fifth in MLS in tackles per contest. 

14. Andrew Wenger, RM, Houston Dynamo

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Previous Ranking: 11

    We can't fault Andrew Wenger for not impressing us in Week 5, since the Houston Dynamo did not play. 

    The owner of two goals and two assists in 2016 is in trouble of falling off this list if he fails to contribute to a strike in Week 6 against Seattle. 

    Wenger has one tally in four career clashes with the Sounders.

13. Maximiliano Urruti, FW, FC Dallas

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    Ralph Lauer/Associated Press

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Maximiliano Urruti's scoring streak ended at two matches in Week 5, but he certainly tried to find a way past the Columbus defense. 

    The 25-year-old former Portland player took four shots and handed out four key passes at Toyota Stadium on Saturday night. 

    Urruti should receive his first career start against San Jose in Week 6. He previously made five substitute appearances vs. the San Jose Earthquakes for the Timbers. 

12. Fanendo Adi, FW, Portland Timbers

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    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Sunday was not the best day for Fanendo Adi, or many of the Portland players. 

    The Nigerian forward unsuccessfully attempted to get his team back in the game against Orlando as he missed a penalty down two goals at the Citrus Bowl. 

    Adi will look to rebound in Week 6 against the LA Galaxy in the final match of the weekend slate. 

11. Sebastian Giovinco, FW, Toronto FC

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Few people expected Sebastian Giovinco to struggle at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Saturday. 

    A solid performance from the Rapids defense and an early red card against the Reds kept the Atomic Ant quiet in front of the net. 

    The Italian concluded the match with just one shot on target and 43 touches against a side he dominated at BMO Field in 2015. 

10. Diego Valeri, AM, Portland Timbers

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    Troy Wayrynen/Associated Press

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    If the rest of the Portland attack put in an effort like Diego Valeri did on Sunday, the Timbers may have left central Florida with a better result. 

    The Argentinian playmaker was active from the start as he took eight shots in the 4-1 defeat. Valeri was finally rewarded for his effort late in the second half as he picked up an assist on Jack McInerney's 89th-minute tally. 

    The assist was the first in five regular-season games for the 29-year-old, who leads the league with 5.5 key passes per match. 

9. Andre Blake, GK, Philadelphia Union

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    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Andre Blake and the Philadelphia Union fell victim to a red card on Saturday in their 1-0 loss to Chicago.

    Due to the Union's dominance in possession and chances before Warren Creavalle's red card, Blake only made one save in the defeat at Toyota Park. 

    The 25-year-old, who has 17 saves in 2016, is expected to be busy in between the pipes on Friday, when Orlando City visit Talen Energy Stadium. 

8. Kaka, AM, Orlando City

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    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked 

    Kaka couldn't have asked for a better season debut on Sunday night in front of a national audience. 

    The Brazilian superstar scored once and dished out a pair of assists in Orlando's blowout win over the 2015 MLS Cup champions. 

    The last two times the 33-year-old has found his way onto the scoresheet, he has played a role in a trio of strikes. He had three assists on September 25, 2015. 

7. Pedro Morales, CM, Vancouver Whitecaps

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    Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Pedro Morales could not add to his lead atop the Golden Boot standings on Saturday as he left Vancouver's draw with the Galaxy in the 18th minute.

    The Chilean, who has netted all four of his strikes in 2016 from the spot, left the contest with a left hip strain, per the club's official Twitter account.

    If he recovers from his knock in time for Saturday's trip to RFK Stadium, Morales will look to score for the second straight time against D.C. United. 

6. Will Bruin, FW, Houston Dynamo

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Will Bruin failed to regain a higher position on the list this week due to Houston's Week 5 bye. 

    The scorer of three goals in four games this season will look to net his second tally of the year at home in Week 6 against Seattle. 

    Bruin's last strike against Seattle came on August 17, 2013, in a 3-1 Dynamo win. 

5. Chris Wondolowski, FW, San Jose Earthquakes

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    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Chris Wondolowski and the rest of the San Jose attack could've struck their chances better in the 1-1 draw at Avaya Stadium with D.C. on Saturday. 

    The United States international's best scoring opportunity came in second-half stoppage time, but D.C.'s Travis Worra denied his attempt at a game-winner. 

    Despite failing to extend his scoring streak to four matches, Wondolowski did enough to move up a spot over the vacant Bruin. 

4. Mauro Diaz, AM, FC Dallas

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    Brad Loper/Associated Press

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Mauro Diaz was absent from the FC Dallas starting lineup for Saturday's clash with the Columbus Crew. 

    The diminutive Argentinian failed to pass a pregame fitness test, per FC Dallas announcer Mark Followill. 

    Without Diaz on the pitch, FC Dallas lacked creativity and failed to find separation from the Crew in the 1-1 draw at Toyota Stadium. 

3. Cyle Larin, FW, Orlando City

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    Alex Menendez/Getty Images

    Previous Ranking: 2

    Cyle Larin was also bitten by the injury bug in Week 5 as he left Orlando's match on Sunday with a minor knock in his hamstring, per Mike Gramajo of the Orlando Sentinel. 

    In his 24 minutes on the pitch, the Canada international failed to make a mark on the Lions attack, as he did not attempt a single shot. 

    Orlando's quick turnaround from Sunday to Friday may hurt Larin's chances of gaining full fitness before the team travels to Philadelphia. 

2. Ignacio Piatti, CAM, Montreal Impact

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Ignacio Piatti may not have done anything spectacular in Week 5, but at least he played a significant amount of time on Saturday. 

    The 31-year-old midfielder handed out five key passes in Montreal's second consecutive defeat of the season. 

    The Argentinian and the rest of the Montreal squad will look to get back on track at home in Week 6 against Columbus. 

1. Joao Plata, FW, Real Salt Lake

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    Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Joao Plata's tremendous start to 2016 continued on Saturday in Real Salt Lake's 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City. 

    The Ecuador international produced his third assist of the young season on RSL's opener, as his free-kick found the head of center back Justen Glad. 

    With his handout at Children's Mercy Park, Plata became the first player in MLS to contribute to six goals this season. 

     

    Joe Tansey covers MLS for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90.

    All statistics obtained from MLSSoccer.com and WhoScored.com