MLS Player Rankings: Adi Moves to Top, Maund, Meram Debut

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 19, 2016

MLS Player Rankings: Adi Moves to Top, Maund, Meram Debut

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    Choosing the top player in our latest Bleacher Report MLS Player Rankings was a difficult task.

    Each of the four attackers at the top of the chart has a valid argument to be in the No. 1 position following Week 7, but that doesn't mean just four players are thriving across MLS.

    For the third straight week, we had at least six new entrants into the list of the league's 20 best in-form players, including one defender who is surprising many with his early-season performances. 

    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 which 20 players landed in the latest MLS Player Rankings. 

On the Way Out

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    Godofredo Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    Extended injury absences and poor Week 7 performances cost these six players a spot on the list: 

    • Pedro Morales (Vancouver Whitecaps; previous ranking: 12) 
    • Mauro Diaz (FC Dallas; 13)
    • Tim Melia (Sporting Kansas City; 17) 
    • Fabian Espindola (D.C. United; 18) 
    • Nuno Andre Coelho (Sporting Kansas City; 19) 
    • Quincy Amarikwa (San Jose Earthquakes; 20) 

20. Will Bruin, FW, Houston Dynamo

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 11

    Will Bruin left the pitch on Friday night as part of a triple substitution by manager Owen Coyle in the Houston Dynamo's 4-1 loss to the LA Galaxy. 

    The 26-year-old had a match to forget, as he made 16 touches during his 56-minute shift and failed to take a single shot. 

    Bruin, who hasn't scored in his last three games, remains on the list this week because we weigh the last four showings from each player. But if he doesn't score in Week 8, he'll be out of the top 20. 

19. Cyle Larin, FW, Orlando City

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 10 

    Orlando City received some good news on Sunday when Cyle Larin came off the bench for the final 30 minutes of the 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution.

    Larin, who missed the club's Week 6 match with the Philadelphia Union due to an injury, didn't do much in the final third as he worked his way back to full fitness.

    The Canada international has a good chance of boosting his scoring total in Week 8, though, as the Lions face the struggling New York Red Bulls. 

18. Clint Irwin, GK, Toronto FC

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    Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Clint Irwin may just have two clean sheets in six matches, but he's done much more in between the pipes to keep Toronto FC in a lot of games. 

    The offseason acquisition from the Colorado Rapids has 24 saves in 2016, three of which came in the Reds' 1-0 win over D.C. United on Saturday. 

    The play of Irwin and the rest of the back four is a welcome sight to Toronto fans after years of defensive instability. 

17. Andreas Ivanschitz, AM, Seattle Sounders

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    Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Andreas Ivanschitz added two stellar assists to his 2016 tally on Saturday in the Seattle Sounders' 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union. 

    The pair of helpers allowed the Austrian to keep up his impressive form in the final third for Sigi Schmid's side. 

    Over the last four matches, the 32-year-old has tallied one goal and three assists. 

16. David Villa, FW, New York City FC

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    Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Despite coming out on the losing end of the final result at Mapfre Stadium on Saturday, David Villa produced one of his best performances of the early season.

    The Spanish forward scored in the 15th and 87th minutes for Patrick Vieira's side in the 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Columbus Crew. 

    The brace was the second of the season for the 35-year-old and the sixth since he joined MLS last year. 

15. Michael Barrios, RM, FC Dallas

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked 

    Michael Barrios was one of a few FC Dallas attackers who had fantastic weeks.

    Oscar Pareja's side blew out the Portland Timbers on Wednesday and returned home to beat Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. 

    The 24-year-old Barrios notched a tally in each of the wins to move his season total up to four. The Supporters' Shield and Western Conference leaders will look to extend their form into Week 8, when they take on Vancouver. 

14. Justin Meram, LM, Columbus Crew

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    Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked 

    The Crew busted out of their slump in fine fashion on Saturday thanks to the display put on by Justin Meram. 

    The Iraq international had a hand in all three of the strikes recorded by Gregg Berhalter's side in the five-goal affair against New York City FC. 

    Meram was all over the place in the final third for the second time in three weeks. In the 1-1 draw with FC Dallas, the 27-year-old was a menace but only had a goal to show for his solid play.

13. C.J. Sapong, FW, Philadelphia Union

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    Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 15

    After setting the tone for most of the year as a scorer, C.J. Sapong shifted into the role of provider for the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. 

    Sapong was one of two Union players to earn an assist on Sebastien Le Toux's 73rd-minute strike at CenturyLink Field. 

    Although the Union didn't complete the comeback against the Sounders, they were able to show the rest of the league they could hang with a tough opponent on the road. 

12. Osvaldo Alonso, CM, Seattle Sounders

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    Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 14

    Osvaldo Alonso is known as one of the best passers in the league, but he blew away his normal standards in Week 7. 

    The 30-year-old, who made the 200th appearance of his career, completed 98.6 percent of his 69 passes against Philadelphia. Alonso also contributed four tackles and three clearances in the 2-1 win. 

    Thanks to his stellar passing day, the midfielder moved his pass-success percentage for the season to 92.5 percent

11. Aaron Maund, CB, Real Salt Lake

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    Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    The highest entrant after Week 7 has come up with spectacular plays in front of his own net in the last two weeks. 

    Real Salt Lake center back Aaron Maund cleared a ball off the line for the second straight week in the club's 1-0 win over Vancouver.

    The 25-year-old is a part of a defensive unit that has conceded on six occasions in six matches. The play of the back four has helped RSL move up to second place in the Western Conference. 

10. Laurent Ciman, CB, Montreal Impact

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Laurent Ciman was a busy man in the middle of the Montreal Impact back four on Saturday. 

    The Belgian defender made 12 clearances while limiting the Chicago Fire to two shots on goal in the 2-1 win at Toyota Park. 

    The 30-year-old should have his hands full in Week 8, as he will square off against Sebastian Giovinco and Toronto FC. 

9. Diego Valeri, AM, Portland Timbers

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    Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Before he lost his cool and received a second yellow on Saturday, Diego Valeri put together a solid week for the Timbers. 

    The 29-year-old was the lone bright spot in Portland's 3-1 defeat on Wednesday to FC Dallas, as he contributed six shots and four key passes. 

    The Argentinian led Caleb Porter's side in touches on Saturday against San Jose with 70, and he was a part of the buildup to the team's second strike in the 3-1 victory. 

8. Andre Blake, GK, Philadelphia Union

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    Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Andre Blake came up with another massive save for the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, but he also positioned himself poorly on the eventual game-winner scored by Jordan Morris. 

    Blake left the near post open on the strike by the United States international and handed the Sounders a two-goal advantage at home. 

    The Jamaica international should face another big test in Week 8, as David Villa and New York City FC will come to Talen Energy Stadium. 

7. Dom Dwyer, FW, Sporting Kansas City

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    Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Dom Dwyer scored once in 123 minutes of action in Week 7. 

    The Englishman started his week strong on Wednesday, when he came off the bench to net Sporting Kansas City's lone goal in the 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rapids. 

    In Sunday's defeat to FC Dallas, Dwyer, the scorer of four goals in 2016, sent two of his four shots on target. 

    Dwyer has scored once in three matches against Week 8 opponent San Jose. 

6. Sebastian Giovinco, FW, Toronto FC

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    Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Sebastian Giovinco's climb up the Golden Boot standings continued on Saturday, as he pounced for an early opener against D.C. United. 

    However, that would be the only chance the Italian put on target at RFK Stadium. For the third consecutive week, the 2015 MLS MVP sent just one of his five attempts on goal. 

    Giovinco's production isn't suffering, as he has four goals and two assists in 2016, but he needs to do better with his chances in the final third. 

5. Kaka, AM, Orlando City

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 8

    We only have a small sample size to work with when judging Kaka, but he's been an absolute force in the Orlando City attack in his first three games of the season. 

    In addition to scoring his second tally of the year in the 2-2 draw with New England, the Brazilian handed out four key passes and put three shots on target.

    Through 260 minutes of play in 2016, the 33-year-old is averaging 3.7 shots and key passes per game. 

4. Ignacio Piatti, CAM, Montreal Impact

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    Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 2

    In any other week, Ignacio Piatti would've moved up one position and into the top spot of the top 20. 

    But due to the play of others above him in Week 7, Piatti falls two spots despite picking up a game-winner in Montreal's road win over Chicago. 

    The 31-year-old, who is averaging 3.3 key passes and 2.8 shots per contest, handed out four key passes in the match at Toyota Park. 

3. Chris Wondolowski, FW, San Jose Earthquakes

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    Godofredo Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Chris Wondolowski scored for the sixth time in seven games on Saturday in San Jose's defeat at Providence Park. 

    The United States international's late penalty moved him past Ante Razov into sole possession of fourth place on the MLS all-time scoring chart.

    The 33-year-old is only four goals away from his seventh consecutive double-digit goal season. 

2. Joao Plata, FW, Real Salt Lake

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    Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 1

    It was hard to take Joao Plata out of the No. 1 spot after Week 7, but the player directly in front of him forced our hand. 

    The Ecuadorian continued his high level of production in RSL's win over Vancouver at Rio Tinto Stadium, as he provided Juan Manuel Martinez with an assist in the 55th minute. 

    Plata, who has four goals and four assists, has contributed to a strike in each of RSL's six matches. 

1. Fanendo Adi, FW, Portland Timbers

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    Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 4

    No one can stop Fanendo Adi from scoring at the moment.

    The Portland forward bagged a brace off the bench on Saturday to move into a tie for first place in the Golden Boot race alongside Wondolowski. 

    In addition to scoring six tallies this season, the Nigerian has found the back of the net on 12 occasions in his last 12 regular-season games. If those numbers continue, some clubs in Europe may be asking about the 25-year-old. 

     

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

    All statistics obtained from MLSSoccer.com and WhoScored.com