MLS Superstar Power Rankings
With a shortened schedule of seven games in Major League Soccer this weekend, determining who should sit on top of the inaugural superstar power rankings was quite an easy decision.
Five teams were idle this weekend due to the involvement of Seattle and Los Angeles in the CONCACAF Champions League. Those two teams combined have five designated players on their rosters.
For the players who did make their way onto the field, there were a few standout performances by the league's best talent.
Continue reading to find out who topped the first edition of the weekly MLS superstar power rankings.
The criteria for the designated players to make this list includes their performance in the week's action combined with their overall season performance. The performance by the designated player in the current week does weigh more on this list.
This week, eight designated players on five respective teams were off, while Boniek Garcia (Houston) and Kenny Miller (Vancouver) were halted by injuries. The full list of injuries for all 19 teams is linked right here (via MLSSoccer.com).
With the lack of games on the schedule, a few players made the top 10 without even stepping onto the field.
10. Javier Morales: Real Salt Lake
Javier Morales entered Real Salt Lake's Rocky Mountain Cup showdown with Colorado at halftime on Saturday to try to provide an extra spark on offense.
Morales tried to do just that for RSL, but he was able to send the final perfect pass into the penalty area for the likes of Alvaro Saborio and Olmes Garcia.
Morales was able to get one shot off on Saturday, but it was off target.
9. Diego Valeri: Portland Timbers
Before taking an unfortunate elbow to the head midway through the first half against Houston, Diego Valeri was having a productive game for the Timbers.
The 26-year-old midfielder produced a shot on goal in his 29 minutes on the field, and it is highly likely that his production levels would have increased had he not been forced off with a head injury.
No further updates have been given on the status of Valeri for next Sunday's home clash with San Jose.
8. Marco Di Vaio: Montreal Impact
Despite being off this weekend, Marco Di Vaio earns a spot in the top 10 because of his performance during the month of March.
The Italian forward helped Montreal go undefeated in their first four matches by scoring twice and producing 11 shots on goal.
With other powerful forwards like Claudio Bieler and Chris Wondolowski above him on the list this week, Di Vaio will have to impress against Columbus on Saturday to vault himself back toward the No. 1 spot.
7. Thierry Henry: New York Red Bulls
Going into Sunday's game against Chicago, Thierry Henry has scored just one goal this season, but that goal was a thrilling one.
Henry came off the bench against Philadelphia last weekend to deliver a game-winner for the Red Bulls in the 81st minute.
The former Arsenal and Barcelona forward is still recovering from an MCL sprain, but if all goes well, he should be in the starting 11 for New York on Sunday.
6. Federico Higuain: Columbus Crew
Higuain lined up in the Crew's 4-4-2 formation alongside Dominic Oduro on Saturday, but he was not the forward that equalized for Columbus in the 72nd minute.
The Argentinian playmaker took a backseat to his forward partner's talents against the Union as he failed to manage a single attempt on goal.
Saturday's game marked just the second time this season that the older brother of Real Madrid's Gonzalo Higuain failed to make an attempt on goal.
5. David Ferreira: FC Dallas
The MLS co-leader in assists could not pick a perfect pass for any of his teammates against Toronto FC on Saturday.
Ferreira did play a full 90 minutes in the FC Dallas midfield, but he did not contribute to either of his team's two goals, both of which came about after set pieces.
4. Diego Chara: Portland Timbers
The Portland Timbers put together one of their most impressive performances in team history against Houston on Saturday night, and Diego Chara was one of the many cogs in the Timbers' machine that was working to perfection.
With fellow designated player Diego Valeri out injured, Chara stepped into the role of midfield provider as he sent in a cross from the right wing that was finished by Ryan Johnson in the 55th minute.
The assist by Chara on the Johnson goal was just a part of the attacking onslaught that the Timbers delivered to Houston at Jeld-Wen Field.
3. Alvaro Saborio: Real Salt Lake
Despite not recording a goal in the second edition of the Rocky Mountain Cup on Saturday, Saborio was active in front of the Colorado goal for most of the match.
The Costa Rican forward was able to get off six shots against the Rapids, two of which were sent on goal.
Saborio's best chance may have been his last, as his header was sent just wide to the right of net as RSL fell short in search of an equalizer on the road.
2. Chris Wondolowski: San Jose Earthquakes
Chris Wondolowski was reunited with his partner in crime, Alan Gordon, in the San Jose starting 11 on Saturday night.
In the 18th minute, Wondolowski combined with Gordon for the opening goal in the Earthquakes' game against Vancouver.
For the rest of the game, Wondo kept searching for his fourth goal of the season but was unable to finish the remainder of his chances on goal.
As a result of his second-half misfortune, San Jose could only muster a draw at home against the Whitecaps.
1. Claudio Bieler: Sporting Kansas City
Claudio Bieler continued to take MLS by storm on Friday night with his late game-winning goal against D.C. United.
The Argentinian was the beneficiary of a beautiful assist by Soony Saad as he finished off D.C. in the 89th minute.
The goal moved Bieler into a tie for second place in the goal category alongside Robert Earnshaw with four. The two trail Los Angeles midfielder Mike Magee by one in the early chase for the Golden Boot.
Who do you think should be on top of the MLS Superstar Power Rankings?
Comment below or leave me a comment on Twitter, @JTansey90.