MLS Player Power Rankings: Keane, Feilhaber Make Big Jumps After Week 19
For most of the season, the focus of the Major League Soccer Player Power Rankings has been on the players at the top, but it was two players in the middle of the pack from last week that made an impact on the list after Week 19.
Robbie Keane and Benny Feilhaber were the two standout performers from the week's set of games, which led to major jumps for both players on a list that is becoming more difficult to break into by the week.
Continue reading on to see which players were good enough to join Keane and Feilhaber in the MLS Player Power Rankings.
On the Way out
Due to ineffectiveness, and some standout showings over the past few weeks, three players were dropped from the top 20.
Players Dropped out of Rankings:
Landon Donovan (L.A.; Previous Ranking: 9)
Conor Casey (Philadelphia; 16)
Dillon Powers (Colorado; 20)
20. Obafemi Martins
Previous Ranking: 15
The scorer of eight goals in 2014 did not feature in league play this week because of Seattle's friendly with Tottenham.
With a major Monday night clash coming up with L.A. in Week 20, expect Obafemi Martins to play close to the full 90 minutes.
19. Perry Kitchen
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
It's going to be very hard for Jurgen Klinsmann to leave Perry Kitchen out of his plans if the D.C. United midfielder keeps his solid run of form going.
Kitchen, who was a beneficiary of an Eddie Johnson assist in the 59th minute against Chivas USA, has been a reliable force in the middle of the park for the first-place team in the Eastern Conference all season.
18. Andres Escobar
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
Andres Escobar was a complete menace on the left wing to the New England defense Saturday night at Toyota Stadium.
In his fifth start of the season, the 23-year-old Colombian scored the opener for FC Dallas on one of his four shots on goal.
Escobar also made four key passes and recorded a pass accuracy of 93 percent in the 2-0 win.
17. Graham Zusi
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
In his first game as a designated player for Sporting Kansas City, Graham Zusi dominated the attack with seven key passes.
With 12 games under his belt in 2014, Zusi has averaged 3.3 key passes per game, which is second best in the league behind Javier Morales.
16. Kyle Beckerman
Previous Ranking: 19
One of the players in MLS who is most deserving of a raise right now is Kyle Beckerman, who once again proved his worth in Real Salt Lake's 1-1 draw with Vancouver.
With his side down a goal late in the match, Beckerman found an open Joao Plata for his third assist of the season.
The first two assists of the year for the United States international came back in March, but we shouldn't have to wait that long for his next assist, based on his offensive contributions since returning from Brazil.
15. Gyasi Zardes
Previous Ranking: 14
Every once in a while, we can excuse a forward for having a bad game, which is what Gyasi Zardes had against Sporting KC.
Zardes, who has scored five goals in his last six games, took a backseat to the Robbie Keane show, which he benefited from earlier in the week against New England.
14. Diego Valeri
Previous Ranking: 18
It was only right that the home turnaround by the Timbers was heavily influenced by Diego Valeri.
Valeri scored the game-winning goal of the 2-1 win at Providence Park in the 77th minute with a strike from outside the box, and he made 87 touches, which was 14 more than the next attacker on the team's list.
13. Pedro Morales
Previous Ranking: 11
The three-game assist streak of Pedro Morales came to an end Saturday only because he played just 12 minutes against RSL at Rio Tinto Stadium.
During his 12 minutes on the pitch in place of Sebastian Fernandez, the Chilean did fire two shots that were off target.
12. Brad Davis
11. Federico Higuain
Previous Ranking: 12
In his 89 minutes of play at Columbus Crew Stadium Saturday night, Federico Higuain played a big part in the Crew's 2-1 win over Montreal.
The Argentinian midfield maestro had four key passes to go along with his three shots and 79 touches.
10. Benny Feilhaber
Previous Ranking: 17
There was no stopping Benny Feilhaber in Week 19, as the Sporting KC midfielder put on a show against L.A. and Columbus.
Three days after recording a goal and an assist against the Crew, Feilhaber delivered an impressive free-kick goal in the 10th minute of his side's 2-1 win over the Galaxy.
Feilhaber, who has been a force in midfield all season for Peter Vermes' side, could be in line for a return to the United States national team if he continues to play like he has.
9. Osvaldo Alonso
Previous Ranking: 10
Osvaldo Alonso was another MLS player that struck a beautiful goal this weekend, but he did so in Seattle's friendly with Tottenham.
Heading into the Monday night clash with L.A., Alonso is the league leader in pass accuracy at 90.5 percent.
8. Javier Morales
Previous Ranking: 5
Javier Morales was not as effective as he usually is for Real Salt Lake in the 1-1 draw with Vancouver.
His touch count was also down, as he made contact with the ball only 57 times.
7. Harry Shipp
Previous Ranking: 7
Harry Shipp provided the Fire with his first assist since his breakout game on May 10 against New York on Jeff Larentowicz's 60th-minute strike at Toyota Park.
The rookie out of Notre Dame moved his assist total up to five when his corner found the head of Larentowicz in Chicago's league-leading 11th draw of the season.
6. Thierry Henry
Previous Ranking: 8
If it wasn't for a goal line clearance by San Jose's Jason Hernandez, Thierry Henry would have 11 assists to his name entering Week 20.
Henry delivered Bradley Wright-Phillips with a sublime pass in the box in the 31st minute of New York's 1-1 draw with San Jose, but the shot from the top scorer in the league was headed off the line by the Earthquakes defender.
In the draw, Henry made a total of four key passes, and he completed 94 percent of his 34 attempted passes.
5. Dom Dwyer
Previous Ranking: 4
Dom Dwyer came up dry in his two games in Week 19, and, to make matters worse, he only had one shot on target in 180 minutes of play.
The scorer of 14 goals this season will look to break his short dry spell against Toronto on Saturday night.
4. Jermain Defoe
Previous Ranking: 3
For the first time since April 19, Jermain Defoe did not start for Toronto FC.
Despite not finding a spot in the starting 11, the Englishman did play 27 minutes as a substitute against Houston, and he took one shot during that time.
3. Robbie Keane
Previous Ranking: 6
After supplying the Galaxy with two goals and two assists on Wednesday night, Robbie Keane produced the club's lone goal in their loss to Sporting KC.
Keane struck his 10th goal of the season into the back of the net in the 79th minute, as he tried to spur a late comeback by the Galaxy.
2. Erick Torres
Previous Ranking: 2
The good news for Erick Torres this week was that he scored his 14th goal of the season and was named to the MLS All-Star team.
The bad news for the young Mexican was that his goal came in the late stages of Chivas USA's 3-1 loss to D.C., which ended the four-game win streak put together by the Goats.
1. Bradley Wright-Phillips
Previous Ranking: 1
Eventually Bradley Wright-Phillips is going to stop scoring, right?
The Red Bulls forward powered home his 17th goal of the season from the spot in the 33rd minute against San Jose Saturday night at Red Bull Arena to move within 10 goals of the single-season scoring record.
The 29-year-old has scored in all but two games since his hat-trick against Houston on April 23, a stretch that has seen him score on 16 occasions.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.