MLS Player Power Rankings After Matches from October 8-12
Following a week in which the stars of Major League Soccer were scoring left and right, some of the top players in the league were not heard from much in Week 31.
Due to plenty of players out on international duty, suspensions and a few shocking results, the stars of the league were silent in a week where some of the unsung heroes of MLS stole the spotlight.
Only a few of the players in the MLS Player Power Rankings made massive contributions to their respective sides, which is why we have a few big leaps in positioning this week.
Continue reading for a look at who the 20 best players are in MLS after 31 weeks of play.
On the Way out
Two players fell out of the list this week because of international duty and a quiet performance at home.
Players Dropped out of Rankings:
Lamar Neagle (Seattle; Previous Ranking: 18)
Omar Gonzalez (LA; 19)
20. Matt Hedges
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
Matt Hedges' case for a spot on the United States men's national team roster in the near future grew Sunday after his dominant showing against the Galaxy.
The FC Dallas center-back held the LA attack, which was without Robbie Keane, to a minimal threat all night in the 2-1 victory at Toyota Stadium.
With the victory, Hedges and his FC Dallas teammates clinched a spot in the playoffs.
19. Graham Zusi
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
Everything went well for Graham Zusi Friday night, except for his failed goal celebration.
Bad knee slide aside, Zusi had a terrific night for Sporting Kansas City, as he scored the opening goal and assisted on Dom Dwyer's late strike.
Zusi, who will be available for selection Tuesday for the United States, has five goals and eight assists this season.
18. Matias Laba
Previous Ranking: 20
In Vancouver's shocking 1-0 win over Seattle, Matias Laba was once again effective in the middle of the park for the fifth-place team in the Western Conference.
Laba made six interceptions and four tackles in the victory at CenturyLink Field, which clinched Vancouver's second consecutive Cascadia Cup title.
17. Osvaldo Alonso
Previous Ranking: 17
Nothing to see here, just another strong day in midfield for Osvaldo Alonso despite a Seattle loss.
Alonso recorded a team-high in touches (112) and tackles (six) in the Sounders' 10th loss of the season.
His biggest test of the season will come over the next two weeks, as he will have to take on the dangerous Galaxy attack twice in a six-day span.
16. Federico Higuain
Previous Ranking: 13
Federico Higuain must have enjoyed Columbus' three-goal comeback at PPL Park from the sidelines during his one-game suspension.
The Argentinian will return to the Crew lineup with fresh legs for the clashes against New York and Philadelphia, as his side looks to lock up a playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
In three games against those two sides this season, Higuain has failed to produce a goal.
15. Joao Plata
Previous Ranking: 14
Joao Plata did not feature in Real Salt Lake's victory over San Jose because of international responsibilities.
Plata did play 45 minutes for Ecuador in Friday's draw with the United States at Rentschler Field.
The 22-year-old will return to the Claret and Cobalt for Friday's clash against a Portland side who he has not scored against in 81 minutes this season.
14. Jermaine Jones
Previous Ranking: 15
All we really want to talk about regarding Jermaine Jones is his possible appearance at center-back for the United States Tuesday night, but he did play for New England this past weekend.
Jones played a solid game in the defensive half of midfield for the Revolution, but he did leave us questioning one play in particular.
Montreal's Hassoun Camara was able to fool Jones on one play on the right sideline, but it also looked like the United States international gave up on the play as well.
13. Michael Bradley
Previous Ranking: 16
If there is one thing we can take away from Toronto's season, it is that Michael Bradley deserves better.
Bradley, who recorded the fifth-most touches in a game Wednesday against Houston, once again put in a tremendous work rate in a Toronto loss Saturday at Red Bull Arena.
Despite playing well individually, Bradley will be under criticism for not making every single player around him better in each minute he has played for Toronto.
12. Chris Wondolowski
Previous Ranking: 10
Although he might not admit it, Chris Wondolowski probably enjoyed being away from the San Jose Earthquakes this week.
The Earthquakes lost 2-0 to Real Salt Lake without Wondolowski in the lineup, and to be honest, they may not have won with him in the squad because of their awful defense.
11. Javier Morales
Previous Ranking: 8
Real Salt Lake received plenty of production from the attacking midfield position in Week 31, but it was not from Javier Morales.
Morales, who was suspended due to yellow-card accumulation, looked on as Sebastian Velasquez played a terrific game for Jeff Cassar's side.
With two games left in the regular season, Morales needs one goal to reach double digits in goals and assists for the first time in his career.
10. Thierry Henry
9. Diego Valeri
Previous Ranking: 12
Diego Valeri had the weekend off, as the Timbers rested up for the final two games of the season.
In Portland's Wednesday match, Valeri scored on two occasions against the aforementioned weak San Jose back four.
The two goals helped Valeri become the sixth player this season to record over 10 goals and assists.
8. Lee Nguyen
Previous Ranking: 11
Lee Nguyen played a key role in one of the wackiest goals you will see all season Saturday, as his attempted chip in the 69th minute took a ridiculous deflection.
The equalizing goal of New England's 2-2 draw with Montreal was the 15th of the season for the player, who should receive a few votes in the Most Valuable Player balloting.
7. Gyasi Zardes
Previous Ranking: 6
Without Robbie Keane in the lineup, Gyasi Zardes had a chance to take charge of the LA attack, but he only mustered one shot on goal against FC Dallas.
Zardes has cooled down as of late with one goal in his last five games after he put together five goals in a three-game span.
6. Dom Dwyer
Previous Ranking: 7
Dom Dwyer's Friday night got off to a bad start with an awful penalty miss in the 12th minute against Chicago, but he made up for it later in the match.
Dwyer rose above the defense to connect with a Zusi cross to extend Sporting Kansas City's lead to two goals in second-half stoppage-time.
The Englishman has 21 goals entering the final two matches of the season before he will look to lead Peter Vermes' side to a repeat as MLS Cup champion.
5. Obafemi Martins
Previous Ranking: 5
Maybe Obafemi Martins is saving all his attacking firepower for the two clashes against the Galaxy.
The Nigerian took just one shot, which was not on target, in the 1-0 loss to Vancouver at home Friday night.
Martins enters the home-and-home series against the Galaxy with a serious chance to hit the 20-goal mark, but he must find the back of the net three times in the next two games to do so.
4. Clint Dempsey
Previous Ranking: 3
The last time the Seattle forward did not record a single shot on target was his final game before the World Cup break against New England.
In that match, Dempsey took a total of seven shots.
3. Bradley Wright-Phillips
Previous Ranking: 4
Bradley Wright-Phillips inched closer to putting his name in the record book by scoring his 25th goal of the season Saturday night.
In the victory over Toronto, Wright-Phillips picked up a rare assist, as Dax McCarty tapped home a shot from the Golden Boot leader in the 43rd minute.
Wright-Phillips now has 180 minutes to tie or break the single-season scoring record of 27, but Columbus and Sporting Kansas City stand in his way.
2. Landon Donovan
Previous Ranking: 2
After receiving a terrific farewell from the United States men's national team Friday night, Landon Donovan had an off night for the Galaxy Sunday.
Donovan did make four key passes in the 2-1 loss, but he was ineffective in front of goal with just one shot in 90 minutes.
With a full week of rest, and his focus squarely set on league play, expect to see the best out of Donovan against Seattle over the next two weeks.
1. Robbie Keane
Previous Ranking: 1
Since scoring against the European powerhouse that is Gibraltar is more important than league play, we did not see Robbie Keane in a Galaxy shirt in Week 31.
The Republic of Ireland international did score a hat-trick in Euro qualifying, but one has to think the Galaxy would've liked to see him score for them, especially in a big game against FC Dallas.
Keane, who has played a role in 33 Galaxy goals this season, proved just how valuable he is to Bruce Arena's side by not being at Toyota Stadium because of international duty.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.