MLS Player Power Rankings After Matches from October 24-26

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistOctober 28, 2014

MLS Player Power Rankings After Matches from October 24-26

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    After eight months of play and plenty of terrific individual performances, the Major League Soccer regular season came to an end Sunday.

    During the final set of regular-season games, some players gave voters for the Most Valuable Player award more to think about, while a few were sidelined with injuries. 

    Others played a part in major goals that handed their respective teams the upper hand in regards to playoff qualification and seeding. 

    Here's a look at the final regular-season edition of the MLS Player Power Rankings. 

On the Way out

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Four players found themselves on the outside looking in after owning a spot in the top 20 last week. 

    Federico Higuain did not play for the second time in three games, while Lamar Neagle and Matt Hedges did not have the best of performances to close out the regular season.

    Nick Rimando was left off the list due to others forcing him out with meaningful showings for their respective sides. 

    Players Dropped out of Rankings 

    Federico Higuain (Columbus; Previous Ranking: 15)

    Lamar Neagle (Seattle; 17)

    Matt Hedges (FC Dallas; 19)

    Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 20) 

20. Marco Pappa

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Marco Pappa played all of 17 minutes in Seattle's 2-0 win over LA Saturday, but he made a massive impact for the Sounders. 

    The Guatemalan scored his fifth and sixth goals of the season to clinch the Supporters' Shield in front of an impressive home crowd at CenturyLink Field. 

    His impact off the bench was felt in the last two regular-season games of the season, which is something Seattle hopes to see continue in the playoffs. 

19. Felix Borja

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Felix Borja etched his name in league history Sunday by scoring the final goal for Chivas USA. 

    During the final month of the Chivas USA farewell tour, Borja found the back of the net on three occasions, as the Goats left the league with their heads held high. 

    Just a day after winning at home over San Jose, Chivas USA became the third franchise in MLS to ever cease operations

18. Fabian Espindola

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    In any other season, Fabian Espindola would be in the MVP conversation, but despite his 11 goals and nine assists, he is not in the discussion. 

    Espindola scored his second goal in three games for D.C. United to earn a draw at Stade Saputo against Montreal. 

    The draw did have an impact on the playoff race, as it meant the Black and Red would only host MLS Cup if Seattle and LA are both eliminated from the playoffs. 

17. Wil Trapp

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 18 

    Wil Trapp did not receive any compliments from a legend of the game this week, but he did put in a decent showing for Columbus in its 2-1 win over Philadelphia.

    The defensive midfielder completed 85.7 percent of his 56 passes, and had 61 touches in the victory that earned the Crew third place in the Eastern Conference. 

    Trapp will go head-to-head with Lee Nguyen in the Eastern Conference semifinals, which is one of the best matchups you will see in the playoffs. 

16. Chris Wondolowski

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Chris Wondolowski somehow managed to score 14 goals for a futile Earthquakes side in 2014, which is an achievement deserving of some type of award. 

    The United States international also played the role of provider for San Jose on four occasions, which means almost half of the team's 35 goals involved Wondolowski. 

    Due to his presence on the United States World Cup roster, Wondolowski started his fewest amount of games for San Jose since 2010. 

15. Gyasi Zardes

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 10 

    It's officially time to start worrying about Gyasi Zardes. 

    The young forward has been nonexistent in the Galaxy attack over the last seven games after he had a blazing-hot summer. During that time, he saw his name brought up in the United States men's national team selection discussion. 

    Regardless of if he finds his scoring touch again in the playoffs, Zardes should receive a look from Jurgen Klinsmann in January, which is the only positive thing we can say about the forward right now. 

14. Bobby Boswell

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 14

    Bobby Boswell did nothing to hurt his spot in the Defender of the Year discussion after the 1-1 draw with Montreal. 

    The D.C. United defense allowed just two shots Saturday in Quebec, both of which belonged to the retiring Marco Di Vaio. 

    Boswell was only forced into making four clearances at Stade Saputo against the worst team in the league. 

13. Kendall Waston

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Without Kendall Waston, the Vancouver Whitecaps would not be a playoff-bound team. 

    The Costa Rican center-back has turned into one of the top acquisitions of the season after joining up with Vancouver in August

    Waston, who had a stellar performance against Seattle two weeks ago, nodded in the game-winning goal against Colorado to earn the Whitecaps a spot in the knockout-round match versus FC Dallas Wednesday night. 

12. Thierry Henry

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 11

    Thierry Henry sat out New York's trip to Sporting Park due to inflammation in both of his Achilles, per the team's Twitter account. 

    If Henry is unable to play Thursday in the Eastern Conference knockout-round match against Sporting Kansas City, the Red Bulls will have to find a way to score without him.

    Mike Petke's side were able to do that Sunday with a 2-0 victory against the defending MLS Cup champion. 

11. Ethan Finlay

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 13

    Ethan Finlay was taken out of the Crew's win over the Union in the 65th minute to earn some rest before the playoffs begin. 

    Finlay had a terrific regular season with 11 goals and seven assists, including five goals and two assists in his final seven games. 

    If Columbus does take down New England in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the play of Finlay will be one of the major reasons why. 

10. Jermaine Jones

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 12 

    Jermaine Jones is another player on this list that will play a big role in determining the result of his side's playoff series. 

    During his 66-minute shift against Toronto Saturday, Jones recorded 49 touches and two interceptions. 

    Since entering the league, Jones has averaged 2.1 tackles, 1.5 interceptions, and most importantly 1.1 fouls per game. 

9. Diego Valeri

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Diego Valeri was not a key participant in Portland's dramatic 2-0 win over FC Dallas due to an injury issue that forced him out of the match at the half. 

    It was revealed Monday that the Timbers believe the 28-year-old tore his ACL during the match, per Jamie Goldberg of The Oregonian. 

    The injury would not have mattered this season, as Portland was knocked out of playoff contention by way of a Vancouver win. But the injury could be a big factor into how the team looks at the start of the 2015 season. 

8. Javier Morales

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Javier Morales ended his regular season Wednesday in Real Salt Lake's 2-0 win over Chivas USA. 

    The attacking midfielder attempted one shot in the victory that propelled the Claret and Cobalt to the third seed in the Western Conference. 

    Morales did look to be the main provider for RSL in the match, as he completed 90.5 percent of his 63 passes and attempted 16 crosses at Rio Tinto Stadium. 

7. Dom Dwyer

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Dom Dwyer was never able to catch Bradley Wright-Phillips in the Golden Boot race, but he can sleep fine at night knowing he had the top goal celebration in the regular season. 

    The selfie-loving English forward enters the playoffs with five goals in his last seven games, but he has only scored once in 2014 against the Red Bulls in three matches.

    Dwyer will have to add to that record against New York if Sporting Kansas City are to advance out of the knockout round in the Eastern Conference. 

6. Robbie Keane

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Robbie Keane was kept out of the massive clash against Seattle because of nagging injuries, per LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano. 

    To make this simpler, Keane didn't play because of the turf at CenturyLink Field in order to rest his body for the playoffs. 

    His candidacy for MVP did take a hit by not playing in the biggest Galaxy game of the season, but he should still be held in high regard by the voters thanks to his 19 goals and 14 assists

5. Clint Dempsey

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 4

    At least Clint Dempsey made an attempt to play on the turf in search of the Supporters' Shield. 

    Dempsey earned his 10th assist of the season in the 2-0 Seattle victory, but he failed to take a shot for the first time as a Sounders player. 

4. Landon Donovan

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 5

    We're still waiting for the final signature moment of Landon Donovan's illustrious career. 

    Donovan took four shots in the loss to Seattle, but only one of them was on target. 

    The script writers in Hollywood have Donovan ending his career with a game-winning goal in MLS Cup, but first he has to get past familiar foe Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference semifinals. 

3. Bradley Wright-Phillips

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Bradley Wright-Phillips became the third player in league history to score 27 goals in a single season thanks to a brace against Sporting Kansas City. 

    The New York forward joined Roy Lassiter and Wondolowski in the record books for now, but he had plenty of chances to become the lone top scorer in league history. 

    Wright-Phillips took a total of 109 shots this season with 57 of them being on target. 

2. Obafemi Martins

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Previous Ranking: 2

    What seemed like a small play by Obafemi Martins turned out to have a major impact on Seattle's win over LA Saturday. 

    Martins took a quick free-kick in the 85th minute, and after playing a give-and-go with Dempsey, he slotted a pass in for Pappa, who sent CenturyLink Field into an uproar with a goal. 

    The 13th assist of the season was the third in two weeks for Martins, who has contributed to just three fewer goals than Keane in 2014. 

1. Lee Nguyen

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Before this causes any confusion, Lee Nguyen is not on the top of this list at the end of the regular season because he is the stone-cold favorite for MVP.

    Nguyen is No. 1 because of his fantastic finish to the season, which saw him score five times over his final four games. 

    The New England midfielder is one of three main favorites for the award along with Keane and Martins, but there is no guarantee he will take home the MVP honors. 

    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

    All statistics obtained from MLSSoccer.com and WhoScored.com

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