MLS Player Rankings: Kaka Rises to the Top After Week 4
With the international break and Major League Soccer season in full swing this weekend, plenty of key figures missed out on their respective club's matches.
One player who was not absent from the pitch in Week 4 was Kaka, who continued his remarkable start in Orlando with a goal and an assist.
Due to the massive amount of fluctuation in the MLS Player Rankings this week, the Brazilian snatched the top spot away from Vancouver's Octavio Rivero.
Because the list is a cumulative ranking of the league's top players, those who did not participate in Week 4 are still in the top 20, but they dropped significantly this week.
Here's a look at our weekly compilation of the top 20 players in MLS.
On the Way out
Three players fell off the list of the top 20 players in MLS this week because of lackluster performances and international duty.
Players Dropped out of Rankings
Kekuta Manneh (Vancouver Whitecaps; Week 3 Ranking: 14)
Fabian Castillo (FC Dallas; 16)
Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; 19)
20. Tyler Deric, GK, Houston Dynamo
Week 3 Ranking: 20
Tyler Deric remains the only goalkeeper on the list this week thanks to his clean sheet against the Colorado Rapids.
The Houston Dynamo shot-stopper is second in the league in saves with 15, and he has conceded two goals in his first four matches.
Deric also has the second-best save percentage, as he has stopped 94 percent of the shots sent his way. Only Colorado's Clint Irwin, who has made just eight saves this season, has a better percentage than Deric.
19. Kelyn Rowe, LM, New England Revolution
Week 3 Ranking: Not Ranked
The top player across the league in Week 4 was New England Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe.
The 23-year-old netted the first two goals of the season for the Revolution in their 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes at Gillette Stadium.
Rowe's seven shots, five of which were on target, were both career highs for the third-year player.
18. Fanendo Adi, FW, Portland Timbers
Week 3 Ranking: 17
Fanendo Adi found the back of the net for the third time this season in the Portland Timbers' 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Adi almost created a second goal late in the match, but he was denied at close range by Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted.
Through the first four contests of the young season, the play of Adi has been one of the few consistent components of the Portland team.
17. David Villa, FW, New York City FC
Week 3 Ranking: 8
David Villa was one of many key players who missed his team's Week 4 match.
The Spaniard was unavailable for New York City FC's home game against Sporting Kansas City due to an adductor strain, per Soccer by Ives' Ives Galarcep.
Villa will receive an extra week to recover from the injury, as NYCFC has a bye week in Week 5.
16. Jozy Altidore, FW, Toronto FC
Week 3 Ranking: 6
One of the two designated players missed by Toronto FC on Sunday night in Utah was Jozy Altidore, who started for the United States against Denmark last Wednesday.
Altidore might be available for the Reds' clash with the Chicago Fire in Week 5 if he returns from Switzerland in good health.
15. Obafemi Martins, FW, Seattle Sounders
Week 3 Ranking: 5
Fans of the Seattle Sounders were caught off guard when Obafemi Martins' name was not in the starting 11 for the match at FC Dallas.
Martins was left in Seattle because of a quad strain, per the Sounders' matchday Twitter account.
Without the Nigerian on the pitch, Seattle failed to record a shot on goal in the 0-0 draw with FC Dallas.
14. Robbie Keane, FW, LA Galaxy
Week 3 Ranking: 4
Robbie Keane played all 90 minutes of the Republic of Ireland's 1-1 draw with Poland one day after the LA Galaxy dropped points on the road against D.C. United.
The long trip back from Europe may affect Keane's presence in the starting 11 on Saturday, when the Galaxy visit Vancouver in a key early-season Western Conference showdown.
13. Blas Perez, FW, FC Dallas
Week 3 Ranking: 3
Blas Perez also missed his club's Week 4 match because of international duty.
The Panamanian marksman is a part of his country's squad for friendlies against CONCACAF foes Trinidad and Tobago and Costa Rica.
Due to the proximity of the games to the United States, Perez should feature in FC Dallas' road trip to Portland in Week 5.
12. Clint Dempsey, FW, Seattle Sounders
Week 3 Ranking: 2
The good news for Clint Dempsey this week was he didn't have to suffer through the United States men's national team collapse in Denmark in person.
The bad news for the United States captain came in the form of a hamstring injury, which forced him out of the squad, per U.S. Soccer.
Of the five co-leaders for the MLS Golden Boot, Dempsey has scored his three goals from the fewest number of shots.
11. Lloyd Sam, RM, New York Red Bulls
Week 3 Ranking: Not Ranked
A case can be made that Lloyd Sam was the best player at his position over the first month of the season.
The 30-year-old right winger has been an absolute menace to opposing defenses in March. That trend continued on Saturday night in the Red Bulls' 2-1 win over Columbus.
Sam, who has scored on two occasions in 2015, averaged 1.3 key passes in his first three matches, which have yielded seven points for the best team in the Eastern Conference.
10. Ike Opara, CB, Sporting Kansas City
Week 3 Ranking: 15
Sporting Kansas City center back Ike Opara found an invisible trampoline in the middle of the Yankee Stadium pitch on his way to his second strike of the season.
Opara launched himself in the air in the 12th minute of his club's 1-0 victory and connected his head with a Matt Besler long throw from the right sideline.
In the defensive half of the pitch, the scorer of two goals has averaged 8.5 clearances and 6.3 interceptions in four games.
9. Kei Kamara, FW, Columbus Crew
Week 3 Ranking: 13
Despite not scoring a goal on Saturday night in front of the home fans in Columbus, Kei Kamara still delivered a decent performance up top for the Crew.
Kamara recorded the second-most shots of any Columbus player with four, and he won four aerial duels against the Red Bulls.
The Sierra Leone international is currently tied for the league lead in the shots category with 15.
8. Mix Diskerud, CM, New York City FC
Week 3 Ranking: 11
Mix Diskerud was once again the engine of the NYCFC midfield in the 1-0 loss to Sporting KC on Saturday night.
The United States international recorded a game high of 93 touches and completed 78.5 percent of his 79 passes in the club's first-ever home defeat.
If he continues to play this well, one has to wonder how his midfield partnership with Frank Lampard will work when the Englishman arrives in the summer.
7. Chris Wondolowski, FW, San Jose Earthquakes
Week 3 Ranking: 18
Chris Wondolowski pulled himself into a tie atop the Golden Boot standings by way of a 62nd-minute penalty in San Jose's loss to New England.
In the defeat, Wondolowski attempted his highest number of shots on target since July 23, 2014. The three shots on goal also doubled his season's total.
In two matches against Week 5 opponent Real Salt Lake in 2014, Wondolowski earned a goal and an assist.
6. Javier Morales, AM, Real Salt Lake
Week 3 Ranking: Not Ranked
Two perfectly placed assists against Toronto FC catapulted Javier Morales to the top of the assist leaderboard after Week 4.
Morales recorded assists on goals scored by Luke Mulholland and Jordan Allen in Real Salt Lake's 2-1 home triumph over the Reds.
In his last 180 minutes of action, Morales has scored on one occasion and provided three assists to the RSL attack.
5. Bradley Wright-Phillips, FW, New York Red Bulls
Week 3 Ranking: 12
For the second consecutive match, Bradley Wright-Phillips played a role in two goals scored by the Red Bulls.
The designated player scored from the spot in the 49th minute before he turned into a provider on Mike Grella's superb strike in the 67th minute.
Wright-Phillips also contributed four key passes to go along with his goal and assist in the 2-1 Red Bulls win.
4. Octavio Rivero, FW, Vancouver Whitecaps
Week 3 Ranking: 1
Octavio Rivero's scoring streak came to an end on Saturday at BC Place in Vancouver's Cascadia Cup win over Portland.
The offseason acquisition, who scored a goal in each of his first three MLS matches, attempted just a single shot in the victory against the Timbers.
Despite his lackluster effort in Week 4, Rivero has taken 15 shots in 2015, eight of which have been on target.
3. Harry Shipp, AM, Chicago Fire
Week 3 Ranking: 10
After suffering through the first three weeks of the season, Harry Shipp and the Chicago Fire earned their first win of 2015 on Sunday against the Philadelphia Union.
In the 1-0 victory, Shipp notched an assist and handed out five key passes on the pitch at Toyota Park.
Based off his early-season play, Shipp should earn a USMNT call-up for the Mexico match in San Antonio on April 15.
2. Sebastian Giovinco, AM, Toronto FC
Week 3 Ranking: 9
Sebastian Giovinco certainly earned his massive designated player paycheck during the final 30 minutes of Toronto FC's match at Rio Tinto Stadium on Sunday night.
The electric Italian dazzled in attack as the Reds searched for an equalizer, which they eventually found before they conceded minutes later.
All three of Giovinco's shots reached the target, while he also contributed two key passes in the 2-1 loss.
1. Kaka, AM, Orlando City
Week 3 Ranking: 7
Kaka played a role in both of Orlando City's goals in the 2-2 draw at Olympic Stadium with the Montreal Impact.
The Brazilian attacking wizard assisted on a Pedro Ribeiro strike and scored during a frantic 60-second span in the middle of the first half.
Kaka made the most touches of any player on the pitch with 76, and he provided four key passes in the exciting draw.
In the first four games of his MLS career, Kaka has averaged 3.8 shots and three key passes per game.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.