MLS Player Rankings: Golden Boot Leader Rivero Takes Back Top Spot

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistApril 14, 2015

MLS Player Rankings: Golden Boot Leader Rivero Takes Back Top Spot

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    Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

    If the current trend continues, the race for the Golden Boot and the top spot in our weekly Major League Soccer Player Rankings may be over before it started. 

    Vancouver Whitecaps forward Octavio Rivero extended the impressive start to his MLS career in Week 6 by scoring his fifth strike of the young season. 

    Behind the Uruguayan on the list of the top 20 players in MLS are a few new entrants who have impressed week after week for their respective clubs and are finally receiving some well-deserved recognition. 

    Continue reading on to see which players earned spots in the Week 6 edition of the MLS Player Rankings. 

On the Way out

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    Don Ryan/Associated Press

    Lackluster performances on the pitch and an absence from the starting lineup forced these five players out of the top 20. 

    Players Dropped out of Rankings

    Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes; Week 5 Ranking: 12) 

    Fanendo Adi (Portland Timbers; 14)

    Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution; 15)

    Fernando Aristeguieta (Philadelphia Union; 18)

    Blas Perez (FC Dallas; 20) 

20. Ike Opara, CB, Sporting Kansas City

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    Gary Rohman/MLS/USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: 13

    Unfortunately this will be the last time we see Ike Opara on this list for quite some time. 

    The center-back suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon toward the end of Sporting Kansas City's 0-0 draw with Real Salt Lake, per the team's official website. 

    The duration of Opara's absence from the pitch has not been announced, but most people around the league have assumed the worst for one of the league's best defenders over the first six weeks of 2015. 

19. Amobi Okugo, CDM, Orlando City

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: Not Ranked

    Amobi Okugo certainly hasn't received enough attention for his play in the defensive part of the Orlando City midfield. 

    Although he was helped by the putrid Portland Timbers attack on Sunday, Okugo turned in yet another solid 90-minute shift for the expansion side. 

    Of the players who have appeared in five or more MLS games this season, Okugo has the third-best pass accuracy, with a completion rate of 87.5 percent. Only Russell Teibert and Darren Mattocks have put up better numbers. 

18. Pedro Morales, AM, Vancouver Whitecaps

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    Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: 16 

    After dazzling in the final third on Wednesday night against the Columbus Crew, Pedro Morales failed to finish the 1-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday. 

    Three days after he made six key passes in the Whitecaps attack, Morales was sent off for a kerfuffle with Adam Jahn, which led to both players earning erroneous red cards. 

    In seven games this season, Morales is averaging 2.6 key passes and 2.6 shots per contest. 

17. Marcelo Sarvas, CM, Colorado Rapids

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    Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: Not Ranked 

    It comes as no surprise that Marcelo Sarvas is thriving in his first season with the Colorado Rapids. 

    The offseason acquisition from the LA Galaxy has handed Pablo Mastroeni's side some much-needed stability in the middle of the park after a tumultuous 2014 campaign. 

    In the 4-0 thrashing of FC Dallas on Friday night, Sarvas recorded his first assist of the season on Dillon Powers' 43rd-minute strike. 

16. Benny Feilhaber, CM, Sporting Kansas City

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    Gary Rohman/MLS/USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: 17 

    Benny Feilhaber attempted to create a handful of chances in the final third in what many will regard as a game that lacked an attacking punch at Sporting Park. 

    In the match that featured one combined shot on goal, Feilhaber made five key passes for the host side in Kansas City. 

    The midfielder also completed 90 percent of his passes and delivered five accurate crosses in his side's third draw of 2015. 

15. Omar Gonzalez, CB, LA Galaxy

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    Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: Not Ranked 

    Before he hopped on a plane bound for San Antonio, Omar Gonzalez produced a terrific performance in the LA Galaxy back line against the rival Seattle Sounders. 

    Gonzalez made 11 clearances, won five aerial duels and disrupted many of the moves forward by the Sounders at StubHub Center on Sunday night. 

    One of the best parts of Gonzalez's showing was his ability to stay composed in defense by committing just one foul in 90 minutes. 

14. David Villa, FW, New York City FC

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    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: Not Ranked

    David Villa earned the second goal of his MLS career in New York City FC's 2-1 defeat at PPL Park on Saturday afternoon. 

    The Spaniard played a cheeky ball to Khiry Shelton at the top of the box before he darted in and pounced on a rebound created by Philadelphia goalkeeper John McCarthy. 

    The goal was one of three shots on target recorded by Villa, who is one of two players in the league with 10 or more attempts on goal. 

13. Clint Dempsey, FW, Seattle Sounders

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    Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: 8

    The first marquee clash between LA and Seattle was deprived of Clint Dempsey's presence after the forward suffered a hamstring injury earlier in the week, per Seattle's matchday account. 

    Despite missing out on two of Seattle's five games, Dempsey is still deserving of a spot on this list because of his efficiency when on the pitch. 

    In the three matches he has played, Dempsey has been involved in five of the six goals netted by the Sounders. 

12. Brek Shea, LB, Orlando City

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: 19 

    The Brek Shea left-back experiment continued to pump out impressive results in Week 6, as the United States international starred against Portland. 

    Now the big test of Shea as a defender awaits on Wednesday night, when the USMNT face Mexico in San Antonio. 

    If Shea earns a start and thrives at his new position on the international stage, he could make a case to be the permanent USMNT left-back. 

11. Jaime Penedo, GK, LA Galaxy

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Week 5 Ranking: Not Ranked

    It is going to be hard for anyone to top Jaime Penedo's performance in net in Week 6 for the rest of the season. 

    The Panama international made 10 saves in the Galaxy's 1-0 win over the Sounders in a rematch of the 2014 Western Conference final. 

    Penedo will also be haunting the dreams of Lamar Neagle for quite some time, as he denied the Seattle midfielder on five occasions. 

10. Obafemi Martins, FW, Seattle Sounders

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Week 5 Ranking: 7

    For the first time this season, Obafemi Martins failed to find the back of the net in a game in which he started. 

    The Nigerian took two shots in the loss to LA, but he was stopped by Penedo on both occasions. 

    Martins' last brace came on October 5, 2014 against Week 7 opponent Colorado. The two sides meet at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night. 

9. Javier Morales, AM, Real Salt Lake

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    Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: 3

    Javier Morales cooled off considerably on Saturday at Sporting Park, as his three-game hot streak came to an end. 

    Morales failed to make a single key pass in a match where the Real Salt Lake attacking threat was reduced to a whisper. 

    The drop off came as a surprise to some after Morales earned two goals and three assists in the three games before the scoreless draw. 

8. Lloyd Sam, RM, New York Red Bulls

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    Week 5 Ranking: 11

    Believe it or not, MLS allowed the New York Red Bulls to play a soccer game in Week 6. 

    In the club's fourth match of the season, Lloyd Sam played the role of opportunist to perfection in the 90th minute of the 2-2 draw with D.C. United.

    Sam secured a key point on the road thanks to his hustle following Sacha Kljestan's free-kick from just outside of the box. Due to some lazy marking by D.C., Sam reached a rebound created by Bill Hamid and put the ball into the back of the net. 

7. Mix Diskerud, CM, New York City FC

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: 9

    The man with the favorite head of hair in MLS delivered another solid showing in the NYCFC midfield in the loss to Philadelphia. 

    Diskerud made a team high of 95 touches and converted on 84 percent of his 75 passes in the match that saw NYCFC hold 63 percent of the possession. 

    The USMNT player also played a role in the lone strike by Jason Kreis' side, as his pass to Villa started the attack around the penalty area. 

6. Bradley Wright-Phillips, FW, New York Red Bulls

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    Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: 6

    His name may not have appeared in the headlines this week, but Bradley Wright-Phillips still impressed up top for the Red Bulls. 

    The 2014 Golden Boot winner attempted the most shots on target of any player on the pitch at RFK Stadium, with three in the draw with Atlantic Cup rival D.C United. 

    Eight of the 10 shots taken by the 30-year-old Englishman in 2015 have been on target.

5. Kei Kamara, FW, Columbus Crew

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    Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: 10

    Not only did Kei Kamara lead the league in frequent-flyer miles in Week 6, he also recorded one of two braces in MLS over the last seven days. 

    Kamara netted both of his strikes at BC Place on Wednesday night in Columbus' 2-2 draw with Vancouver. 

    The two-goal performance was the first for Kamara in MLS since August 10, 2013, when he scored twice for Sporting KC against the New England Revolution.

    Kamara's second match of the week was against the Revolution, but we're trying to forget that entire match as soon as possible. 

4. Kaka, AM, Orlando City

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    Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: 5

    Kaka can thank Diego Chara and Gaston Fernandez for his third goal of the season. 

    The Brazilian looked to be stuck on two goals after Adam Kwarasey stopped his initial penalty, but the Timbers were whistled for encroachment. 

    As a former World Player of the Year is expected to do, Kaka took advantage of the opportunity and powered home the second Orlando City goal of the 2-0 victory at Providence Park. 

3. Sebastian Giovinco, AM, Toronto FC

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    Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: 

    Since we already made our weekly complaint about the poor schedule-making decisions at the league office when taking about the Red Bulls, we won't bring it up here when discussing Toronto FC.

    Sebastian Giovinco remained off an MLS pitch this week as the Reds enjoyed their second bye week of the 2015 campaign. 

    Giovinco will make his first venture into the great state of Texas in Week 7, when Toronto visits FC Dallas on Saturday night. 

2. Harry Shipp, AM, Chicago Fire

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    Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: 1

    Harry Shipp dropped one spot after Week 6 because of Chicago's inactivity on the pitch. 

    Unfortunately for USMNT fans, Shipp was not called into the squad for the Mexico match and he will not take the field again until April 24. 

    The league made the right call and cancelled the Fire's upcoming match against the Montreal Impact so the Canadian club could focus on the CONCACAF Champions League final against Club America. 

1. Octavio Rivero, FW, Vancouver Whitecaps

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    Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 5 Ranking: 4

    For the second time in three years, the Vancouver Whitecaps will have a contender for the Golden Boot. 

    Octavio Rivero has finally filled the massive void left by Camilo Sanvezzo, whose name is still greeted by groans in British Columbia after his controversial move to Queretaro. 

    Rivero scored his fifth goal of the season on Wednesday night against Columbus in the 31st minute of the thrilling draw. 

    The Whitecaps did stumble against San Jose on Saturday, but that did not stop us from putting the league leader in goals and shots on target back at the top of the player rankings after Week 6. 

    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

    All statistics obtained from MLSSoccer.com and WhoScored.com

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