MLS Player Rankings: Sebastian Giovinco Remains Top at End of Regular Season

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistOctober 27, 2015

MLS Player Rankings: Sebastian Giovinco Remains Top at End of Regular Season

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    Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

    Sunday marked the culmination of yet another wild Major League Soccer regular season that produced plenty of marvelous individual performances. 

    Some of the league's top players were able to use standout showings to lead their respective sides into the postseason, while others suffered disappointment on Decision Day. 

    Both types of players feature in our last regular-season edition of the MLS Player Rankings. The 20 players on this list may not be the 20 best stars over the course of 2015, but they were the top in-form players during the final month of the year. 

    Our player rankings take into account form over the last four matches, with the player's most-recent performance holding more stock than the other three. 

    Continue reading to see who landed where in the final MLS Player Rankings of the regular season. 

On the Way out

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    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    Lack of production for an eliminated team and performances from others that overshadowed the showings of those on the way out forced change after Decision Day. 

    Players Dropped out of Rankings

    Mike Grella (New York Red Bulls; Previous Ranking; 16) 

    Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes; 19) 

    Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake; 20)

20. Kendall Waston, CB, Vancouver Whitecaps

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Kendall Waston powered the Vancouver Whitecaps to one of three clean sheets on Decision Day as they shut out Houston at BC Place. 

    The towering 6'5" Costa Rican put in an impressive performance as Vancouver held Houston to just two shots on target in the Western Conference clash. 

    Waston also helped the Whitecaps distance themselves from the Dynamo on the scoreboard as he knocked in the club's second goal in the 72nd minute. 

    For the No. 2 seed in the West to succeed in the postseason, the 27-year-old must be able to lead the Whitecaps back four against some of the best attacks in the league, no matter who their opponent is. 

19. Diego Chara, CDM, Portland Timbers

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    Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 18

    Diego Chara continued to thrive in his defensive-midfield role in front of the Portland back four on Sunday. 

    The Colombian held the Colorado attack in check, while the dangerous attackers in the Timbers starting 11 surged forward and made sure nothing weird would happen on the final day of the regular season at Providence Park. 

    Chara and the Timbers will face Sporting Kansas City in the Western Conference knockout round on Thursday. For Portland to finally get past Sporting KC this season, the 29-year-old must shut down Benny Feilhaber. 

18. Michael Bradley, CM, Toronto FC

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    Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Michael Bradley was unable to help power Toronto FC into a top position in the Eastern Conference on Sunday as the Reds fell 2-1 to Montreal and dropped all the way down to the No. 6 seed. 

    The 28-year-old was able to put one attempt on goal in the defeat, but his effort in the final third wasn't strong enough to will Toronto to a victory. 

    Due to the defeat at Stade Saputo, Bradley and the rest of his teammates will return to Quebec on Thursday for one of the two Eastern Conference knockout-round matches. 

17. Tim Melia, GK, Sporting Kansas City

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    Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Tim Melia is in the form of his life at the moment. 

    The Sporting Kansas City netminder continued his spectacular finish to the regular season on Sunday as he made a terrific late denial to preserve his team's 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy at Sporting Park. 

    In Sporting KC's first playoff match on Thursday, Melia will return to the site of his two best performances of the season. In two matches at Providence Park, the 29-year-old made 13 saves on 14 shots. 

    Since the start of October, Melia has 19 saves in four matches for Peter Vermes' side. 

16. Jesse Gonzalez, GK, FC Dallas

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    Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Although his shutout streak ended on Sunday, Jesse Gonzalez still made four saves to help FC Dallas reach 60 points with a 2-1 win over San Jose. 

    The goal he let up in the 13th minute to Quincy Amarikwa was the first shot to beat the FC Dallas goalkeeper since October 4

    With Gonzalez and most of the squad in form entering the postseason, Oscar Pareja's club has a strong chance of advancing all the way to MLS Cup.

15. Fabian Espindola, FW, D.C. United

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 11 

    Sunday was a rough day for any player in a D.C. United shirt as the Black and Red fell 5-0 to Columbus. 

    In the morale-deflating defeat, Fabian Espindola took two shots that went on goal, but he was unable to change the pace of the match with a long spell of strong attacking play. 

    Something has to change between now and Wednesday for Ben Olsen's side, or D.C. could be ousted from the playoffs by New England.

14. Darlington Nagbe, AM, Portland Timbers

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    Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked 

    Darlington Nagbe was an absolute menace in the Portland attack on Sunday as the Timbers cruised to a 4-1 victory over Colorado. 

    The 25-year-old set the tone early for Caleb Porter's side as he struck a blistering free-kick into the top of the net in the fifth minute. 

    With the game level at a goal apiece in the 33rd minute, Nagbe headed home what turned out to be the game-winning goal. On Portland's third tally, Nagbe dished the ball over Jorge Villafana before the defender struck a deflected shot into the back of the net. 

    In the last two matches, which Portland has won by a combined 9-3, Nagbe has three goals and one assist.

13. Fanendo Adi, FW, Portland Timbers

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    Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 14

    Nagbe isn't the only player on fire in the Portland attack right now. 

    Fanendo Adi extended his impressive scoring streak to three matches with an 88th-minute strike in Portland's big win over the Rapids at home. 

    If you eliminate Portland's loss to Sporting KC on October 3, the 25-year-old Adi has six goals in four matches.

    With Nagbe finally producing on a consistent basis behind him, Adi should be able to link up with plenty of key passes from the midfielder on Thursday. 

    Now all Adi and the Timbers have to do is solve the hex that's been put on them by Melia in the last two months. 

12. Sacha Kljestan, CM, New York Red Bulls

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    Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 13 

    Sacha Kljestan captured another title on Sunday as the New York Red Bulls clinched the Supporters' Shield with a 2-1 win over Chicago. 

    Kljestan, who won three league and four cup titles with Anderlecht in Belgium, contributed a goal and an assist in the Red Bulls' final match of the regular season. 

    With his assist on Bradley Wright-Phillips' eighth-minute goal, the 30-year-old tied the team record for assists in a single season with 14, per Red Bulls director of communications, Jason Baum. 

    In his sixth season in MLS, Kljestan set career bests in the league in goals and assists. He had five goals twice for Chivas USA and recorded 13 assists in 2007 for the now-extinct club.

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

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    Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 10 

    Bradley Wright-Phillips helped the Red Bulls exorcise their Toyota Park demons with his eighth-minute opener on Sunday.

    The 2014 Golden Boot winner tapped in a corner kick to put the Supporters' Shield winners ahead early at the stadium they had never won at before Decision Day. 

    The strike was the 17th of the season for the Englishman, who has 44 regular-season goals in two full seasons in MLS. 

10. Ethan Finlay, RM, Columbus Crew

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    Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 17

    "Are you there, Jurgen? It's me, Ethan." 

    Ethan Finlay made yet another strong case to be called into the United States men's national team on Sunday as he scored twice in quick succession for the Columbus Crew. 

    In Columbus' blowout win at home, the 25-year-old scored in the 66th and 67th minutes as the Crew secured the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. 

    If, for some reason, we don't see Finlay on the roster for the USMNT's World Cup qualifiers in November, he must be in the squad for the annual January camp. 

9. Kei Kamara, FW, Columbus Crew

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    Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 

    Kei Kamara sat out the Crew's last game of the regular season due to yellow-card accumulation. 

    Fortunately for Gregg Berhalter's side, it did not miss the 31-year-old at all as the Crew put five goals into the back of the net. 

    With the rest of his teammates firing on all cylinders heading into the playoffs, Kamara should have plenty of opportunities to score in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday. 

8. David Villa, FW, New York City FC

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    Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 8

    David Villa closed out his first full season in MLS with a consolation goal late in the second half at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. 

    The 33-year-old helped New York City FC avoid a shutout against the Revolution with a 90th-minute strike from the penalty spot. 

    In 30 matches for the expansion side in 2015, the Spaniard had 18 goals and eight assists.

7. Chris Wondolowski, FW, San Jose Earthquakes

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    Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Chris Wondolowski played a role in San Jose's lone goal on Sunday, but he was not responsible for scoring the Earthquakes' 13th-minute strike.

    The USMNT forward contributed his second assist of the season on Quincy Amarikwa's tally that put the Earthquakes ahead of FC Dallas at that time in the contest. 

    Although he finished the year with 16 goals, Wondolowski only netted one strike in the last four matches as San Jose's playoff push stalled out.

6. Cyle Larin, FW, Orlando City

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 2

    After pushing hard toward a postseason berth over the last few weeks, Cyle Larin and Orlando City fell short in their final regular-season game. 

    The Canada international, who scored on six occasions in three games prior to Sunday, failed to put a shot on target in the Lions' 1-0 loss to Philadelphia. 

    The loss on the road to the lowly Union was not the way the expansion side wanted to go out in its first year. Luckily for Orlando City, there is still plenty to build on from the 2015 season. 

5. Mauro Diaz, AM, FC Dallas

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    Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Mauro Diaz helped FC Dallas stay in contention for the Supporters' Shield until the final minute on Sunday as his equalizer in the 38th minute gave the team plenty of momentum to push for a game-winning goal. 

    FC Dallas did put a second goal into the back of the net, but they lost out on winning the trophy since the Red Bulls took care of business in Chicago.

    Diaz enters the postseason with a goal or assist in five of his last six games. If you look as far back as June 26, the 24-year-old has contributed to a tally in nine of 12 matches.

4. Didier Drogba, FW, Montreal Impact

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    Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Didier Drogba pulled the Impact to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with two goals in two minutes early in the second half on Sunday against Toronto. 

    The former Chelsea man's 10th and 11th goals of the season allowed Mauro Biello's team to secure a home game in the knockout round on Thursday. 

    In the 11 matches Drogba has featured for the Impact, the club has seven wins, three losses and a draw. 

3. Obafemi Martins, FW, Seattle Sounders

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    Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 6

    It's hard to fly under the radar when you have contributed to a goal in eight of your last nine matches, but that is exactly what Obafemi Martins did to close out the regular season. 

    The 30-year-old picked up an assist, and his saved shot created another in Seattle's 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field. 

    Since August 30, the Nigerian has six goals and one assist. With Clint Dempsey now finding his form in front of net, the Sounders duo could do some damage against the LA Galaxy on Wednesday in the knockout round.

2. Robbie Keane, FW, LA Galaxy

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    Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 3

    This may come as a surprise to some, but before this year, Robbie Keane did not hit the 20-goal mark in a single season in MLS. 

    That all changed on Sunday as the 35-year-old scored the lone Galaxy goal in the 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park. 

    Although the Most Valuable Player award should belong to Sebastian Giovinco, Keane does have a legitimate case as he recorded 20 goals and eight assists in 24 matches.

1. Sebastian Giovinco, FW, Toronto FC

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Speaking of the clear-cut favorite for MVP, Sebastian Giovinco earned the title of league's top passer on Decision Day as his 16th assist of 2015 found Jozy Altidore on Toronto's lone goal against Montreal. 

    Giovinco did not score in his last two regular-season matches, but he was still a force in the Reds attack as they fought for the highest playoff position possible. 

    Unfortunately for the Atomic Ant and his teammates, they earned the No. 6 seed and a return visit to Montreal on Thursday. In three games against the Impact in 2015, Giovinco has one goal and three assists. 

    Joe Tansey covers MLS for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90.

    All statistics obtained from MLSSoccer.com.