MLS Playoff Player Rankings: Plenty of Fluctuation After Weekend's Action

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 10, 2015

MLS Playoff Player Rankings: Plenty of Fluctuation After Weekend's Action

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    The most exciting start to a Major League Soccer postseason in recent memory left us wanting more and then some after Sunday's slate of four matches concluded. 

    In those four conference semifinal showdowns, plenty of star players delivered standout performances that earned them a good amount of accolades. 

    Although we aren't handing out any postseason hardware yet, we do have a good idea who the 10 best players of the postseason to date are. 

    Due to the small sample size on which we based the MLS Playoff Power Rankings, there was plenty of movement in the 10 positions this week. The stars closest to the top of the list were the most consistent over the last two weekends of play. 

    Continue reading on to see which player stood out among the pack and earned the top spot in our MLS Playoff Power Rankings. 

On the Way out

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    Brad Loper/Associated Press

    What a difference a week makes. 

    Six of the seven players who fell out of the rankings this week were eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday. The only star who dropped from the top 10 still alive in the postseason was overshadowed by his teammates in the second game of Sunday's quadrupleheader. 

    Players Dropped out of Rankings

    David Ousted (Vancouver Whitecaps; Previous Ranking; 1)

    Patrice Bernier (Montreal Impact; 2) 

    Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps; 4)

    Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders; 5) 

    Federico Higuain (Columbus Crew; 7)

    Andreas Ivanschitz (Seattle Sounders; 8)

    Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps; 10) 

10. Bill Hamid, GK, D.C. United

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked 

    We learned a few things about D.C. United over the last two weeks, but the most important one is the Black and Red should back up a Brinks truck to Bill Hamid's doorstep and give him as much money as he wants. 

    While his offense was attempting to put together something that barely resembled a functional attack, Hamid was busy keeping Ben Olsen's side in the match at Red Bull Arena. 

    Hamid added four saves to his playoff total of 15, but he was eventually beaten by Bradley Wright-Phillips in the waning stages of the second leg against the New York Red Bulls. 

    If D.C. loses Hamid to Europe while trying to revamp its roster in the offseason, it will set the franchise back at least a few years. 

9. Ryan Hollingshead, LB, FC Dallas

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    Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Ryan Hollingshead's success late in the regular season and postseason at left back for FC Dallas reminds us a bit of how the LA Galaxy got solid production out of converted defender Robbie Rogers at the back end of 2014. 

    The natural winger moved to left back this season due to the ridiculous wealth of talent in the FC Dallas attack, and he has thrived in his new role, including on Sunday against Seattle. 

    If he continues to impress on the left flank of defense, Hollingshead could put his name into the United States men's national team discussion. 

8. Fanendo Adi, FW, Portland Timbers

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    Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Fanendo Adi was one of many attackers who experienced a reversal of fortunes in the second leg as he came to life after being shut down in the first leg by Vancouver's center-back pairing of  Kendall Waston and Tim Parker. 

    The Nigerian forward scored on a blistering shot in the first half at BC Place to hand the Timbers a vital away goal against the Whitecaps and finished off the match with an assist on Diego Chara's second-half strike. 

    If he replicates his form from the second leg in the Western Conference Final, the FC Dallas defense will be strung apart with holes potentially opening for Darlington Nagbe and Diego Valeri on a consistent basis. 

7. Jesse Gonzalez, GK, FC Dallas

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    Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked 

    Sunday's penalty shootout at Toyota Stadium was Jesse Gonzalez's coming-out party. That's if you didn't know about the FC Dallas goalkeeper's extraordinary talent before the second leg of the Western Conference semifinal. 

    The 20-year-old Mexico international, who put together a terrific month of October in net for Oscar Pareja's side, made two denials in the shootout to help FC Dallas enact revenge from its loss to Seattle at the same stage a year ago. 

    Gonzalez is just one of many young stars who has powered FC Dallas during its incredible season. With a solid core in place, FC Dallas has a chance to develop into a perennial power in the West. 

6. Diego Valeri, AM, Portland Timbers

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    Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Diego Valeri was the driving force of the Portland Timbers attack for the second consecutive match as he was one of the most active players on the turf at BC Place. 

    The 29-year-old Argentinian recorded a team high of 72 touches and dished out three key passes while putting seven shots on goal in Portland's 2-0 road victory. 

    Valeri may have the most impressive postseason stats in the Portland attack, but he is not the only one clicking in the final third at the moment as Darlington Nagbe has also contributed in a positive fashion over three matches. 

5. Wil Trapp, CDM, Columbus Crew

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    Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked 

    Wil Trapp was fantastic in both legs of the Crew's Eastern Conference semifinal clash versus Montreal. 

    In the second leg at Mapfre Stadium, Trapp dictated the pace of the game for long stretches as he made 103 touches and completed 87.5 percent of his 88 passes. Trapp had a pass-success percentage of 88.9 on 72 passes and 80 touches in the first leg. 

    In both matches against the Impact, Trapp brought a rare amount of consistency to the pitch that few players across the league matched in the first two weeks of the playoffs. 

    The real measuring stick of Trapp's progression will come in the Eastern Conference Final as he faces off against the three-headed central midfield monster of Sacha Kljestan, Dax McCarty and Felipe. 

4. Fabian Castillo, AM, FC Dallas

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    Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Fabian Castillo didn't find the back of the net for the second straight match, but he did combine well with the rest of the FC Dallas attack in the thrilling win over the Seattle Sounders. 

    The dynamic Colombian recorded five of FC Dallas' 25 shots and contributed three key passes in the match, which was decided by penalties. 

    If Castillo and Mauro Diaz continue to deliver a high level of play for 90 minutes in the Western Conference Final, it will be hard picking against FC Dallas to clinch a spot in the MLS Cup. 

3. Kei Kamara, FW, Columbus Crew

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    Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    Kei Kamara recovered from his awful first-leg performance against Montreal with a dominant showing in the air at Mapfre Stadium.

    Kamara made participants at the NFL Combine jealous of his vertical on both of his goals as he rose high above the Montreal defenders in the fourth and 111th minutes. 

    Although Kamara missed a golden chance minutes after his first goal and failed on a second-half penalty, he rebounded from both misses by netting the semifinal-winning goal in extra time. 

2. Mauro Diaz, AM, FC Dallas

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    Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

    The magical little midfield wizard in the FC Dallas attack was a massive reason why FC Dallas come out on top against the Sounders on Sunday. 

    Mauro Diaz, who is arguably the most exciting attacker in the league right now, did plenty of things right that weren't measurable by stats. If we based his ranking just off his three shots off target, zero goals and zero assists, we wouldn't be doing our job right. 

    How the Portland back four tries to contain Diaz will be one of the biggest storylines heading into the Western Conference Final. 

1. Dax McCarty, CM, New York Red Bulls

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    William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Many people around MLS would select the player immediately below Dax McCarty as the postseason's Most Valuable Player to date, but a strong case can be made for the New York Red Bulls captain as well. 

    Unlike many players on this list, McCarty impressed over the duration of his Eastern Conference semifinal matches with D.C. United. 

    McCarty scored a goal in the first leg and helped shut down the inept D.C. attack from his defensive midfield role. Due to his contributions on and off the ball on both sides of the pitch, McCarty is a deserving No. 1 through two weekends of playoff action. 

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

    All statistics obtained from MLSSoccer.com and WhoScored.com

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