MLS Player Rankings: Red Bulls' Kljestan, BWP Surge After Drubbing of NYCFC
The one thing everyone who watches Major League Soccer was talking about after Week 12 was the New York Red Bulls' blowout win over New York City FC on Saturday.
The victory by Jesse Marsch's side was an extension of a solid run of form that has taken the club into third place in the Eastern Conference. Sacha Kljestan, who has been the epitome of consistency during the Red Bulls' run of form, has earned a high place on our Bleacher Report MLS Player Rankings due to his individual showing at Yankee Stadium.
In addition to Kljestan's surge up the list of the top-20 in-form players in the league, two other Red Bulls make their debuts on the chart after Week 12.
Our rankings take into account the last four games individuals participated in, with the most recent match holding the most importance.
Continue reading to find out which stars also landed a spot in our latest MLS Player Rankings.
On the Way out
Ineffective performances in the final third in Week 12 cost these four players a spot on the list this week.
Players Dropped out of Ranking
C.J. Sapong (Philadelphia Union; Previous Ranking; 12)
Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids; 17)
Patrick Nyarko (D.C. United; 19)
Alvaro Saborio (D.C. United; 20)
20. Mike Grella, LM, New York Red Bulls
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
The impact Mike Grella has had on the New York Red Bulls goes further than the box score.
The 29-year-old winger has been an integral part of the club's success under Jesse Marsch, and he showed how important he is in the 7-0 crushing of New York City FC.
Grella earned an assist on the second Red Bulls goal and his cross started the melee in the box that led to Bradley Wright-Phillips' second tally of the match.
Unfortunately for the Red Bulls, the Copa America Centenario break is right around the corner, which means their form will slow down a bit.
19. Kei Kamara, FW, New England Revolution
Previous Ranking: 13
Kei Kamara hasn't exactly experienced a dream start to his time in New England.
The former Columbus Crew forward has failed to score on six shots on goal in two games for the Revolution.
The 31-year-old isn't the only player in the squad suffering from a rough patch of form. The team as a whole hasn't hit their stride yet this season.
18. Pedro Morales, CM, Vancouver Whitecaps
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
Pedro Morales might be the quietest player on the Golden Boot leaderboard.
The Chilean, who has done most of his finishing from the spot, scored for the second consecutive week in Vancouver's 4-2 loss to Portland on Sunday.
The 31-year-old midfielder hasn't produced a ton of flashy moments, but he's been able to get the job done for Carl Robinson's side as he has two goals and two assists in his last three matches.
17. Osvaldo Alonso, CM, Seattle Sounders
Previous Ranking: 14
Osvaldo Alonso was on the ball a good amount on Saturday, but he was unable to help the Seattle Sounders earn three points at home against Colorado.
The 30-year-old defensive midfielder made 114 touches, three key passes and finished the match with a pass-completion rate of 91.2 percent.
Alonso's job won't get any easier over the next two games as the Sounders look to take points from New England and D.C. on the road without Clint Dempsey.
16. Jordan Morris, FW, Seattle Sounders
Previous Ranking: 7
Jordan Morris struggled to create chances for the second straight week in Seattle's 1-0 loss to the Rapids.
In his last 180 minutes of action, the Stanford University product has attempted three shots, one of which has been sent in the direction of the net.
To make matters worse for the 21-year-old, he was left off the United States men's national team squad for the upcoming Copa America Centenario.
15. Gyasi Zardes, FW, LA Galaxy
Previous Ranking: 6
Gyasi Zardes is on the USMNT roster for the Copa, but he enters camp in a bit of a rut.
Since his two-assist performance on May 8 against the Revolution, Zardes has been ineffective in the final third for the LA Galaxy.
The lack of influence in front of the net from Zardes has hurt the team's attacking chemistry a bit. Hopefully that changes for the 24-year-old forward when he puts on the red, white and blue in the next month.
14. Lee Nguyen, CM, New England Revolution
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
One of the few things worth talking about in terms of the Revolution's play on the pitch is the form of Lee Nguyen.
The 29-year-old has recorded a goal and an assist in each of his last two matches for the eighth-place side in the Eastern Conference.
If Nguyen continues to heat up over the summer, the traditional push toward the playoffs from the Revolution may come sooner than expected.
13. Keegan Rosenberry, RB, Philadelphia Union
Previous Ranking: 16
Keegan Rosenberry didn't add any one-on-one shutdowns to his personal highlight reel in Week 12, but he did help the Philadelphia Union earn a clean sheet at home.
The Georgetown University product was part of a back line that kept D.C. United quiet for the majority of the 90 minutes at Talen Energy Stadium on Friday night.
The shutout earned by the Union was the first for the club since April 23, when they silenced NYCFC.
12. Axel Sjoberg, CB, Colorado Rapids
Previous Ranking: 18
Some would've thought the Rapids would hit a road block in Seattle on Saturday, but the opposite occurred as Pablo Mastroeni's men continued their winning ways at CenturyLink Field.
Center-back Axel Sjoberg netted his first professional goal in the 1-0 win in which the Supporters' Shield leaders attempted just one shot on target.
On the defensive end of the pitch, the 23-year-old helped the Rapids earn their fifth clean sheet of the year. Colorado is the only team in MLS that has conceded less than 10 goals in 2016.
11. Kekuta Manneh, AM, Vancouver Whitecaps
Previous Ranking: 15
Kekuta Manneh didn't find himself under the spotlight in Week 12, but he was able to extend his scoring streak to two games in Vancouver's loss to Portland.
The 21-year-old attacker has played a role in four of the club's last eight tallies over a span of three games. The recent surge from Manneh and others has helped the Whitecaps move into fourth place in the Western Conference.
The Whitecaps should be able to take three points out of their last MLS match before the Copa break as the struggling Houston Dynamo come to BC Place on Saturday.
10. Bradley Wright-Phillips, FW, New York Red Bulls
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked
Bradley Wright-Phillips wishes every week was Rivalry Week.
The Englishman extended his terrific scoring form against NYCFC from last year into Saturday's blowout win at Yankee Stadium as he found the back of the net on two occasions. The 31-year-old also produced an assist for the second week in a row.
Wright-Phillips, who has scored in each of his four games versus NYCFC, has five goals and two assists in 2016.
9. Chris Wondolowski, FW, San Jose Earthquakes
Previous Ranking: 10
Chris Wondolowski was a part of a poor trend that struck most of the players in the top 10 in Week 12.
The member of the USMNT Copa squad was active in the final third, but he lacked a finishing touch over 90 minutes against the LA Galaxy.
The 33-year-old, who is one week removed from a two-assist performance, has not found the back of the net since April 24.
8. Christian Bolanos, RM, Vancouver Whitecaps
Previous Ranking: 9
Christian Bolanos did not play a role in a Vancouver strike for the first time since April 23 on Sunday.
The Costa Rica international only made 33 touches and two key passes in his team's 4-2 defeat at Providence Park.
The only reason Bolanos and a few others inched up a spot in the top 20 this week is the large drop experienced by those ahead of him a week ago.
7. Fanendo Adi, FW, Portland Timbers
Previous Ranking: 5
Fanendo Adi did not feature in Portland's Cascadia Cup win over Vancouver on Sunday due to a hamstring injury.
The match was the first one the Nigerian forward has missed this season. He came off the bench on April 16, but that was due to a two-game week.
The 25-year-old will attempt to be back on the field for the Timbers' road trip to Chicago in Week 13.
6. David Villa, FW, New York City FC
Previous Ranking: 4
All David Villa could do on Saturday was watch the Red Bulls trash his teammates in defense for seven goals.
The Spanish striker failed to make a mark on the first New York derby of the season due to the domination of the Red Bulls.
The 35-year-old was not much of a factor in NYCFC's 1-1 draw on Wednesday with Toronto FC as he came on as a late substitute.
5. Didier Drogba, FW, Montreal Impact
Previous Ranking: 3
Didier Drogba did not play on the artificial turf at the Citrus Bowl on Saturday.
The Montreal Impact forward's three-game scoring run remained in tact as he avoided the surface like he did earlier in the season.
Drogba will look to score in his fourth straight match on Saturday in a star-studded showdown with the LA Galaxy at Stade Saputo.
4. Ignacio Piatti, CAM, Montreal Impact
Previous Ranking: 11
Before Cyle Larin struck for a pair of goals to hand Orlando City three points on Saturday, Ignacio Piatti drew first blood for the Impact.
The Argentine playmaker notched his seventh tally of the season in the fourth minute of Montreal's 2-1 loss at the Citrus Bowl.
Piatti and Drogba must be at their best in Week 13 if they want to rebound with three points against the Galaxy.
3. Sebastian Giovinco, FW, Toronto FC
Previous Ranking: 1
The picture above perfectly represents the week of Sebastian Giovinco.
The Atomic Ant struggled to find the target in Week 12 as five of his 12 attempts went in the direction of the net.
Giovinco was not himself on Saturday in the 0-0 draw with the Columbus Crew as he missed chance after chance in a match Toronto could've won.
2. Giovani Dos Santos, FW, LA Galaxy
Previous Ranking: 2
Week 12 wasn't a banner week for Giovani dos Santos either as most of the LA Galaxy attack failed to create chances on a consistent basis in the California Clasico.
The Mexico international only placed one of his three attempts on goal in the 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes at StubHub Center.
Dos Santos is above Giovinco this week because he has two assists in his last two games, while the Italian has not contributed to a tally.
1. Sacha Kljestan, CM, New York Red Bulls
Previous Ranking: 8
How Sacha Kljestan isn't on the USMNT radar at the moment is baffling.
The Red Bulls midfielder produced two more assists in the thorough dispensing of NYCFC on Saturday afternoon to bring his season total up to eight.
The 30-year-old has been vital to the resurgence of the Red Bulls. Since April 24, Kljestan has one goal and six assists while the Red Bulls have picked up 13 points.
Joe Tansey covers MLS for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90.