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MLS Player Rankings Week 10: Ibrahimovic takes top spot from Vela

After a goal and an assist against the New York Red Bulls, Zlatan Ibrahimovic overtakes Carlos Vela atop the Pro Soccer USA MLS Player Rankings after Week 10

May 4, 2019; Harrison, NJ, USA; LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (9) fights for position against New York Red Bulls defender Connor Lade (5) during the second half at Red Bull Arena. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

For the first time since Week 3, the top spot in the Pro Soccer USA Major League Soccer Player Rankings has changed hands. 

Los Angeles FC’s Carlos Vela made the position his own for the last seven weeks, but after he failed to find the back of the net in Week 10, he gave way to another superstar who plies his trade in Los Angeles. 

LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been lurking beneath Vela in the top five for the last three weeks and he finally forced his way past the Mexican star. 

The same five players who landed in the top five a week ago remain there, but there are plenty of new entrants who could make a surge into the top quadrant of the list with one more impressive performance. 

Our MLS Player Rankings take into account a player’s form over the last four games, with the most recent game carrying the most importance. 

20. Nicolas Lodeiro, M, Seattle Sounders

Previous Ranking: 15 

Apr 24, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro (10) dribbles against the San Jose Earthquakes during the second half at CenturyLink Field. (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)

Nicolas Lodeiro was the most active player on the field for the Seattle Sounders in a 1-1 draw with Minnesota United FC on Saturday night at Allianz Field.

Although he made 104 touches and handed out four key passes, Lodeiro was unable to put a shot on target. 

In fact, the only shot on goal managed by the Sounders came on Cristian Roldan’s brilliant strike that found the bottom right corner of the net. 

19. Evan Bush, GK, Montreal Impact

Previous Ranking: 12 

May 4, 2019; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush (1) looks on during the first half of the game against the New York City FC at Stade Saputo. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

After stringing together a pair of clean sheets in Week 9, Evan Bush’s shutout streak ended at home in a 2-0 loss against New York City FC on Saturday. 

Bush gave up a pair of tallies to Dome Torrent’s side and he only stopped three of the shots sent in his direction at Stade Saputo.

Bush has conceded multiple goals in four of the games in which he has been beaten by opposing strikers in 2019.

18. Jesse Gonzalez, GK, FC Dallas

Previous Ranking: 9

Apr 27, 2019; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez (1) in action during the match against the San Jose Earthquakes at Toyota Stadium. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

Jesse Gonzalez let in more than one goal in a game for the first time since March 30 in Saturday’s 2-1 Texas Derby defeat to the Houston Dynamo.

The FC Dallas goalkeeper only made two saves in the loss that put the Dynamo one step closer to winning back El Capitan. 

Since recording 12 saves in two games against Portland and Atlanta United, Gonzalez has only made four saves in the last two weeks. 

17. Mark-Anthony Kaye, M, Los Angeles FC 

Previous Ranking: 10 

Courtesy of LAFC

Mark-Anthony Kaye was once again active on the ball for LAFC on Saturday, but he didn’t make a significant impact on the final score like previous weeks. 

The Canadian midfielder completed 85.2 percent of his 88 passes and made 98 touches in a LAFC midfield that relentlessly tried to break down the Chicago Fire defense in a 0-0 draw.

Through 10 games, Kaye has a pass-completion percentage of 83.3 on an average of 55.8 passes. 

16. Shea Salinas, D, San Jose Earthquakes

Previous Ranking: 13

Apr 24, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Shea Salinas (6) dribbles against the Seattle Sounders FC during the first half at CenturyLink Field. (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)

Shea Salinas got caught in a logjam of players surging into the rankings, which is why he fell three spots despite helping the San Jose Earthquakes earn a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over FC Cincinnati on Saturday. 

The veteran fullback, who stole the headlines for his scoring prowess in recent weeks, was part of a defensive unit that conceded three shots to the expansion side while playing with a man down for most of the second half. 

Salinas didn’t show up much in the stat line, but played his part to extend the Quakes unbeaten run to four games. 

15. Romain Metanire, D, Minnesota United

Previous Ranking: 20 

Apr 24, 2019; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota United defender Romain Metanire (19) protects the ball from LA Galaxy defender Emmanuel Boateng (24) during the second half at Allianz Field. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Romain Metanire is arguably the best in-form fullback in MLS. 

As we mentioned above, the Sounders only placed one shot on target in the 1-1 draw between them and Minnesota United on Saturday.

Metanire’s ability to contain the Seattle wingers stifled the amount of significant chances the visitors could put on goal. Jan Gregus and Ike Opara were two of the other defensive-minded Loons who deserve credit for Saturday’s performance. 

14. Sam Johnson, F, Real Salt Lake

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Real Salt Lake hasn’t been able to strike a rich vein of form from a team perspective, but one of its top offseason acquisitions is in the middle of an impressive stretch.

Forward Sam Johnson scored for the third time in four games in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to the Portland Timbers. 

Johnson is responsible for three of the seven goals the Claret-and-Cobalt have recorded over the last four matches. 

13. Ezequiel Barco, M, Atlanta United

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

After a one-week absence, Atlanta United’s young phenom is back in the top 20. 

Ezequiel Barco scored one of the best goals of Week 10 in his side’s 3-0 win over Sporting Kansas City and he produced his first assist of the season. 

Since the start of April, Barco has three goals on seven shots on goal. His form is promising, but the Five Stripes will be without Barco while he represents Argentina at the U20 World Cup. 

12. Mauro Manotas, F, Houston Dynamo

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Mauro Manotas bagged his first brace of the season in Houston’s rivalry win over FC Dallas. 

The Colombian forward opened the scoring from the spot and clinched the victory with a strike off a brilliant counter attack. 

Manotas has three goals in the last two games and is now up to five goals and four assists for the season. 

11. Diego Valeri, M, Portland Timbers

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

May 4, 2019; Sandy, UT, USA; Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri (8) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Real Salt Lake during the second half at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports)

Diego Valeri and the Portland Timbers have quietly put together a three-game winning streak in the middle of their 12-game road trip to start the season. 

It’s no surprise the midfield maestro has been the offensive catalyst during the winning run with one goal and three assists. 

In nine games, Valeri has picked up two goals and six assists. 

10. Josef Martinez, F, Atlanta United

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

The 2018 MLS Golden Boot winner found his scoring stride in Kansas City on Sunday. 

Josef Martinez doubled his season goal total with a pair of tallies in Atlanta’s statement win over Sporting Kansas City. 

The scorer of four goals in 2019 totaled four key passes and three shots on target with his 45 touches. 

9.  Jack Elliott, D, Philadelphia Union

Previous Ranking: 20 

During the Philadelphia Union’s five-game home winning streak, they have outscored opponents 16-2. 

Jack Elliott’s play in the back line has played a major role in keeping teams off the scoreboard at Talen Energy Stadium.

In addition to putting in a pair of strong defensive performances in Week 10, Elliott scored the opening goal in Saturday’s win over New England. 

8. Kacper Przybylko, F, Philadelphia Union

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

One of the hottest scorers in MLS is a player who came to Philadelphia as a free agent in September and started the season in the USL Championship.

Kacper Przybylko has scored in each of his three starts and he’s put nine shots on target during the three-game stretch. 

Przybylko’s goals have come against Vancouver, FC Cincinnati and New England, and now he faces his toughest foe yet on Saturday in Toronto FC. 

7. Kei Kamara, F, Colorado Rapids

Previous Ranking: 11 

Kei Kamara moved his goal total up to seven with a pair of penalties in Colorado’s 3-2 defeat to Vancouver. 

Kamara has now scored in five of the last six games for the Rapids, who are mired in last place in the Western Conference.

Unfortunately, Kamara’s form is one of the only positive things the club can hang its hat on.

6. Eduard Atuesta, M, Los Angeles FC 

Previous Ranking: 6

May 4, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; LAFC midfielder Eduard Atuesta (20) moves the ball against the Chicago Fire in the second half at Banc of California Stadium. The team played to a 0-0 tie. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Eduard Atuesta was on the ball more than double the time any Chicago Fire player touched it on Saturday night. 

Atuesta made 152 touches in the middle of the park for LAFC and completed 91.3 percent of his 127 passes. 

The 21-year-old finished the game with two key passes and a shot on target, but it wasn’t enough to get Bob Bradley’s side a goal at Banc of California Stadium. 

5. Alejandro Pozuelo, M, Toronto FC 

Previous Ranking: 4

May 4, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Toronto FC midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo (10) dribbles the ball as Orlando City SC forward Tesho Akindele (13) defends during the second half at Orlando City Stadium. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Alejandro Pozuelo picked up his sixth assist in six games on the second goal scored by Toronto FC in a 2-0 win at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday. 

Pozuelo and TFC face one of the most difficult weeks of the season in Week 11 with a road trip to Atlanta United on Wednesday and a home clash with surging Philadelphia on Saturday.

Two strong performances from the Spaniard and a pair of victories would establish TFC as one of the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference.

4. Alberth Elis, F, Houston Dynamo

Previous Ranking: 5

May 4, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Dynamo forward Alberth Elis (17) dribbles against FC Dallas defender Reggie Cannon (2) in the second half at BBVA Compass Stadium. (Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports)

With his assist in Houston’s win over FC Dallas, Alberth Elis extended his streak of contributing to a goal to six games. 

Elis has produced an assist in his last two games, and before that, he put together a four-game scoring streak. 

In his last six games, the Honduran forward has four goals and five assists. 

3. Nani, M, Orlando City SC

Previous Ranking: 3

Apr 27, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Orlando City forward Nani (17) during the second half against the New York City FC at Yankee Stadium. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

Nani’s four-game scoring streak came to an end at the hands of Toronto FC on Saturday.

Although he didn’t find the back of the net, the Portuguese winger made plenty of contributions to the Orlando City attack. 

Nani recorded eight key passes and three shots against a TFC defense that limited the Lions to two shots on target. 

2. Carlos Vela, F, Los Angeles FC 

Previous Ranking: 1

May 4, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; LAFC forward Carlos Vela (10) and Chicago Fire midfielder Brandt Bronico (13) battle for the ball in the second half at Banc of California Stadium. The team played to a 0-0 tie. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Carlos Vela did everything in his power to put LAFC on the scoreboard on Saturday, but his effort came up short. 

The Mexican forward dished out five key passes and attempted three shots, with one of them reaching the target. 

The 0-0 draw with Chicago marked the second time LAFC was held scoreless in 2019 and the fourth time in 11 games in which Vela failed to score.

1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, F, LA Galaxy

Previous Ranking: 2

A goal and an assist in the LA Galaxy’s 3-2 loss to the New York Red Bulls were enough to push Zlatan Ibrahimovic over Vela for the top spot. 

The assist on Uriel Antuna’s 39th-minute goal was the second of the season for Ibrahimovic, who celebrated like he was the one who scored the goal. 

Ibrahimovic scored his ninth goal of the season four minutes later, but the Galaxy were unable to hold on to the advantage in the second half. 

Ibrahimovic has two chances to reach double digits in the scoring column in Week 11, with a visit to Columbus on Wednesday and hosting New York City FC at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday.

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