Connect with us

Atlanta United FC

MLS Player Rankings Week 17: Fernandez, Moralez top list thanks to incredible form

Jun 30, 2019; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Timbers forward Brian Fernandez (7) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first half against FC Dallas at Providence Park. (Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports)

For the first time in a month, the MLS Player Rankings are back. 

Since our last rankings, Major League Soccer took an international break, had a brief Week 16 schedule and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matches in Week 17 to welcome us back to domestic play.

Since so much has changed since out last list, we’ve given everyone a fresh slate to work with. 

The majority of the players in the rankings this week were the best Week 17 had to offer, as well as some of the stars of the first half of the 2019 campaign. 

Once action gets rolling again in MLS, which it will in a fast way in Week 18, we’ll go back to using the sample size of the last four performances to determine the top 20, but we thought it wouldn’t be fair to apply that this week because of the large gap of time between games for some players. 

20. Kacper Przybylko, F, Philadelphia Union 

Even though the Philadelphia Union only got one point out of two games in Week 17, Kacper Przybylko rediscovered some form in front of the net. 

The German-born Polish striker scored his fifth and sixth goals of the season against New England and New York City FC. 

Saturday’s strike at Yankee Stadium was the better of the two. Przybylko struck his shot on the volley after a lovely backheel assist from Jamiro Monteiro. 

19. Carles Gil, M, New England Revolution

New England Revolution midfielder Carles Gil (22) controls the ball away from D.C. United midfielder Russell Canouse (4) during the second half at Gillette Stadium.

May 25, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Revolution midfielder Carles Gil (22) controls the ball away from D.C. United midfielder Russell Canouse (4) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

In two games against Philadelphia and Houston in Week 17, Carles Gil handed out 13 key passes and picked up an assist on Brandon Bye’s opener on Wednesday. 

The 26-year-old Spaniard has been one of the more active attackers in the Eastern Conference this season, but hasn’t received enough headlines because of how miserable the Revs looked at the end of the Brad Friedel-era. 

Gil is averaging 2.9 key passes and 1.6 shots per game in his first MLS season. 

18. Hassani Dotson, D, Minnesota United

Hassani Dotson has been one of the recent revelations of the MLS campaign. 

The No. 31 overall pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft has scored in two of his last three games, including a rocket of a shot that produced the second of seven Loons goals on Saturday against FC Cincinnati.

Dotson’s played well with Romain Metanire on international duty with Madagascar, and once Metanire gets back, the Loons will have a terrific stable of fullbacks at their disposal. 

17. Brian White, F, New York Red Bulls

Aug 29, 2018; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York Red Bulls forward Brian White (42) chases the ball during the second half against the Houston Dynamo at Red Bull Arena. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

Brian White stepped up in a massive way for the New York Red Bulls while Bradley Wright-Phillips was out injured. 

White, who scored one of three Red Bulls goals against Chicago on Friday, has three goals in his last four starts and has a team-high five goals and two assists on the season.

White’s progression is similar to a few others in the Red Bulls organization who plied their trade with New York Red Bulls II before climbing up the ladder and achieving success in MLS. 

16. Tommy Thompson, D, San Jose Earthquakes

San Jose manager Matias Almeyda deserves all sorts of credit for the wonders he’s worked with the Earthquakes, but the one decision that has caught our eyes the most is moving Tommy Thompson to the back line.

The 23-year-old only made 14 appearances under Mikael Stahre a year ago, but now he’s carved his spot into the starting lineup by playing in 15 games in the first four months of the season. 

Thompson added an extra touch to his season resume on Saturday by scoring in the Cali Clasico win over the LA Galaxy.

15. Sam Vines, D, Colorado Rapids

Jun 28, 2019; Commerce City, CO, USA; Colorado Rapids defender Sam Vines (13) controls the ball against the Los Angeles FC in the first half at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

One of the stranger results of the season occurred on Friday, when the Colorado Rapids shut out Los Angeles FC at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. 

Left back Sam Vines was one of the many defensive pieces that helped Conor Casey’s side pull of its best result of the season. 

In the 1-0 win, Vines made six clearances, three tackles and an interception and helped hold LAFC to three shots on target. 

14. Alejandro Pozuelo, M, Toronto FC 

With his brace against Atlanta United on Wednesday, Alejandro Pozuelo moved his season totals up to seven goals and eight assists. 

Pozuelo’s first goal came off a nice cross from the left wing sent in by Jacob Shaffleburg, and the second was a game-winning penalty kick in stoppage time.

Six of Pozuelo’s seven goals have come through two-goal performances, with the other two coming against Minnesota United and NYCFC. 

13. Sam Johnson, F, Real Salt Lake

One of the more underrated signings in MLS over the offseason picked up his first brace in a Real Salt Lake shirt Saturday night.

Sam Johnson bagged a pair of goals in the rivalry match with Sporting Kansas City to increase his total to three goals in the last four games. 

Johnson and his RSL teammates are one point out of the playoff places in the Western Conference ahead of a midweek matchup with the Columbus Crew. 

12. Nani, M, Orlando City SC

Orlando City forward Nani (17) walks on the field prior to the game against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Orlando City Stadium. (Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports)

Nani reached another milestone in an Orlando City shirt by earning his first two-assist game since joining the Lions. 

The Portuguese winger played a hand in both of the goals netted by James O’Connor side in it 2-0 win over the Columbus Crew.

The former Manchester United star has eight goals and six assists in 15 matches. 

11. Miles Robinson, D, Atlanta United

May 19, 2019; Harrison, NJ, USA; Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson (12) heads the ball during the first half against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

Even though Atlanta United gave up three goals in Week 17, they still boast the best defense in the Eastern Conference. 

Miles Robinson and co. have let in 15 goals, which is the best in the East by four tallies. 

The Five Stripes have the second-best defensive mark in MLS behind LAFC and they are one of four teams that have conceded fewer than 20 strikes. 

10. Valentin Castellanos, M, New York City FC 

Say what you want about the antics of Valentin Castellanos on Saturday night, but he was the most effective and lively attacker in NYCFC’s 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Union.

Castellanos played a key role in earning the pair of penalties that led to the first two NYCFC strikes, which were netted by Maxi Moralez. 

The 20-year-old Argentinian finished off NYCFC’s victory with a pair of second-half strikers against a frustrated Union side to bring the Pigeons within six points of first place in the East. 

9. Diego Chara, M, Portland Timbers

Jun 30, 2019; Portland, OR, USA; FC Dallas midfielder Paxton Pomykal (19) is defended by Portland Timbers defender Julio Cascante (18) and midfielder Diego Chara (21) during the first half at Providence Park. (Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports)

When you struggle to find words to describe how well a defensive midfielder is playing, that means he’s been performing at a high level for a long time. 

Diego Chara produced another masterclass showing in the middle of the park for the Timbers in their 1-0 win over FC Dallas on Sunday night.

The tenacious Colombian made six tackles, two clearances, completed 86.8 percent of his 53 passes and even handed out a pair of key passes in attack. 

8. Wayne Rooney, F, D.C. United

Wayne Rooney delivered one of the defining moments of the season with his stunning half-field volley last Wednesday night against Orlando City. 

Rooney also scored a late penalty on Saturday to hand the Black-and-Red a valuable point at home against Toronto FC. 

Saturday’s goal secured the second 10-goal season for the English legend in MLS. He needs three more tallies to top his output from a year ago. 

7. Justin Meram, M, Atlanta United

Justin Meram produced one of the top goals in a week filled with Goal of the Year candidates. 

The 30-year-old produced a brace in his second start for Atlanta United, a 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact.

In fact, the goals were the first two of the season for Meram, who was traded from Columbus to Atlanta in May. 

6. Jan Gregus, M, Minnesota United

May 25, 2019; Saint Paul, MN, Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota United midfielder Jan Gregus (8) celebrates a victory over the Houston Dynamo after a match at Allianz Field. (Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports)

Jan Gregus was one the many Minnesota United players benefitting from FC Cincinnati’s wretched defending on Saturday. 

The Slovakian provided an assist on three of the seven goals tallied by Adrian Heath’s team in the rout at Allianz Field. 

Before Saturday, Gregus’ other four assists came sparingly, with the last one coming on May 25. 

5. Ike Opara, D, Minnesota United

In his 163rd MLS regular-season game, Ike Opara recorded the first brace of his career. 

The center back, who has never scored more than three goals in a single season, was the only player to bag multiple goals for the Loons in their thrashing of MLS’ expansion side FC Cincinnati. 

In 15 games this season, Opara has scored on each of the three shots on goal he’s recorded, and with one more goal, he will have a new career high in strikes. 

4. Vako, M, San Jose Earthquakes

Vako turned in a pair of splendid attacking performances for the Quakes in Week 17 by scoring three goals.

The Republic of Georgia international opened his account for the week with a pair of tallies in Wednesday’s win over Houston. 

He followed that performance up with a goal against the Galaxy, which helped him earn MLS Player of the Week honors. 

3. Carlos Vela, F, Los Angeles FC 

May 24, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela (10) celebrates a goal by midfielder Latif Blessing (7) during the first half against the Montreal Impact at Banc of California Stadium. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

The king of the MLS Player Rankings has been dethroned for at least one week. 

Carlos Vela, who had his second double-digit goal and assist season locked up before the Concacaf Gold Cup break, failed to contribute to a goal in LAFC’s shutout loss to Colorado. 

Friday marked the first time since May 4 that Vela failed to play a role in a single LAFC goal. 

2. Maxi Moralez, M, New York City FC 

While we’ve been busy engulfing ourselves in international competitions, Maxi Moralez has surged up the MLS assist chart to first place. 

Moralez brought his assist total up to 11 on Saturday, when he scored twice and assisted on the other two NYCFC goals. 

Saturday’s performance came after Moralez produced one goal and three assists against FC Cincinnati on June 6. 

1. Brian Fernandez, F, Portland Timbers 

Brian Fernandez has scored six goals in five league games for the Portland Timbers. 

Fernandez’s strike against FC Dallas, which was the lone goal of the contest, came off a thunderous shot from right outside the top of the penalty area. 

The goal against FC Dallas helped Fernandez break MLS history as the first player to score in five consecutive games to start his career. 




Toronto FC Schedule

Get Toronto FC Tickets


Toronto FC Gear




More in Atlanta United FC