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MLS Player Rankings Week 22: Marco Fabian, Kei Kamara barge into top 10

Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez moved atop the list after scoring his 18th goal of the season in a 3-0 win over LAFC.

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

It is hard for a player to crack the top 10 of the Pro Soccer USA Major League Soccer Player Rankings if they were not ranked the week prior. 

That trend has been bucked in a major way after Week 22, with Marco Fabian of the Philadelphia Union and Colorado Rapids forward Kei Kamara both bursting into the top half of the rankings.

The duo headline a collection of six new entrants to the list of the top 20 in-form players across MLS. 

At the top, the battle between Carlos Vela and Josef Martinez wages on, while Los Angeles FC once again placed three of its stars in the top 10.

The Pro Soccer USA MLS Player Rankings are determined by a player’s form over the last four games, with the most recent showing carrying a bit more weight. 

20. Julian Gressel, M, Atlanta United

Previous Ranking: 13 

Julian Gressel directs a teammate during Atlanta United's 3-2 loss to Toronto FC at BMO Field in Toronto on June 26, 2019. (Steve Kingsman-Atlanta United)

Julian Gressel directs a teammate during Atlanta United’s 3-2 loss to Toronto FC at BMO Field in Toronto on June 26, 2019. (Steve Kingsman-Atlanta United)

Julian Gressel failed to extend his points streak to four games in Atlanta United’s 3-0 win over the LA Galaxy Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

 The German midfielder handed out four key passes in the victory while completing 76.7 percent of his passes.

19. Brian White, F, New York Red Bulls

Previous Ranking: 11

Jul 27, 2019; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York Red Bulls forward Brian White (42) plays the ball against Columbus Crew SC defender Aboubacar Keita (30) during the first half at Red Bull Arena. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

Brian White could not manage a shot on target in the New York Red Bulls 2-0 win over Toronto FC, ending his second two-game scoring streak of the 2019 campaign. 

White opened August with an 82-minute shift in the victory that moved Chris Armas’ side up to third place in the Eastern Conference. 

Three of White’s last five tallies have come on the road, and he will try to add to that total in Week 23 at Banc of California Stadium against Los Angeles FC.

18. Gustavo Bou, F, New England Revolution

Previous Ranking: 9

New England Revolution forward Gustavo Bou (7) reacts after scoring a goal during the first half

Jul 17, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Revolution forward Gustavo Bou (7) reacts after scoring a goal during the first half against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Gillette Stadium. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Gustavo Bou and the New England Revolution failed to make a statement at home Saturday against LAFC. 

In the 2-0 defeat, the 29-year-old Argentinian didn’t take a single shot over 90 minutes against the defensive unit led by Walker Zimmerman. 

It was the first time Bou did not contribute to a goal since joining the club a few weeks ago.

17. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, F, LA Galaxy

Previous Ranking: 

May 11, 2019; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (9) moves in for a shot on goal against New York City during the second half at StubHub Center. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

In the last month, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored three goals, all in the El Trafico triumph over LAFC. 

That performance was sandwiched between a shotless showing against San Jose and an outing vs. Portland that led to a yellow-card accumulation suspension for Week 22. 

The Swede should be back on the field Sunday for the Galaxy’s nationally-televised clash with D.C. United at Audi Field. 

16. Alexander Ring, M, New York City FC

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Aug 3, 2019; Sandy, UT, USA; New York City midfielder Alexander Ring (8) and Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman (5) go for the ball in the second half at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)

Like Portland’s Diego Chara, New York City FC’s Alexander Ring does not receive as much credit for his performances week in and week out that he deserves. 

The NYCFC captain, who is a relentless worker in the middle of the park, scored for the second game in a row Saturday against Real Salt Lake. 

In addition to being a defensive stalwart, the Finnish midfielder has two goals and two assists in his last 180 minutes. 

15. Ike Opara, D, Minnesota United

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Mar 30, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; Minnesota United defender Ike Opara (3) during the first half against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

Ike Opara returns to the list after Minnesota United climbed up to second place in the Western Conference in Week 22. 

The Loons defense limited the chances provided to Portland’s Brian Fernandez by holding the big-money signing to a pair of attempts on target. 

Opara has anchored a defensive unit that has held opponents to one goal in the last four contests. 

14. Jefferson Savarino, F, Real Salt Lake

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Aug 3, 2019; Sandy, UT, USA; Real Salt Lake forward Jefferson Savarino (7) takes a shot against New York City defender Ronald Matarrita (22) in the first half at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)

Jefferson Savarino has had his way with Eastern Conference defenses at Rio Tinto Stadium in the last month. 

After scoring twice and assisting on another strike on July 13 against the Union, the 22-year-old Venezuelan provided a tally and a handout in the 3-1 win over NYCFC Saturday. 

With his next goal, Savarino will have 20 goals and 20 assists in three season with the Claret-and-Cobalt. 

13. Jordan Morris, F, Seattle Sounders

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Jul 27, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris (13) controls the ball as Houston Dynamo midfielder Tomas Martinez (10) defends during the second half at BBVA Stadium. (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

Jordan Morris is rounding into form at the perfect time for the Seattle Sounders. 

The U.S. Men’s National Team forward netted his second brace of 2019 in his club’s 3-2 loss to Sporting Kansas City Sunday.

Although the Sounders did not win on home turf in Week 22, Morris’ three strikes in two games is a positive development for a team in the thick of the race for a home playoff game in the West beneath LAFC.

12. Magnus Eriksson, F, San Jose Earthquakes

Previous Ranking: 15 

August 3, 2019; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Magnus Eriksson (7) during the first half against the Columbus Crew SC at Avaya Stadium. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

Magnus Eriksson bagged the lone San Jose goal in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with the Columbus Crew. 

The 29-year-old Swede has contributed to a strike in each of the last three Earthquakes games, with two goals and one assist. 

Eriksson and the Quakes head to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Week 23 to take on a Colorado Rapids team he picked up an assist against July 27.

11. Adama Diomande, F, Los Angeles FC

Previous Ranking: 10 

Jul 12, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles FC forward Adama Diomande (99) controls the ball during the first half against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Stadium. (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

Adama Diomande took a back seat to the other forwards in the LAFC lineup in Saturday’s victory at Gillette Stadium.

The Norwegian striker didn’t place a shot on target in 79 minutes against the Revolution after picking up a goal and an assist vs. Atlanta in Week 21. 

10. Heber, F, New York City FC

Previous Ranking: 

Jun 6, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC forward Heber (9) celebrates his goal against FC Cincinnati during the first half at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Heber’s five-game scoring streak that dated back to June 1 came to a halt at Rio Tinto Stadium.

The Brazilian forward put two shots on target in his attempt to bag the 10th goal of his inaugural MLS campaign. 

The 27-year-old will have plenty of opportunities throughout August to bolster his scoring total, starting Thursday at home against a struggling Houston side. 

9. Eduard Atuesta, M, Los Angeles FC

Previous Ranking: 17 

Apr 21, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles FC midfielder Eduard Atuesta (20) celebrates his goal during the first half against the Seattle Sounders FC at Banc of California Stadium. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

Eduard Atuesta continued his remarkable season in the middle of the field with 124 touches, three key passes and an 84.7 percent pass-completion percentage against the Revs.

The 22-year-old Colombian also made five tackles and three clearances in his club’s seventh shutout in league play. 

8. Vako, M, San Jose Earthquakes

Previous Ranking: 4

Jun 29, 2019; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Vako Kazaishvili (11) celebrates after a win against the LA Galaxy at Stanford Stadium. (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)

Despite not finding the back of the net Saturday night, Vako was still an active participant in the Quakes attack. 

The Republic of Georgia international rattled off a pair of shots on target and dished out two key passes against the Crew. 

In his last four matches, the scorer of seven goals has put at least two attempts on the opposing net. 

7. Jozy Altidore, F, Toronto FC 

Previous Ranking: 

Apr 19, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore (17) plays the ball against Minnesota United in the second half at BMO Field. (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

Jozy Altidore’s quest to score in five consecutive games came up short in Toronto FC’s defeat to the Red Bulls. 

In fact, the USMNT forward was unable to fire a single shot at the Red Bulls net against a defense led by international teammate Aaron Long. He was ruled offside on his own shot that eluded Luis Robles.

Altidore and Toronto FC return to league play Saturday against an Orlando City team that will also be dealing with short rest. TFC plays in the Canadian Championship Wednesday, while the Lions took on Atlanta Tuesday in the U.S. Open Cup.

6. Kei Kamara, F, Colorado Rapids

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Aug 3, 2019; Commerce City, CO, USA; Colorado Rapids forward Kei Kamara (23) scores on a penalty kick during the first half against the Montreal Impact at Dicks Sporting Goods Park. (Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports)

Kei Kamara moved into double digits in the scoring column for the third straight season by way of a Saturday hat trick against Montreal.

The Sierra Leone international has hit the 10-goal mark with three different clubs in the last three years. 

In total, Kamara has six double-digit scoring seasons with five clubs (Sporting Kansas City/Kansas City Wizards, New England, Vancouver, Columbus, Colorado) 

5. Marco Fabian, M, Philadelphia Union

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Jun 2, 2019; Saint Paul , MN, USA; Philadelphia Union forward Marco Fabian (10) carries the ball during the second half against Minnesota United at Allianz Field. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Marco Fabian turned in his best performance in a Philadelphia Union shirt at the perfect time for the first-place side in the East.

The Mexican midfielder scored his first brace in MLS, handed out six key passes and sent five of his six attempts on goal. 

Fabian has scored three times in his last five contests after finding the back of the net on three occurrences in his first 10 matches. 

4. Carles Gil, M, New England Revolution

Previous Ranking: 3

Jul 17, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Revolution forward Carles Gil (22) reacts after a goal during the second half against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Gillette Stadium. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

 Carles Gil had a rare off night in the Revolution midfield against LAFC by producing a single shot on target and zero key passes. 

The Revs were held to one attempt on goal in the 2-0 defeat that ended their 11-game unbeaten run in league play. 

The top team in the league ended a run of three straight games with a goal and an assist from the 26-year-old Spaniard. 

3. Diego Rossi, F, Los Angeles FC

Previous Ranking: 7

Aug 3, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; Los Angeles FC forward Diego Rossi (9) celebrates with defender Jordan Harvey (2) and forward Latif Blessing (7) after scoring against the New England Revolution during the first half at Gillette Stadium. (Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

Diego Rossi was one of the few players listed in the top 10 last week to scorch the back of the goal in Week 22. 

The Uruguayan deposited his 13th tally of the season in LAFC’s victory that cooled down the red-hot Revs. 

In 55 MLS games, Rossi has 25 goals and 14 assists. 

2. Carlos Vela, F, Los Angeles FC

Previous Ranking: 1

Jul 3, 2019; Kansas City, KS, USA; Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela (10) dribbles the ball against Sporting Kansas City defender Seth Sinovic (15) during the second half at Children’s Mercy Park. (Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports)

For just the sixth time in 2019, Carlos Vela failed to score in a game in which he started.

That means he has scored in 16 of his 22 starts, a remarkable run that is one of the many reasons why LAFC sits atop the West and Supporters’ Shield standings. 

Vela was still an active part of LAFC’s attack in Week 22 by putting four of his seven shots on goal and handing out a quartet of key passes.

1. Josef Martinez, F, Atlanta United

Previous Ranking: 2

Aug 3, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez (7) reacts after scoring a goal on a penalty kick against Los Angeles Galaxy during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)

Josef Martinez moved within four goals of Vela in the Golden Boot race with his tally against LA Galaxy Saturday. 

With his 18th tally of 2019, the Venezuelan tied the MLS mark for longest consecutive scoring run at nine games, a point he hit a year ago as well. 

Martinez will try to become the first player in league history to hit the back of the goal on 10 straight occasions Sunday against NYCFC. 

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