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MLS Player Rankings Week 26: Mason Toye leads long list of newcomers

The 20-year-old has six goals in 492 minutes for the Loons, including a brace in a 20 win over LAFC Sunday.

Sep 1, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Minnesota United forward Mason Toye (23) celebrates after scoring a goal in the first half against the LAFC at Banc of California Stadium. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Minnesota United stole the show at the end of Week 26 with an impressive victory at Los Angeles FC powered by a Mason Toye brace. 

Toye is one of three Loons and six new entrants in the latest Major League Soccer Player Rankings. 

Toye and Vito Mannone weren’t the only pair of teammates to land into the top 20, with San Jose also producing two newcomers. 

At the top, Carlos Vela slipped a few places after sitting out Sunday’s match at Banc of California Stadium with an injury.

Our player rankings take into account a player’s form over the last four games, with the most-recent performance carrying a bit more weight. 

20. Latif Blessing, M, Los Angeles FC 

Previous Ranking: 

Sep 1, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles FC midfielder Latif Blessing (7) moves the ball while Minnesota United FC midfielder Hassani Dotson (31) defends during the first half at Banc of California Stadium. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

Latif Blessing is only one of two Los Angeles FC players included in the list after Week 26, a total lower than this season’s average. 

Without Vela in the lineup, the do-it-all midfielder and his teammates were stunned by Minnesota United Sunday at Banc of California Stadium.

The 22-year-old dished out two key passes on 90 touches and made two tackles in the 2-0 defeat

19. Ryan Hollingshead, M, FC Dallas

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Aug 31, 2019; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas midfielder Ryan Hollingshead (12) celebrates a goal during the first half against the FC Cincinnati at Toyota Stadium. (Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports)

Ryan Hollingshead was an unlikely source of scoring production in the FC Dallas lineup throughout August. 

The 28-year-old netted his sixth tally of the campaign and third of the month in Saturday’s 3-1 win over FC Cincinnati.

In addition to finding the back of the net, Hollingshead made three interceptions, two clearances and two tackles against the expansion side.

18. Cristian Espinoza, M, San Jose Earthquakes

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Aug 31, 2019; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Earthquakes forward Cristian Espinoza (10) reacts against the Orlando City FC during the first half at Avaya Stadium. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

Most Newcomer of the Year shortlists will include Cristian Espinoza. 

The 24-year-old Argentinian moved his assist total up to 12 in San Jose’s 3-0 thumping of Orlando City at Avaya Stadium. 

In the last four contests, Espinoza produced a trio of helpers in the Quakes’ playoff push. 

17. Vito Mannone, GK, Minnesota United

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Sep 1, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Minnesota United goalkeeper Vito Mannone (1) defends the goal against the LAFC in the second half at Banc of California Stadium. Minnesota United defeated LAFC 2-0. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Mannone became the third goalkeeper in MLS to hit double digits in shutouts Sunday in California. 

The former Arsenal man turned away each of the eight shots sent in his direction by the LAFC attack. 

The 31-year-old conceded on three occasions in the last four games and is two saves away from hitting the century mark. 

16. Ola Kamara, F, D.C. United

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Aug 31, 2019; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; D.C. United forward Ola Kamara (14) reacts with teammates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Impact during the first half at Stade Saputo. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

No matter what team he’s playing for, all Ola Kamara has ever done in MLS is score goals. 

Since his return to the league from China, the Norwegian forward has scored three times for D.C. United in four matches. 

The 29-year-old’s brace in Saturday’s 3-0 win in Montreal moved him over 50 goals in his MLS career. 

15. Chris Wondolowski, F, San Jose Earthquakes

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Aug 31, 2019; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Jackson Yueill (14) celebrates with forward Chris Wondolowski (8) after scoring a goal against the Orlando City FC during the first half at Avaya Stadium. (Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)

Speaking of MLS strikers who do nothing but hit the back of the net, Chris Wondolowski deposited two shots into the goal Saturday. 

The league’s all-time leading scorer is now up to 13 tallies for the season after bagging four in his last three starts. 

It is Wondolowski’s sixth-best single-season total during his streak of 10 straight double-digit scoring campaigns. 

14. Carles Gil, M, New England Revolution

Previous Ranking: 

Aug 24, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Revolution forward Carles Gil (22) passes the ball against the Chicago Fire at Gillette Stadium. (Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)

For just the second time since the start of July, Carles Gil failed to provide a goal or assist for the New England Revolution. 

The 26-year-old Spaniard was still active in the final third by making four key passes and putting a single shot on goal.

But the lack of a goal or assist and the production of others moving up the list dropped Gil out of the top 10 for the first time since Week 19. 

13. Miles Robinson, D, Atlanta United

Previous Ranking: 8

Aug 27, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Minnesota United midfielder Jan Gregus (8) and Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson (12) contest a corner kick during he first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)

Miles Robinson and the Atlanta United defense gave up three goals for the first time since July 26 in their defeat to Philadelphia. 

The Five Stripes appeared to hit a wall in the second half due to the combination of tired legs and the Union controlling the contest for the final 30 minutes. 

When the international break ends, Robinson and Co. have a tough stretch of five games that includes back-to-back midweek contests .

12. Kai Wagner, D, Philadelphia Union

Previous Ranking: 15

Aug 31, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union defender Kai Wagner (27) looks to pass the ball during the first half against the Atlanta United at Talen Energy Stadium. (Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

Kai Wagner extended his advantage as the top assisting defender in MLS with his eighth handout in the Union’s come-from-behind win over Atlanta. 

The 22-year-old left back also came up big on the defensive end with five clearances, five tackles and a blocked shot. 

11. Mason Toye, F, Minnesota United

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Sep 1, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Minnesota United FC forward Mason Toye (23) reacts while chasing down the ball during the second half against Los Angeles FC at Banc of California Stadium. (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)

Toye was the unexpected star of Week 26. 

The New Jersey native bagged a brace on the road for Minnesota United to hand LAFC a rare defeat. 

The 20-year-old has six goals in 492 minutes for the Loons and is in camp with the United States U-23 squad that is preparing for Olympic qualifying next year. 

10. Raul Ruidiaz, F, Seattle Sounders

Previous Ranking: 14

Sep 1, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Sounders FC forward Raul Ruidiaz (9) dribbles against the Los Angeles Galaxy during the first half at CenturyLink Field. (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)

Raul Ruidiaz’s scoring streak is up to three games after he netted one of four Seattle goals in Sunday’s win over the LA Galaxy. 

In his last three contests, the Peruvian forward has three goals and two assists for a Sounders side that has gotten back on track with seven points in that span. 

The Sounders are currently second in the Western Conference with 46 points, but the margins will be thin for the rest of the season with six points separating second and eighth.

9. Ike Opara, D, Minnesota United

Previous Ranking: 18 

Jul 20, 2019; Sandy, UT, USA; Real Salt Lake midfielder Sebastian Saucedo (23) and Minnesota United defender Ike Opara (3) battle for the ball in the second half at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)

Ike Opara’s Defensive Player of the Year resume got a bit stronger in Week 26 thanks to his performance versus LAFC.

The 30-year-old made 10 clearances against the high-powered LAFC attack that sent eight shots at Mannone. 

If he wins the league’s top defensive honor, Opara will have earned it. Adrian Heath’s side has to face Houston, Real Salt Lake, Portland, Sporting KC, LAFC and Seattle to finish the regular season. 

8. Kacper Przybylko, F, Philadelphia Union

Previous Ranking: 11

Aug 31, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union forward Kacper Przybylko (23) celebrates after scoring a goal during the second half against the Atlanta United at Talen Energy Stadium. (Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

Kacper Przybylko continues to be one of the streakiest scorers across MLS. 

The 26-year-old struck twine for the fourth time in the last five games to help put Philadelphia back on top of the Eastern Conference. 

In addition to his current run, Przybylko has scoring runs of three and four matches.

7. Zdenek Ondrasek, F, FC Dallas

Previous Ranking: 10 

Aug 31, 2019; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas forward Zdenek Ondrasek (13) runs on the field during the second half against the FC Cincinnati at Toyota Stadium. (Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports)

Zdenek Ondrasek’s unreal run in front of net extended into Week 26.

The Czech forward scored for the fourth time in three matches in FC Dallas’ victory over FC Cincinnati. 

During his recent run of form, the 30-year-old has been one of the most active attackers in MLS by placing nine shots on target. 

6. Maxi Moralez, M, New York City FC

Previous Ranking: 7

Aug 31, 2019; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; New York City FC midfielder Maximiliano Moralez (10) battles for the ball against Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Inbeom Hwang (4) during the first half at BC Place. (Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Maxi Moralez was not credited with an assist in Week 26, but he delivered one of the passes of the week to Gary Mackay-Steven in New York City FC’s road win at Vancouver. 

The 32-year-old holds a three-assist advantage over Vela and Diego Valeri for the honor of MLS’ top passer. 

Moralez has ample opportunities to keep that title with NYCFC playing six September matches. 

5. Carlos Vela, F, Los Angeles FC

Previous Ranking: 2

LAFC forward Carlos Vela (10) scores a goal against LA Galaxy in the first half at Banc of California Stadium. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Vela takes a back seat to other top scorers in MLS this week because he did not step on the field for LAFC. 

The Mexican forward picked up a knock in El Trafico and was held out to rest ahead of the September 14 visit to Philadelphia. 

LAFC is 1-1 without the Golden Boot leader in the lineup in 2019.

4. Gustavo Bou, F, New England Revolution

Previous Ranking: 5

Aug 31, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Revolution forward Gustavo Bou (7) reacts after scoring against the Toronto FC during the second half at Gillette Stadium. (Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)

Gustavo Bou rescued a point for the New England Revolution Saturday night.

The Argentinian scored for the fourth straight game to force a 1-1 draw at home with Toronto FC.

The tie kept the Revs one point ahead of Toronto FC in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and moved them two in front of Montreal. 

3. Heber, F, New York City FC

Previous Ranking: 4

Aug 24, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC forward Heber (9) controls the ball against the New York Red Bulls during the second half at Yankee Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports)

Heber racked up his 14th tally of his initial MLS campaign in Vancouver. 

The goal occurred on the Brazilian’s lone strike of the contest in which he only played 21 minutes. 

The status of the 28-year-old is worth watching since NYCFC has a high volume of matches in the penultimate month of the regular season. 

2. Josef Martinez, F, Atlanta United

Previous Ranking: 3

Aug 31, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez (7) and Philadelphia Union defender Jack Elliott (3) give chase for the ball during the first half at Talen Energy Stadium. (Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

Josef Martinez scored in his 13th straight league game Saturday.

The Venezuelan finished off a beautiful combination move with Darlington Nagbe for the Five Stripes’ lone goal at Talen Energy Stadium.

The last time Martinez failed to score in an MLS contest was May 19.

1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, F, LA Galaxy

Previous Ranking: 1

Sep 1, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei (24) reacts after surrendering a goal to Los Angeles Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (9) during the second half at CenturyLink Field. (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)

 Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted his seventh goal in four games during the seven-goal shootout at CenturyLink Field. 

The strike kept the Swede level with Martinez for second place in the Golden Boot race, four behind Vela. 

Ibrahimovic could end up with 30 goals since the Galaxy have a favorable finish to the season that begins with Colorado September 11. 

 

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