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MLS Player Rankings Week 4: FC Cincinnati trio enter top 20

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Although there were only five games played in Week 4 of the Major League Soccer season, there were quite a few individuals who stood out with their play. 

Some of Week 4’s top performers have quietly put together impressive starts to the 2019 campaign, including a few from expansion side FC Cincinnati

Since there were a few players worthy of breaking into the MLS Player Rankings, the bottom half of the top 20 list features a bevy of new players. 

The top half remains the same going into Week 5 because it is filled with some of the league’s best in March. 

Our weekly player rankings take into account the last three or four performances from a player, and the higher-ranked stars are the ones in the best form, while the most-recent outing from each player carries some weight as well. 

20. Spencer Richey, GK, FC Cincinnati

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

All Spencer Richey’s done in the last two weeks is record a pair of clean sheets to help FC Cincinnati rise up the Eastern Conference standings. 

The 26-year-old netminder made a double save in the 61st minute on Sunday to preserve his shutout against the New England Revolution. 

Since giving up four goals in the season opener to Seattle, Alan Koch’s side has given up one goal over the last 270 minutes. 

19. Kai Wagner, D, Philadelphia Union

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Just like Richey, Kai Wagner wasn’t supposed to be a key fixture in his team’s starting lineup, but through four games, he’s been the best player on the Philadelphia Union roster. 

The offseason signing out of Germany’s third division has been as consistent as they come at left back against a few difficult opponents. 

On Saturday against the Columbus Crew, Wagner neutralized the attacking threat of right back Harrison Afful and made five tackles and two clearances. 

18. Kekuta Manneh, M, FC Cincinnati 

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked 

Kekuta Manneh didn’t take the easy path back to MLS, playing for Liga MX side Pachuca and St. Gallen in Switzerland before landing back in Ohio with FC Cincinnati.

The 24-year-old has his breakout game in Orange-and-Blue on Sunday, producing a goal and an assist in the victory over the Revolution. 

If Manneh returns to the form he was in while at Vancouver and Columbus, FC Cincinnati will have a potent attack down the flanks. 

17. Walker Zimmerman, D, Los Angeles Football Club 

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Walker Zimmerman is the fifth different LAFC player to grace the rankings, and he’s the first of three to be included after Week 4. 

The U.S. Men’s National Team center back scored the game-winning goal in the 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night. 

Zimmerman won eight aerial duels, produced three clearances and two interceptions and attempted five shots on home soil on Saturday. 

16. David Accam, F, Philadelphia Union

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked 

David Accam delivered his second multiple-goal performance of his MLS career on an emotional night at Talen Energy Stadium.

Accam bagged a pair of goals in the Union’s 3-0 win over the Crew just a week after his father passed away. 

The former Chicago Fire man earned the MLS Player of the Week award for his efforts on Saturday night. 

15. Kenny Saief, M, FC Cincinnati

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

Kenny Saief should be seriously considered by USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup roster if he continues playing at a high level for FC Cincinnati. 

The 25-year-old midfielder recorded his first MLS goal and second assist in the win over the Revolution two weeks after earning his first assist as a substitute against Atlanta United. 

Saief chipped in all over the field for the expansion side, and as the club begins to find its way in MLS, expect the midfielder to be a key part of its success. 

14. Paxton Pomykal, M, FC Dallas

Previous Ranking: 18 

With so many Homegrown Players in the FC Dallas lineup on Saturday, Paxton Pomykal was one of the more experienced players in the lineup. 

The 19-year-old continued his strong start, as he was the most active FC Dallas player on the ball with 88 touches, and he handed out a pair of key passes in the win over the Colorado Rapids. 

13. Eduard Atuesta, M, Los Angeles Football Club 

Previous Ranking: 17 

Mar 17, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Los Angeles FC midfielder Eduard Atuesta (20) in action during the second half against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

Eduard Atuesta continued to control the middle of the park for LAFC in the victory over Real Salt Lake. 

Atuesta made four tackles on the defensive side of the ball and put three of his four shots on target on the other side of the field. 

The 21-year-old was once again very active on the ball, as he completed 87.4 percent of his 111 passes and recorded 134 touches. 

12. C.J. Sapong, F, Chicago Fire

Previous Ranking: 12 

C.J. Sapong contributed to a goal in each of the Chicago Fire’s first three games, as he has two goals and an assist. 

Sapong will try to keep that streak alive in Week 5, as the Fire host the New York Red Bulls, who he scored a hat-trick against in 2017 as a member of the Union.

11. Nicolas Lodeiro, M, Seattle Sounders

Previous Ranking: 11 

Nicolas Lodeiro continued to thrive outside of MLS this week, contributing assists in two games for Uruguay during the FIFA international window. 

Dating back to September 29, Lodeiro has played a role in 12 of the 25 goals scored by the Seattle Sounders. 

10. Ignacio Piatti, M, Montreal Impact

Previous Ranking: 10 

We’re going to keep letting you know that Ignacio Piatti is underrated until he’s front and center on more league marketing material. 

In three games for the Montreal Impact in 2019, the Argentinian has scored three goals and set up countless other chances. 

9. Alberth Elis, F, Houston Dynamo

Mar 16, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Vancouver Whitecaps defender Derek Cornelius (13) battles for the ball with Houston Dynamo forward Alberth Elis (17) during the first half at BBVA Compass Stadium. (Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports

Previous Ranking: 9

Two weeks ago against Vancouver, Alberth Elis kicked off his quest to repeat as a double-digit goal-scorer and passer, as he produced one goal and two assists for the Houston Dynamo.

Elis should have a good chance of finding the back of the net in Week 5 with the Dynamo facing a Colorado team that already has eight goals against. 

8. Saphir Taider, M, Montreal Impact

Previous Ranking: 8

Saphir Taider is one of those players who does a bit of everything in the middle of the park for the Impact. 

He may not show up on the score sheet every week, but Taider has had an efficient start with an 89.3 pass completion rate and 2.3 key passes per game. 

7. Memo Rodriguez, M, Houston Dynamo

Previous Ranking: 7

If you had to put together a shortlist for Young Player of the Year right now, Memo Rodriguez would be near the top of it. 

The Dynamo Homegrown Player has forced his way into Wilmer Cabrera’s starting lineup by scoring three goals in his last two games. 

6. Darwin Quintero, M, Minnesota United

Previous Ranking: 6

Darwin Quintero topped this list for the first two weeks because of his strong play in the Minnesota United attack. 

After watching the Revs play the way did in Week 4, Quintero and his Loons teammates must be looking forward to their trip to Gillette Stadium on Saturday. 

5. Bill Hamid, GK, D.C. United

Previous Ranking: 

Mar 10, 2019; New York, NY, USA; D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid (24) makes a save in front of New York City FC forward Jonathan Lewis (17) during the second half at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Bill Hamid didn’t receive a USMNT call-up for the March friendlies, but he’s played like he deserves a shout from Berhalter in D.C. United’s first three games.

The Black-and-Red head into Week 5 with the only perfect defensive record in MLS. 

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

Previous Ranking: 3

 Before the international break, Wayne Rooney stole the Week 3 spotlight with his first career MLS hat trick. 

In his last nine MLS regular-season games, Rooney has four multiple-goal performances. 

3. Jordan Morris, F, Seattle Sounders

Previous Ranking: 3

 Jordan Morris has thrived in his new role out on the wing for the Sounders. 

In Morris, Lodeiro, Raul Ruidiaz and Victor Rodriguez, the Sounders have one of the best attacking groups in the league, and they’ll get an opportunity to continue their hot start in Week 5 against Vancouver in their first Cascadia Cup match of the season. 

2. Raul Ruidiaz, F, Seattle Sounders

Previous Ranking: 

Ruidiaz is the most consistent scorer in the league going into Week 5, carrying an eight-game scoring streak into BC Place on Saturday. 

In his last trip to Vancouver, Ruidiaz scored a brace in a 2-1 Sounders win in September.

1. Carlos Vela, M, Los Angeles Football Club

Previous Ranking: 1

Carlos Vela remains atop the list for a third straight week after reinforcing his early-season MVP favorite status. 

Vela played a role in the buildup to LAFC’s first goal on Saturday and he handed out six key passes for Bob Bradley’s team at Banc of California Stadium.

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