Castrol Weekly Top 20: Find the net, climb to the top

Mac Kandji - Castrol

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When Mac Kandji was signed by the Red Bulls in 2008, then-head coach Juan Carlos Osorio promised huge things from the Sengalese attacker. This is a guy, Osorio explained, who would be in one of the top leagues in Europe within two seasons.

It didn't quite work out that way. Kandji was eventually shipped to Colorado – where he memorably set up the game-winning goal at MLS Cup 2010, tearing ligaments in his knee in the process. He never really found his feet there, and – as in NY – was effective only in spurts.

From Colorado, he was shipped to Houston, and just as in his two previous ports of call, Kandji didn't really seem to fit. He wasn't going to displace Will Bruin as Brian Ching's partner as the second forward in Dominic Kinnear's 4-4-2, he was too slow in his decision-making to play wide midfield, and wasn't rugged enough in the box to take over from Ching and play as a pure No. 9.

Then, a month back, Kinnear switched the Dynamo to a 4-3-3. And for Kandji, it's been like flipping a switch.

The 26-year-old has arguably been Houston's best player since then, operating primarily as an inverted winger on the left side of the field. And he had inarguably his best game as a pro last week, scoring a pair of goals while eviscerating the Montreal Impact. In the process he earned the No. 1 ranking in this week's Castrol Index Weekly Top 20.

Kandji's followed by a host of attackers who also found net multiple times. New York's Kenny Cooper broke his seven-game goal drought with a pair against Philadelphia for the No. 2 spot. He's followed by Landon Donovan, who put home a brace of his own in LA's 3-1 win against Chivas USA.

At No. 4 is one of the other guys who's made Houston's 4-3-3 work, reigning MLS Player of the Week Calen Carr. His two goals against Sporting KC midweek propelled the Dynamo to a 2-1 win, thrusting them squarely into the Eastern Conference playoff hunt. Rounding out the top five is TFC's Ryan Johnson, whose Man of the Match performance against Colorado helped Reds fans forget the loss of Danny Koevermans for a week.

Central defender Matt Hedges of FC Dallas was the only rookie to crack the Top 20 this week, pulling in at No. 19 with his strong showing in FCD's 2-1 loss at San Jose.

Weekly Top 20 Performers - Week 20 Powered by Castrol Index

Rank Player Position Team Minutes Points
1 Macoumba Kandji Forward Houston Dynamo 90 1,615
2 Kenny Cooper Forward New York Red Bulls 90 1,507
3 Landon Donovan Forward LA Galaxy 90 1,429
4 Calen Carr Forward Houston Dynamo 90 1,283
5 Ryan Johnson Forward Toronto FC 90 1,282
6 Bobby Boswell Defender Houston Dynamo 90 1,273
7 Tally Hall Goalkeeper Houston Dynamo 90 1,264
8 Álvaro Saborío Forward Real Salt Lake 90 1,259
9 Andy Gruenebaum Goalkeeper Columbus Crew 90 1,231
10 Matt Reis Goalkeeper New England Revolution 90 1,167
11 Robbie Keane Forward LA Galaxy 90 1,141
12 Bill Gaudette Goalkeeper New York Red Bulls 90 1,127
13 Markus Holgersson Defender New York Red Bulls 90 1,119
14 Jimmy Nielsen Goalkeeper Sporting Kansas City 90 1,101
15 Jon Busch Goalkeeper San Jose Earthquakes 90 1,088
16 Michael Harrington Defender Sporting Kansas City 90 1,086
17 Jacob Peterson Midfielder Sporting Kansas City 90 1,068
18 Hernán Pertúz Defender FC Dallas 90 1,065
19 Matt Hedges Defender FC Dallas 90 1,059
20 Barry Robson Midfielder Vancouver Whitecaps 90 1,029