American Player Rankings: Carlos Bocanegra jumps back into the top five

Carlos Bocanegra moves back into the top group as the competition for places heats up.
More movement this week in the rankings as the season moves forward and the players hash themselves out and leave us plenty to talk about.

These rankings take into account everything that has occurred in 2011, but it's hard to ignore current form, making for some very tough choices inside the top five. The biggest question right now is where Steve Cherundolo should be, or if he should be in the top group at all.

On the one hand, when Cherundolo is on the pitch he's top class and one of the three most consistent players the USA has in Europe. On the other hand, he's been on the pitch less this season than last, and his team seems to be doing alright in the matches he misses.

On top of that, fellow defender Carlos Bocanegra is off to a great start with Rangers and is being called one of the best value signings of the season in his league. Bocanegra has had his struggles, mostly with the USA in the Gold Cup over the summer, but is still a solid professional player with a good resume for 2011.

With Jozy Altidore finding his best form ever, Michael Bradley starting to show up big in Italy after nearly a year without making a major impact at the club level, and Maurice Edu still playing well for Rangers, it's going to be hard for any player not getting regular minutes to keep his spot in the top five.

With that said, Cherundolo did enough early in the year and with the USA to keep his spot in the top group for another week. He'll slip down the list, and Jozy Altidore will slide out to make room for Bocanegra, but the movement in the group will continue and should Cherundolo keep being left out at Hannover, don't be shocked if he drops out of the top five soon.
1. Clint Dempsey

Age: 28

Club: Fulham
Position: Midfielder

Last Week: 1

Dempsey and the Cottagers just can't find a win under Martin Jol in the league. Another 0-0 draw this week, but USA fans can be content that Dempsey has been on good form throughout the season. He's being asked to do most of the creative work right now, and that leaves few chances for him in front of goal.
2. Landon Donovan

Age: 29

Club: Los Angeles Galaxy
Position: Midfielder

Last Week: 2

Donovan started his weekend match on the bench, then came on and set the table for the winner as the Galaxy topped Columbus 1-0. Easy choices for the top two spots for sure.
3. Tim Howard

Age: 32

Club: Everton
Position: Goalkeeper

Last Week: 4

A 2-0 loss may look bad on Howard, but he was in good form against Manchester City, making several top quality saves and keeping his team in it to the very last.
4. Steve Cherundolo

Age: 32

Club: Hannover
Position: Defender

Last Week:

Not playing as much in the Bundesliga this season might push Cherundolo out of the rankings in the coming weeks. For now, he drops just one spot.
5. Carlos Boanegra

Age: 32

Club: Rangers
Position: Defender

Last Week: NR

Bocanegra and Edu got on the board this weekend for Rangers, and the defender has been in great form of late. He's back in the top five and could hold his spot for a while.

Honorable Mention
: Michael Bradley, Chievo, got back to club soccer in a big way, helping set up two goals for his new Italian club over the weekend. It was a good week for the Bradley family, with Michael's father finally taking the Egypt post.