Rookie Rankings: DC's DeLeon atop heap after Week 4

Rookie Rankings: Week 4, DeLeon

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Each week during the 2012 season, MLSsoccer.com's editors will cast their votes for the frontrunners, contenders and dark horses for MLS Rookie of the Year. By way of a virtuoso rookie campaign, Sporting Kansas City's C.J. Sapong took home the award in 2011, leaving a new crop of rookies to fight for the top honor handed out to first-year pros in Major League Soccer.

At this stage of the season, Nick DeLeon is the flavor of the month when it comes to the voting, the result of two AT&T Goal of the Week-worthy strikes in the season's first month. However, Kelyn Rowe and Ryan Meara aren't far behind, while top picks Andrew Wenger and Darren Mattocks haven't hit their strides in Montreal and Vancouver just yet. As playing time and the fortunes of each player change during the coming months, so will these rankings.

Make your voice heard by voting in the poll to the right!

Only MLS regular-season games reflected on schedule and statistics. All times are Eastern.

Rank Trending Last Player Comment

1

NA

Nick DeLeon

Spectacular goals aside – make no mistake, both of DeLeon's strikes have certainly been highlight-reel worthy – the Louisville alum been a revelation for a D.C. United side in need of a jolt on the flanks with Andy Najar away with Honduras' Olympic team and Chris Pontius working his way back from a broken leg.

2

NA

Kelyn Rowe

Some eyebrows were raised when Jay Heaps made Rowe the third pick in the 2012 SuperDraft, but anyone who doubted the 20-year-old UCLA product is eating crow right about now. Rowe has started all four of New England's games thus far, opening his account last weekend in LA by sticking his own rebound past Josh Saunders.

3

NA

Ryan Meara

It hasn't always been smooth sailing for Meara this season, especially in the early going, but the first-year pro from Fordham is making progress. He'll be disappointed to be beaten twice at his near post against Montreal at the weekend, but Meara's job should get easier as NY's defense improves.

4

NA

Tony Cascio

Cascio wasn't the most hyped pick in this year's SuperDraft (14th overall), but the UConn product has stepped in ably for Oscar Pareja on the left flank. He isn't a 90-minute player just yet – Pareja has only left him on past the 70th minute once – but he's been a menace in wide areas with his pace and physicality.

5

NA

Andrew Jean-Baptiste

Jean-Baptiste wasn’t supposed to play much this year, but the big 19-year-old center back has filled in admirably after injuries ravaged Portland's backline. His composure on the ball and simple, accurate distribution from the back have been pleasant surprises – as was his goal against Philadelphia.

Also recieving votes: Sebastian Velasquez, Luis Silva, Casey Townsend