Rookie Rankings: Crew's Urso joins top 5 after solid start

Rookie Rankings Urso

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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.

Make it three straight weeks at the top for Nick DeLeon, who was a unanimous choice at the top once against after week six in which he recorded his second and third assists of the season. Those feeds, in addition to two AT&T Goal of the Week-worthy strikes in the season's first month, are fueling what appears to be the beginning of a ROY campaign.

Moving into the top five this week was Kirk Urso, who has played every minute so far for a Crew side still trying to find their form and best 11. Tony Cascio also moved up after regaining his starting spot, while the top three remained unchanged from last week.

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

Rank Trending Last Player Comment

1

1

Nick DeLeon

No movement at the top. If anything, DeLeon increased his lead on his fellow rookies over the weekend. His corner found Dwayne De Rosario to set up Maicon Santos' opening goal, then the former Louisville standout fed Chris Pontius with a running header for the game-winner. It's hard to imagine Ben Olsen pulling him from the lineup Wednesday against Montreal – or anytime soon for that matter.

2

2

Ryan Meara

Meara is still waiting for that elusive first clean sheet, but he continues to acquit himself well in less than ideal circumstances in New York. Against San Jose at the weekend, his defense didn't give him much of a chance to save Rafael Baca or Chris Wondolowski's first-half efforts, but Meara did what he had to in order to preserve the 2-2 draw.

3

3

Kelyn Rowe

Another week, another 90 minutes for the young midfielder who is quickly establishing himself in MLS. Rowe wasn't shy with the ball at his feet against United, uncorking five shots, but he got just one effort on goal. He was also outshined by fellow rookie DeLeon, but there is still plenty of time for the UCLA product to narrow the gap.

4

5

Tony Cascio

After coming on as a sub against RSL – his first appearance off the bench this season – Cascio returned to the starting 11 in Seattle. He didn't pose much of a threat in an attacking sense, the Rapids were quiet as a whole, but helped stymie a potent Seattle attack, which would have had to settle for a point if not for a set-piece goal from Zach Scott.

5

NR

Kirk Urso

After five games in MLS, it appears clear that 19 teams made a mistake passing on Urso in January's SuperDraft. The Crew rectified their mistake by taking the North Carolina midfielder in the Supplemental Draft, and he's responded with five starts while taking over most of the restart duties.

Also receiving votes: Sebastian Velasquez, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Luis Silva, Casey Townsend, Andrew Wenger, Ethan Finlay, Raymon Gaddis