Rookie Rankings: DeLeon keeps on rolling for United

Nick DeLeon, Rookie Rankings

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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 rate, Nick DeLeon, who was the unanimous choice for No. 1 again after Week 7, might as well write his name in stone at the top of these rankings. Of course, things can change quickly, but the D.C. United rookie is off to the kind of start even he couldn't have dreamed up a few months ago. After another week and another goal, DeLeon now has three goals and three assists in seven games, numbers that most rookies would gladly take over a full season.

Moving into the top five this week was Philadelphia's Raymon Gaddis, who has jumped into the lineup for the Union and helped the backline record two straight shutouts. Kirk Urso was the lone player to drop out of the top five after spending his first game on the bench this season against Houston.

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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

DeLeon's Rookie of the Year campaign just keeps marching on. Last season's award winner, Sapong, ended the season with five goals and five assists. Through seven games, DeLeon trails both numbers by just two while playing in the midfield. Now the question becomes how long can he maintain this rich vein of form?

2

4

Tony Cascio

Cascio moves up somewhat by default – Ryan Meara allowed four goals over the weekend and Kelyn Rowe's Revs had a bye – but that doesn't mean he doesn't deserve second spot. The former UConn forward put in his second 90-minute performance of the season against LA, keeping his name fresh in manager Oscar Pareja's mind for when Conor Casey returns.

3

3

Kelyn Rowe

Rowe holds his place in the middle of the pack after an off week, one he was surely thankful for after the first chunk of his rookie season. With fresh legs heading into the weekend and a feeble Red Bulls defense on tap, Rowe has a prime opportunity to add to the lone goal he's scored in MLS to date.

4

2

Ryan Meara

Meara isn't getting much help from his patchwork backline, which was without Wilman Conde and Roy Miller against D.C. Rafa Márquez was also missing due to suspension, but Meara won't be happy picking the ball out of his own net four times no matter who is in front of him.

5

NR

Raymon Gaddis

A week after Urso made his first appearance in the Rookie Rankings, Gaddis moves up to take his place. Despite starting (and playing in) only two games this season, the West Virginia product has stepped into Peter Nowak's lineup at right back for back-to-back 1-0 wins. He's still getting used to things with the ball at his feet, but Gaddis' defensive work has been solid.

  • Last Week: Defeated Chivas USA 1-0 (90 min)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. San Jose (7 pm, MLS LIVE)
  • Season Statistics: 2 GP, 2 GS
  • MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager: 13 points, $4.0 million (6.8 percent owned)

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