Rookie Rankings: Cascio continues to make chances count

Tony Cascio - 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.

Nick DeLeon remains at the top of the 2012 rookie class, but Tony Cascio is beginning to siphon off some of the D.C. United standout's hype after another solid performance against Chivas USA. The former UConn forward scored his team's opener and helped set up Kamani Hill for the all-important second. Now the question is what happens to Cascio once Conor Casey is back in the lineup?

Ryan Meara moved back into third in this week's rankings, a reward for his first shutout of the season. Surely, that's a monkey off the first-year netminder's back. Meanwhile, Kelyn Rowe nearly dropped out of the rankings altogether and Raymon Gaddis moved up, two players with diverging momentum.  

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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

At this point, it's going to take a Herculean effort for anyone to knock DeLeon off his perch. He didn't notch a goal or an assist last weekend against Houston, but was his normal disruptive self: full of running and verve in 90 more solid minutes for United coach Ben Olsen.

2

2

Tony Cascio

Goals don't come much better than the one Cascio scored against Chivas USA this weekend. A long corner found him on the back post, the Rapids winger brings it down first time with his chest and hits a shot with pace and curl first time just inside the post. Not impressed? Did we mention he also added his first assist of the season?

3

4

Ryan Meara

It's been a busy week for Meara. Most importantly, he earned his first clean sheet against the Revs, a well-deserved reward for anchoring New York's shaky defense. More interestingly, Meara was denied a call-up to Irish U-21 national team for European qualifiers, an impressive step forward for a player who only recently turned pro.

4

5

Raymon Gaddis

Gaddis moves up mostly by default, as his performance against San Jose was the worst of his brief MLS career thus far. The Union defender's turnover led to Steven Lenhart's first goal and the second half in general will be one he'll want to forget. Still, he should get more chances to prove himself, and to dismiss his previous performances out of hand would be foolish.

  • Last Week: Lost to San Jose 2-1 (82 min)
  • This Week: Saturday at Philadelphia (4:30 pm, NBCSN)
  • Season Statistics: 3 GP, 3 GS
  • MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager: 15 points, $4.1 million (8.3 percent owned)

5

3

Kelyn Rowe

Rowe started his seventh straight game against New York, but only made it through what was a disappointing first half for New England before being removed. After a promising start, his rookie campaign has lost a little steam, but a few bumps in the road are be expected after making the leap to the professional ranks.

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