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Final

Rookie Rankings: DeLeon unseated at the top by Meara

Ryan Meara - 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.

Change is the name of the game after Week 9. There is a new No.1 as Ryan Meara continues to distinguish himself in New York, while teammate Connor Lade and Fire center back Austin Berry moved into the top five. Those moves were more indicative of their solid play rather than missteps from those who dropped in the rankings or out altogether. Change is good. Change is healthy.

Even if you don't agree with the MLSsoccer.com editorial staff's breakdown, it has become pretty clear that there are three early frontrunners in the race for MLS Rookie of the Year: Meara, D.C. United's Nick DeLeon and Colorado's Tony Cascio. Over the course of the summer and fall, who will separate themselves even further?

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

3

Ryan Meara

Things just keep getting better and better for Meara. Last week, Ireland's interest in the young netminder went public, then he collected his second straight shutout in LA, a performance punctuated by an incredible save on Juninho's drive to preserve the Red Bulls' 1-0 victory.

2

1

Nick DeLeon

D.C. man falls out of the top spot for the first time in the history of the rankings, but that's not an indication of a drop off of any kind on his part. Meara simply earned the move, and it didn't help that DeLeon was watching from home against Toronto, even if that was likely just a move to give the rook some well-earned rest.

3

2

Tony Cascio

Rapids winger suffered the same fate as DeLeon, dropping a single spot, but don't expect the UConn product to fall out of Oscar Pareja's starting XI anytime soon. With Omar Cummings out for a month, someone has to provide service for Conor Casey. Cascio would appear to be that man, as his crafty game has translated well to MLS.

4

NR

Connor Lade

Welcome to the list, Connor Lade. The New York Homegrown signee wasn't supposed to play much of a role this year, but injuries and circumstance have thrust him into the action. He hasn't missed a beat, putting in several good performances culminating in a poised, professional 90 minutes against Landon Donovan and the Galaxy.

  • Last Week: Defeated LA Galaxy 1-0 (90 min)
  • This Week: Wednesday vs. Houston (7 pm, MLS LIVE), Sunday at Philadelphia (12:15 pm, ESPN2)
  • Season Statistics: 1 A (4 GP, 3 GS)
  • MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager: 20 points, $4.4 million (2.9 percent owned)

5

NR

Austin Berry

It looked like Berry's career was off to the worst start possible when he hauled down Alejandro Moreno in the box, giving Chivas USA an early penalty and 1-0 lead over his Fire. But the big central defender made up for it minutes later by getting onto a Sebastián Grazzini pass for the equalizer, then played dominant, shutdown defense the rest of the way.

Also receiving votes: Kelyn Rowe, Andrew Wenger, Aaron Shoenfeld, Raymon Gaddis