Rookie Rankings: Chicago's Berry moving up the ladder

Rookie Rankings Austin Berry

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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.

Ryan Meara has taken over Nick DeLeon's spot at the top, and he doesn't look likely to surrender it anytime soon. DeLeon, meanwhile, is dealing with a niggling hamstring strain and must get healthy before the hard charging Austin Berry or Tony Cascio passes him up. Still, one good week or an extended run in D.C. United's starting 11 and DeLeon is right back in the mix.

After yet another start, Philadelphia's Raymon Gaddis is back in the mix, while some of the season's early crop of standouts are beginning to fade into reserve roles with their respective sides.

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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

Ryan Meara

Meara's three-game shutout streak is over, but he won't care one bit. New York won for the fourth straight game on Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia, rewarding Meara's handful of brilliant saves with a second-half winner. With each game that passes, it looks like MLS has found its next upwardly mobile goalkeeping prospect.

2

2

Nick DeLeon

For the second straight week, DeLeon was an unused substitute on D.C. United coach Ben Olsen's bench. Full disclosure: The rookie midfielder was listed as doubtful with a left hamstring strain, one of those injuries coaches are loathe to push. How he responds once healthy will determine whether or not he drops further.

3

5

Austin Berry

To help hold RSL and Sporting KC to a single goal and take four points is quite an accomplishment. Of course, both games came at home, but the Chicago youngster also had to deal with the early exit of his veteran running mate Arne Friedrich against Sporting. He didn't miss a beat, and it appears his grip on a starting spot is getting tighter.

4

3

Tony Cascio

Since the Rookie Rankings politburo got together to start this list, it seems Cascio has been the player most likely to drop when others around him have big games. He drops this week through no fault of his own – Colorado had a bye – but with the expectation that he'll have the opportunity to move up again after two games this week.

5

NR

Raymon Gaddis

Gaddis is back in the rankings after making his fifth straight start against New York, a thrilling game that will surely irk Union manager Peter Nowak, who has put the onus on defensive discipline this season. His new left back tends to be a little better going forward, but has made plenty of progress on the other side of the ball as well.

Also receiving votes: Aaron Shoenfeld, Connor Lade, Sam Garza