Rookie Rankings: 'Caps' Mattocks leaps into pole position

Rookie Rankings: Mattocks

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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.

With roughly half the regular season in the books, the 2012 rookie class continues to impress, as this week's long list of honorable mention candidates suggests.

Of course, it's not all positive, as there was some shuffling at the top after Week 19. The Red Bulls' Ryan Meara finally dropped from the top spot, just as D.C. United's Nick DeLeon did before him. Now, it's Darren Mattocks' mantle to bear, assuming he holds onto his starting spot with Designated Player Kenny Miller now in the fold in Vancouver. Antoine Hoppenot fell as well, replaced by Connor Lade, who bullied his way into the top five by virtue of some serious praise from Thierry Henry and Hans Backe.

Who do you think deserves to be top of the heap? 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

2

Darren Mattocks

There has been change aplenty in Mattocks' neck of the woods. Sébastien Le Toux is gone, replaced by speedster Dane Richards. Kenny Miller joined Barry Robson as a Designated Player, meanwhile the Whitecaps' third DP, Eric Hassli, seems rooted to the bench. Mattocks just keeps scoring, though, giving him the honor of replacing Ryan Meara atop the Rookie Rankings.

2

3

Austin Berry

The Fire center back had the perfect view of Thierry Henry's jaw-dropping winner on Wednesday, stopping by just in time to see the Frenchman take advantage of the sliver of space afforded him by Jalil Anibaba. Hard to blame either center back for that goal, though, and Berry's jump in the rankings reflects what has been a remarkable run of consistent performances.

3

1

Ryan Meara

In a move foreshadowed last week, Meara has finally dropped from the top spot thanks to a hip injury that has kept him out of the Red Bulls' past two games. Now comes the hard part for the first-year netminder: beating out veteran Bill Gaudette to hold onto the No. 1 spot in New York. If he can do that, Meara's stock will certainly rise again.

4

4

Matt Hedges

The UNC alum continues to be a find for beaten-up FC Dallas during their never-ending injury crisis. He combined well with Hernán Pertúz to keep Wondo quiet against San Jose and nearly added a couple headed goals of his own off corner kicks. Schellas Hyndman has to be happy with that, even if a missed PK at the death kept FCD from their second straight road result.

5

NR

Connor Lade

When Henry calls for a rookie to come off the bench in order to change a match, it speaks volumes. That's what happened against Chicago, with Lade supplying the hustle and Henry the golazo. The Red Bulls rookie broke out of defense with the ball to start the move that led to the Frenchman's goal, helping seal his place in this week's top five.

  • Last Week: Drew vs. Seattle, 2-2 (90 min), Defeated Chicago, 1-0 (29 min)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Philadelphia (2:30 pm ET, ESPN)
  • Season Statistics: 1 A (13 GP, 10 GS)
  • ASSIST: Lade sets up Henry
  • MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager: 37 points, $4.5 million (4.5 percent owned)

Also receiving votes: Nick DeLeon, Tony Cascio, Raymon Gaddis, Kelyn Rowe, Andy Rose, Warren Creavalle, Andrew Wenger, Bryan Gaul, Antoine Hoppenot, Aaron Schoenfeld