Rookie Rankings: Silva forces way in as Meara drops out

Rookie Rankings: Luis Silva

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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.

Don't fret, New York Red Bulls fans. Goalkeeper Ryan Meara's absence from the rankings is merely temporary. As soon as he recovers from his ongoing hip injury and earns his way back between the pipes, there's no doubt he'll begin the climb back up the ladder.

And while Meara dropped, three players climbed, led by Toronto FC's Luis Silva. With Danny Koevermans out, it seems increasingly likely that manager Paul Mariner will lean on his rookie attacker, and Silva certainly looks up to the challenge. Meanwhile, FC Dallas' Matt Hedges and New York's Connor Lade filled the void by moving up a spot, and Vancouver's Darren Mattocks and Chicago's Austin Berry held steady at the top.

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

1

Darren Mattocks

For most of 50 minutes against Real Salt Lake, Mattocks found opportunities few and far between. But it only takes a sliver of space for the young Jamaican to punish you, and Nick Rimando found that out the hard way. The veteran goalkeeper came out to smother a ball over the top, but Mattocks won the race, scored his seventh goal of the season and cemented his place at No. 1.

2

2

Austin Berry

Seconds. That's all that separated Berry and his defensive mates from what would have been an extremely impressive shutout victory in San Jose last Saturday. Of course, how many teams have thought the same thing before the Quakes roared back? This time it was Berry watching Steven Lenhart's shot whiz past him on its way to the bottom corner.

3

4

Matt Hedges

A hamstring tweak forced Schellas Hyndman to remove Hedges at halftime against LA, allowing George John to make his first appearance since May. The combination of injury and John's return from a concussion may yet mean that the 22-year-old has peaked in the rankings, but that doesn't dilute his body of work over the past two-and-a-half months.

4

5

Connor Lade

Like Hedges, an influx of talent may mean that Lade has seen the last of regular time in the New York lineup. Then again, he's one of the most versatile players on the squad and Hans Backe, and Thierry Henry for that matter, seems to have take a real shining to him. If he manages to stay in the lineup – no easy feat to say the least – he could continue to rise.

5

NR

Luis Silva

Silva scored his second MLS goal at New England, just in time to see star striker Danny Koevermans go down with a torn ACL. That's not good news for Toronto, but it does give the youngster an opening that could be crucial in his development. He's got the skill and the confidence of manager Paul Mariner. Now, he's got to take advantage of both.

Also receiving votes: Ryan Meara, Nick DeLeon, Raymon Gaddis, Kelyn Rowe, Bryan Gaul, Antoine Hoppenot, Andy Rose