Rookie Rankings: Chicago Fire's Harry Shipp reclaims top spot in World Cup-shortened month

Harrison Shipp No 2 (Rookie Rankings)

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USA Today Sports

Once a month throughout the 2014 MLS season, MLSsoccer.com will take stock of the performances of rookie players, looking at which first-year professionals are making the biggest impact for their team and in the league.

The June Rookie Rankings reflect all games in the month up to and including the end of Week 16 on June 29, though games on Sunday, June 1 were counted as part of May's rankings.


The World Cup shortened MLS' June schedule, but it was more than enough time for Chicago Fire midfielder Harry Shipp to re-establish himself at the top of the Rookie Rankings. Despite the Fire's loss back on June 7, Shipp turned heads with a pair of stunning efforts to keep his team in the game against the Sounders. This one was the finest:

And though it wasn't factored into this month's rankings, Shipp hit a sixth goal of the season on Wednesday night against Toronto FC, which has him well on his way for July.

The man behind Shipp is still Patrick Mullins, who struggled to make an impact after an improbable streak in May, just as the Revs' hot run began to cool off. Dallas' Tesho Akindele is close on Mullins' heels after picking up his first career assist, as he continues to get significant minutes under Oscar Pareja.

Two defenders round out the group, with Toronto's Nick Hagglund holding onto fourth place after a stellar outing against the San Jose Earthquakes at the beginning of the month. Steve Birnbaum is the only new face in this month's rankings after ably stepping in on defense for D.C. United.

Only MLS regular-season games reflected on schedule and statistics.

Rank Trending Last Player Comment

1

2

Harry Shipp

Shipp made a short June schedule count, even if his team couldn't. A spectacular two-goal outing from the Homegrown playmaker in Chicago's loss to Seattle was enough to put him back back on top of the rankings.

  • Last Month: 6/4 at Colorado (0-0 draw, 28 min)6/7 vs. Seattle (3-2 loss, 90 min, 2 G)
  • This Month: Wednesday 7/2 vs. Toronto, 7/6 at Sporting KC (ESPN/ESPN Deportes/TSN), 7/12 at New England, 7/19 vs. Philadelpha, 7/23 at San Jose, 7/30 vs. Vancouver
  • Season Statistics: 5 G, 4 A (13 GP, 12 GS)
  • MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager: 82 points, $6.9 million (23.3 percent owned)

2

1

Patrick Mullins

It was an ugly June for Mullins and the Revs, who capitvated MLS audiences in May but are winless in their last three league games. Still, Mullins' outburst that month keeps him at No. 2 here, even if he managed just two shots on goal in 145 minutes of June play. Mullins did score in a US Open Cup victory against Richmond.

  • Last Month: 6/8 vs. New York (2-0 loss, 45 min), 6/28 vs. PHI (3-1 loss, 90 min)
  • This Month: Friday 7/4 at Real Salt Lake (10 pm ET, MLS Live), 7/12 vs. New England, 7/16 at LA Galaxy, 7/19 at FC Dallas, 7/26 vs. Columbus, 7/30 vs. Colorado
  • Season Statistics: 4 G (8 GP, 8 GS)
  • MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager: 34 points, $5.0 million (7.5 percent owned)
3

N/A

Tesho Akindele

The youngster out of Division II Colorado School of Mines has continued to ably fill in for a shorthanded FC Dallas side in three starts and picked up an assist in the team's dramatic draw in Portland. He added an extra-time game-winner in a 3-2 US Open Cup win over rivals Houston Dynamo.

  • Last Month: 6/7 vs. Colorado (3-2 win, 90 min), 6/11 at Portland (2-2 draw, 87 min, 1 A), 6/29 at Columbus (0-0 draw, 80 min)
  • This Month: Friday 7/4 vs. Philadelphia (9 pm ET, MLS Live), 7/19 vs. New England, 7/27 at Vancouver
  • Season Statistics: 1 G, 1 A (10 GP, 7 GS)
  • MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager: 27 points, $4.4 million (4.0 percent owned)

4

N/A

Nick Hagglund

After coming on strong at the end of May, Hagglund was arguably the best player on the field in Toronto's win over San Jose. He earned the decisive penalty, generated considerable offense from the right back position and defended superbly. Though he did not see the field at the end of the month in New York, he should be a regular sight in the TFC lineup with a back-heavy schedule coming up.

  • Last Month: 6/7 vs. San Jose (1-0 win, 90 min), 6/27 at New York (2-2 draw, unused substitute)
  • This Month: Wednesday 7/2 at Chicago, Saturday 7/5 vs. D.C. United (7 pm ET, MLS Live/TSN2), 7/12 vs. Houston, 7/16 vs. Vancouver, 7/19 at Houston, 7/26 vs. Sporting KC, 7/30 at D.C. United
  • Season Statistics: 1 A (6 GP, 5 GS)
  • MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager: 36 points, $5.2 million (10.6 percent owned)

5

5

Steve Birnbaum

The Cal product has filled in admirably at center back for injured veteran Jeff Parke, ensuring continuity in defense as D.C. continue to re-establish themselves as one of the premier teams in the Eastern Conference.

  • Last Month: 6/7 vs. Columbus (0-0 draw, 90 min), 6/11 at Montreal (4-2 win, 90 min), 6/28 vs. Seattle (1-0 loss, 90 min)
  • This Month: Saturday 7/5 at Toronto (7 pm ET, MLS Live/TSN2), 7/11 at San Jose, 7/20 vs. Chivas USA, 7/30 vs. Toronto
  • Season Statistics: 270 minutes played (3 GP, G GS)
  • MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager: 14 points, $4.5 million (2.2 percent owned)

Other rookies to watch: Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids), JJ Koval (San Jose Earthquakes), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact), Chris Duvall (New York Red Bulls), Jared Watts (Colorado Rapids)