Rookie Rankings: Week 5, Velasquez
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Rookie Rankings: RSL's Velasquez moves into Top 5

Each week during the 2012 season,'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.

A week after debuting at the top of the inaugural rookie rankings, Nick DeLeon was a unanimous choice at the top after week five, remaining in voters memories via two AT&T Goal of the Week-worthy strikes in the season's first month and solid work on both sides of the ball. Moving up this week were Ryan Meara, who narrowly missed out on his first-ever shutout against Columbus, and Sebastian Velasquez, who is filling in ably for a Real Salt Lake side that's had no problem picking up points.

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.

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Nick DeLeon

This much is clear: DeLeon is going to make it difficult for Chris Pontius to reclaim his place in the D.C. United starting lineup. The rookie winger started on the left once against for Ben Olsen last weekend against Seattle and registered three of United's four shots on frame in a lively 90 minutes.



Ryan Meara

For the better part of 90 minutes, it looked like Meara was going to get his first MLS clean sheet as New York stuck it to the Crew in Columbus. But in the 89th minute, fellow rookie Kirk Urso whipped a corner kick into the box that Chad Marshall deposited in the back of the net. A tough test awaits this weekend against San Jose.



Kelyn Rowe

Rowe made his fifth straight start of the season against FC Dallas last Thursday, but the Revs folded in the 95th minute through no fault of their young midfielder. Still, manager Jay Heaps is getting plenty of ROI from the No. 3 pick in the SuperDraft. Rowe tested Kevin Hartman three times, but couldn't find a way past the veteran netminder.



Sebastian Velasquez

Much has been made about the Colombian's skunk tail, but that can't distract from the fact that Velasquez is filling plenty of holes for Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis. He's versatile, he's skillful and he fits into the wide positions in RSL's diamond midfield without Kreis having to scramble as RSL deals with some injury issues.



Tony Cascio

For the first time in 2012, Cascio found himself starting the game on the bench last weekend. Still, Oscar Pareja called on him just an hour into the game when the Rapids needed a spark against RSL. Cascio wasn't able to provide it in the form of goals, but he stays on the list after a solid first month for Colorado.

Also receiving votes: Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Luis Silva, Casey Townsend, Andrew Wenger, Kirk Urso


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