Rookie Rankings: Hoppenot keeps on producing for Union

Rookie Rankings: Hoppenot's substitute exploits rewarded

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.

Two new faces made their way into the Rookie Rankings this week. The Union's Antoine Hoppenot and FC Dallas' Matt Hedges deserve it, but that doesn't mean they'll be here to stay. Or even around for another week. Nick DeLeon's situation is Exhibit A when it comes to ever-changing fates of rookies in this league.

DeLeon is one or two solid performances from climbing back into the charts, but then again so are the other six names who received an honorable mention vote this week, plus all the others (Andrew Wenger comes to mind) who didn't get any love from the MLS editorial staff. That's a conversation for next week, though, and after Week 18, these five make up the current cream of the rookie crop.

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



Ryan Meara

Like Nick DeLeon before him, it appears Meara's stay at the top may be coming to an end. Don't read too much into that, though. The Red Bulls 'keeper has been solid recently, but perhaps not quite the game changer he was early in the season. Of course, he's still No. 1 in these rankings, so take that as a sign that the rookie netminder is still doing plenty right.



Darren Mattocks

His most recent goal may not have been pretty – Drew Moor is still kicking himself about that failed clearance – but it was a winner. That's all Mattocks and Vancouver should care about at this point in the year. With four goals already, Mattocks is just one behind C.J. Sapong's total from a year ago. He still has to find a way to stay on the field, however, as the cards just continue to pile up. 



Austin Berry

Arne Friedrich is back in the Chicago lineup, and Berry is right alongside the German veteran. Friedrich provides the guile while the rookie wins everything in the air and throws himself into challenges. It may have been a rough weekend against LA, but the center back has now made 12 straight starts for Frank Klopas as his team has climbed the Eastern Conference table.



Matt Hedges

Hedges has been one of the few bright spots in a season of misery for FCD, stepping in for injured stalwart George John in the center of defense. His aerial dominance is expected since he stands 6-foot-4, but it's his ability to read the game on the ground that's made him such a quick study in MLS. He also has a nose for the goal on set pieces.



Antoine Hoppenot

He hasn't made one league start this year, but it doesn't matter to the Rookie Rankings committee. This kid scores goals, whether it be in US Open Cup action or MLS play. Just making an MLS roster was a big step for the third-round Supplemental Draft pick. Now, he's John Hackworth's preferred spark off the bench in Philly. 

Also receiving votes: Nick DeLeon, Tony Cascio, Raymon Gaddis, Kelyn Rowe, Connor Lade, Andy Rose, Warren Creavalle