It's been a fabulous season for rookies in MLS. All across the league, rookies have peppered starting lineups, as the 2009 draft yielded one of the best returns ever.
As a result, narrowing the candidates is a tough call. Two rookies in D.C., Rodney Wallace and Chris Pontius, started almost every single game for United, and Pontius showed his class with a couple of spectacular goals this season. Both hit slowed a touch as the grueling season progressed, but remain important heading into the league's final weekend with United thinking playoffs.
Out in Los Angeles, towering defender Omar Gonzalez has been a revelation for the maligned Galaxy defense of last season. While there are chinks in his armor, Gonzalez has helped transform the club's backline in just a year. Another defender, Darrius Barnes, deserves consideration as well. The rookie from Duke has started every single game for the Revolution this year, limiting Steve Nicol's problems by staying healthy. Number One selection Steve Zakuani has emerged as one of the fringe contenders as well — earning himself vital playing time and scoring goals for the Sounders, especially on the road this year. Last but not least, any goalkeeper to come in and start as a rookie — like Stefan Frei has done in Toronto — makes it as a finalist.
Who gets your vote as rookie of the year? Cast your vote below.
Who did you vote for? Who should win the rookie of the year contest? Anyone missing from the list?
Share your thoughts below.
Lot of good candidates. Probably lean towards Gonzales if I had to choose. Easier to choose a best XI, though still some tough calls, e.g. DeLaGarza v. Alston.
2009 MLS Draft Class XI
S. Zakuani — C. Pontius
R. Wallace — S. Cronin — B. Husidic — J. Hall
M. Besler — O. Gonzales — D. Barnes — K. Alston
bench: AJ DeLaGarza, G. John, M. Lahoud, N. Zimmerman, O. White, G. Zusi, Q. Amarikwa
Where is Matt Besler…?? Been solid defender for KC this year — started 26 games
They all deserve it. Great year for rookies. Got to hand it to you Ives, you called it.
Montero is a newcomer, but not a rookie. Same as Keller and ricketts.
i take it international players dont count or id say Montero. ill go with Omar
I second that nomination.
Cronin gets two goals and a couple of assists in his rookie season, plays almost every game deep in the midfield, is an everyday starter, and doesn’t make the list?
GONZO!!! Omar Gonzalez!
fear the turtle, lots of Terps in the conversation, Sasho is one of the best coaches/developers of talent we have in the US
Baggio had the most accolades coming into the season. and probably the most lucrative money. But he barely played. something is wrong when arguably the most technically gifted American doesnt get a chance to play.
I like Pontius. He should get a look with the nats for sure.
Gonzalez was huge this season for the Galaxy, played almost all the minutes for a coach who loves his veteran guys, but there is no wrong answer for this poll. Lots of good rookies this year.
I don’t tend to overcredit DC United with anything, but Pontius has been excellent this year. Physically strong, good in the attack, and smart beyond his experience. He should be in the January US camp.
Will Gonzalez get a look in the US camp in January? He isn’t ready for int’l competition but he’ll develop into on by 2014. (Here’s hoping so. He’ll be what, 27 by then?)
I like Steve Zakuani, but I think Chris Pontius was good for DC United this year. In a team with seasoned veterans, Pontius was impressive for a rookie and held his own in my opinion.
clearly should be an other option, others have started basically ever game as well and held their own. I voted for Frei as he impressed me as a player and not just as a rookie
I would have chosen Wallace but wasn’t given that opp.
Where is AJ delagarza?
You have to put him on the list. Yes he has been beaten couple of times. But he deserves to be on the list. He played Center Back With Omar Gonzalez in college, after he got drafter he started at left back then Franklin got injured and he had to move to right back. Where he has played most of the season.
I think he has done a lot for a rookie.
I went with Frei I can’t think or a rookie keeper that’s come into MLS and played better than Frei. He’s composed and is huge part of the improvement up at TFC.