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MLS Rookie of the Year race remains a close one

Danny Mwanga (

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The MLS Rookie of the Year race is getting tougher and tougher to handicap.

Tim Ream and Andy Najar both enjoyed strong weeks to gain some ground on Philadelphia striker Danny Mwanga and Los Angeles midfielder Michael Stephens. Ream started and played another solid match in central defense in New York's win against Toronto FC, while Najar helped set up both goals in D.C. United's 2-0 win against Mwanga's Philadelphia Union. Mwanga didn't have much of an impact on the match. Neither did Stephens for Los Angeles in the Galaxy's 1-0 loss to San Jose.

With two-thirds of the season now over, the award is a tough one to call (and would have been even tougher if leading candidate Ike Opara hadn't suffered a broken foot). Do you go with Mwanga's seven goals and three assists, Ream's 21 starts as New York's defensive anchor, Najar's dynamic contributions for D.C. United or Stephens' seven assists for the MLS-leading LA Galaxy?

Who would you vote for right now? Cast your vote after the jump:

Who gets my vote? While Mwanga's seven goals are impressive, it's hard not to vote for Tim Ream, who has started every game and been the best defender on a good New York Red Bulls team. He's the pick right now, though Mwanga may benefit from the usual preference such awards have toward goal scorers.

Who gets your MLS Rookie of the Year vote right now? Which rookie would you add on your team if given the chance? Who isn't on our ballot that should be?

Share your thoughts below.

Tim Ream (ISIphotos

Photo by Howard C. Smith/


  1. I vote Tim Ream, look at where his team was a year ago… it Bouna in net or the defense in front of him? He has stepped in and made a huge impact as a rookie. Najar has done well but where is his team as compared to before?

  2. Gonzales and Ream need to go to the English Premier League to develop their defensive skills and be ready to play for the USMNT. These guys are young and if the can get in to good, quality EPL teams, they will just get better and better

  3. I voted Mwanga because his team, other than Le Toux, is an awful, discombobulated mess, yet he has had success. I think, though, he may need to get to at least 10 goals for the season to earn the award.

  4. Who ever it is that wins rookie of the year, the USMNT has at least four quality central defender prospects for the next world cup in Omar Gonzalez, Ike Opara, Tim Ream, and Gale A. Throw in a veteran like Onyewu (if health and PT permits), and we should have plenty of options. Now, if only we could get Miguel Angel Ponce to come over to the good guys, we could start building some depth at the outside back positions.

  5. Najar hands down. No other player is expected to do as much as Najar.. anything offensive comes from Najar while Ream, Mwanga, and Stephens have a lot more support. Also, in soccer it isn’t easier to stand out on a bad team like in the NBA. If anything its more remarkable how he can set up the other players in DC to score when they are so gawd awful

  6. While ROY is a nice honor it’s not necessarily predictive of where a player will be in 2-3 years. I’m much more interested in which players show the potential to be a USMNT-caliber player (assuming that the ones who have other options select the U.S.). Right now, I’ll go with Mwanga, with Tchani neck and neck just behind him, then Ream, then Najar, and way back, Stephens, who I don’t see as a future USMNT player. All of the first four, however, have potential USMNT status.

  7. If DC was DC this year, then Najar might be on pace to score 15+ goals. This kid could be very special. We’re talking top league, top club special. I hope that the academy systems of MLS teams keep producing more players like him every year.

  8. Najar has talent but being on a crappy team will lose it for him. If DC was DC this year, he’d be a shoo in.

    That said, I give an edge to Ream because he has been the most polished. Mwanga has played well but has also had some spots where he’s looks a bit ‘mystified’ by the pro game. Ream has looked like someone who has played in MLS for 5 years.


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