Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Climbing the Ladder has an interesting nugget today: 16 MLS rookies saw time during their club's opening matches, 9 of them starters. Both figures match the existing MLS record. So following 2008's rather barren crop of first-year players, this year's rookie of the year contest should be much more intriguing. Let's see who's on the radar screen so far:

Steve Zakuani, Seattle
Omar Gonzalez, Los Angeles
A.J. DeLaGarza, Los Angeles
Sam Cronin, Toronto
Stephan Frei, Toronto
Chris Pontius, D.C.
Rodney Wallace, D.C.
Jeremy Hall, New York
Alex Grendi, Columbus
George John, Dallas
Matt Besler, Kansas City
Graham Zusi, Kansas City
Kevin Alston, New England

That's 13 rookies seeing significant playing time for their clubs so far this season. Three of these players -- Gonzalez, Pontius, Wallace -- have started every match for their clubs. Did I miss anyone?