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MLS Rookie of the Year rankings

Article Written by Will Parchman
Published: May 14, 2014

 

Welcome to the first edition of the TopDrawerSoccer.com 2014 MLS Rookie of the Year rankings. Throughout the season, we’ll update the top five rookie of the year candidates based on their rising and sinking form. Without further ado, here’s a look at the year’s first update.

1. F Harrison Shipp, Chicago Fire

Last week: N/A

Numbers: 8 starts in 8 appearances; 627 minutes; 3 goals, 4 assists

Notes: Kudos to the Fire for giving Shipp the run-out many feared would be deferred in the same way Victor Pineda’s was. Turns out they weren’t founded. After sitting for the Fire’s opener, Shipp has started every game since, and his hat trick in last weekend’s scintillating 5-4 win over New York carried the Fire to their first win of the season. This list is essentially Shipp and then the rest considering his improbably hot start to the season. If he keeps it up at any reasonable clip, Shipp will run away with this award. 

2. M J.J. Koval, San Jose Earthquakes

Last week: N/A

Numbers: 3 starts in 9 appearances; 428 minutes

Notes: While it’s clear Koval is good enough to make it in MLS, his versatility has been the most impressive piece of his oeuvre so far this season. Koval’s MLS future projects him as a midfielder, but San Jose’s injury issues at right back pressed Koval into service earlier this season, and he did well enough that Chris Wondolowski referred to him as “a beast.” Still, with the Quakes’ right back position healed, Koval may find it tougher to accumulate minutes as we stretch into the summer months.

3. D Eric Miller, Montreal Impact

Last week: N/A

Numbers: 7 starts in 8 games, 631 minutes

Notes: Miller is breathing proof that MLS rookies can parlay positive preseason camps into immediate minutes. Miller started each of Montreal’s first seven games at right back, none of which resulted in a win, and his last start on April 19 resulted in a 4-0 loss to Sporting KC. Miller played one minute in a 1-0 win over Philly and then was unused for the first time all season in a 3-0 loss to - again - Sporting KC in which Jeb Brovsky flipped field to the right. With one combined minute in his last two games and a spotty team defensive record - Miller’s ROY train could be slowing.

4. F Patrick Mullins, New England Revolution

Last week: N/A

Numbers: 3 starts in 3 games; 225 minutes; 2 goals

Notes: Mullins unleashed the Kraken with a golazo against Toronto FC to show he has the wherewithal to accomplish the incredible. The task now is consistently muscling his way into the game day 18, let alone securing consistent minutes. Mullins has the fewest minutes of anyone on this list, but it’s hard to imagine that won’t increase as the season wears on and his abilities become more apparent as they have this month. After only going 45 in the opener, Mullins sat for seven games before going 90 and scoring a goal in each of his last two. Positive signs.

5. D A.J. Cochran, Houston Dynamo

Last week: N/A

Numbers: 3 starts in 5 games; 306 minutes

Notes: At 6-foot-3, Cochran certainly has the physical prowess to make an impact in MLS, and that’s helped his cause in acquiring some early minutes on the Dynamo back line. While his playing time has been largely spread out over the season, Houston’s defensive record with Cochran in games hasn’t been great. In the six games games in which Cochran’s played, the Dynamo have been outscored 15-4, and 7-3 in his three starts. The best was a 1-0 shutout over Columbus in which he went all 90, though he was subbed off in a 5-2 disaster against RSL last weekend.

 
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