Rookie Watch: 09 Class Still Doing Well

Rookie Watch: 09 Class Still Doing Well

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 18, 2009
  • 8 Comments
  • Chris Pontius, Darrius Barnes, Kevin Alston, Matt Besler, Michael Lahoud, Omar Gonzalez, Rodney Wallace, Rookie of the Year, Rookie Watch, Sam Cronin, Stefan Frei, Steve Zakuani
Stefan Frei has proven to be one of the better picks in the 2009 draft. (Getty Images)

Stefan Frei has proven to be one of the better picks in the 2009 draft. (Getty Images)

We are nearly halfway through the 2009 campaign and it is a good time to review how the rookies are doing thus far. As stated before I think this year’s rookie class has been one of the better ones that we have seen in recent years. Plenty of rookies are getting a chance on the field and some are making very good impacts with their clubs.

For me right now the rookie of the year race is really starting to heat up. A few guys have really shown they are worthy of the honor already and continue to do so each week. While I won’t go into any particular order with this list I will say the few that are mentioned are definitely above and beyond the rest of the class here.

Steve Zakuani (Seattle Sounders FC): The number one pick continues to impress me. I knew a while back that this kid had some special talent and I believe we are seeing just that here this season. Currently he has two goals and three assists on the year. His number may not jump out to some but his skill on the field definitely do to me. Right now he has to be considered a front-runner for ROY honros. Good to see a number one pick live up to the expectations of the pick.

Stefan Frei (Toronto FC): I think Frei has made a lot of clubs second guess themselves this year to why they didn’t pick him until Toronto did late in the first round. He’s already proven himself to be a quality starter in the league. Hell he’s even gotten Toronto’s old keeper out of a job because of his play. While he has let in a few more goals than other keepers out there a lot of that could be due to the defense that plays in front of him, though I think that could be changing soon.

Rodney Wallace (DC United): When DC selected Wallace at the draft I had a good feeling for them with that selection. Wallace has shown a lot of growth in his first season with the club and continues to be a headache for other clubs with his runs out of the back. Also his defending hasn’t been too shabby either.

Chris Pontius (DC United): A lot of United fans hated this pick back in January. And I mean a lot! Fast forward to today and United is in first place in the east and some of that is due to the play of Pontius who is third in scoring for DC. Just like fellow rookie Wallace, he has seen action in every game this season for DC. Not a lot of rookies can say that. I see nothing but good things for this kid’s MLS future.

Darrius Barnes (New England Revolution): One thing I am sure of is that Steve Nicol sure knows how to pick them. A late selection in the draft was Barnes but none more valuable to New England this season who have been through a lot of injuries in defense. Barnes has been one of the better defenders in the league this year and I think he could easily grow into one of the top defenders in the league in a couple years.

A few others to watch out for:

Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy): Has shown plenty of potential in the back for LA. Still gives up a few chances for other clubs but that may be partly due to the fact that he is surrounded by a fairly young defense with a couple older veterans.

Sam Cronin (Toronto FC): Nearly put him in the top group but he is just outside of it for me right now. He’s played a lot of minutes for this club already this year and I think his value will continue to show as the season moves forward.

Matt Besler (Kansas City Wizards): Another guy that has seen a lot of minutes this season for his club. Besler has shown some good promise for a young club.

Kevin Alston (New England Revolution): When healthy he is as good as though in the top group. He hit a bit of an injury bug like the rest of his club earlier this season but he has returned to help get New England out of their early funk. I do believe he is a name that you could see eventually move to Europe in a few years.

Michael Lahoud (Chivas USA): Here’s a guy that is starting to see a lot more minutes here as the season goes on. So far I think he’s shown a lot of good potential for Chivas. I think given time he will prove to be one of the better picks in this draft.

  • Grunthos

    Nobody will be talking about him because he's a center back and because the team has two other prominent rookies, but Dejan Jakovic deserves to be on this list as well. DC's defense would be a disaster area this season without him. Apart from last night's Seattle game, he's been consistently effective, with excellent composure, decent pace, and as a bonus he can actually pass the ball out of the back or run with it when required.<br />
    <br />
    Take a look sometime. You may find him as, or even more, impressive than Pontius and Wallace if you focus on him.

  • WVHooligan

    He's been good yes but he is not a rookie. He played professionally last year before joining DC. But yeah that's the reason why we aren't even talking about him in this discussion. He will be in another one though for Newcomer.

  • Grunthos

    Three appearances for Red Star Belgrade disqualifies him as an MLS rookie? I mean, it may disqualify him for awards, I don't know, but in terms of discussing &quot;which first year players are doing well in MLS&quot;, that seems rather harsh.

  • WVHooligan

    Yeah, but hey, I don't make the rules for the award man. He's just in the newcomer category with the others that are in the league for the first year.

  • Grunthos

    Nobody will be talking about him because he’s a center back and because the team has two other prominent rookies, but Dejan Jakovic deserves to be on this list as well. DC’s defense would be a disaster area this season without him. Apart from last night’s Seattle game, he’s been consistently effective, with excellent composure, decent pace, and as a bonus he can actually pass the ball out of the back or run with it when required.

    Take a look sometime. You may find him as, or even more, impressive than Pontius and Wallace if you focus on him.

    • He’s been good yes but he is not a rookie. He played professionally last year before joining DC. But yeah that’s the reason why we aren’t even talking about him in this discussion. He will be in another one though for Newcomer.

  • Grunthos

    Three appearances for Red Star Belgrade disqualifies him as an MLS rookie? I mean, it may disqualify him for awards, I don’t know, but in terms of discussing “which first year players are doing well in MLS”, that seems rather harsh.

    • Yeah, but hey, I don’t make the rules for the award man. He’s just in the newcomer category with the others that are in the league for the first year.