Can anyone catch Austin Berry (right) in the final two weeks of the season? (Getty Images)

The final weeks of the season are here. As I stated earlier this morning, there is a serious push going out by some clubs for their rookies. Two clubs (Dallas and Chicago) are hot in the campaigning. Hopefully other clubs join in the race this week as well.

I’ve given you all my MVP thoughts and today it is all about the rookies. Right now for me, there are five strong candidates with one of them clearly out in front as we go into the final two weeks of the season.

Below are my rankings for the 2012 Rookie of the Year award, the top three would be the ones I would have on my ballot today if I had to vote.

1. Austin Berry (Chicago Fire)

Truthfully, this is Berry’s award to lose in the final two weeks of the season. I love seeing a defender lead the rankings to be honest as well. Berry has had a fantastic rookie season and has proven once again that the Fire know how to find talent in the SuperDraft. He’s started 26 games this season and has added in three goals in that span. The biggest part of his game that is impressive is how he’s grown so much since his first start back in May.

2. Matt Hedges (FC Dallas)

I know I have seen a ton of this kid, more than any other rookie on the list here but that hasn’t changed my mind about this kid one bit. I knew back in the preseason that he was going to have a strong campaign once he got his chance. Injuries for FC Dallas played a huge part of getting him time on the field this season but he never once backed down from a challenge this year. He hasn’t been perfect but then again no rookie on this list has. Schellas Hyndman has a starting center back in Hedges for years to come.

3. Nick DeLeon (D.C. United)

He was once the hottest rookie in the league, then he got quiet. Now he is back and has stepped up as a bit of a leader for a D.C. United team that is in the middle of a huge playoff race. His stats are fairly impressive but his consistent presence in Ben Olsen’s lineup is very promising to see out of the youngster.

Others in the mix

Darren Mattocks (Vancouver Whitecaps) – He’ll get votes from a lot of people purely based on the number of goals he’s scored. I don’t buy into that entirely here. But as the Whitecaps cooled off in August and September, so did his chances of winning the ROY award.

Luis Silva (Toronto FC) – Another hot and cold player this season. He was really one of the lone bright spots in Toronto’s lineup this year. Still, he’s had a strong rookie season with a few goals to show for.

Conor Lade (New York Red Bulls) – I was a tad disappointed to see this kid trail off in the last couple of months of the season. For the better part of the summer I felt Lade was in the ROY mix due to some quality starts in the Red Bulls lineup.