Photo by ISIphotos.com
Remember how you kept hearing over and over that the 2009 MLS Draft class was one of the strongest and deepest in recent memory? That draft class showed just how strong it is this past weekend as a whopping nine rookies earned starts and several others came off the bench to make key contributions.
You had four draft picks earn starts in the LA-DC match, including first-round pick Chris Pontius' first career goal, you had New England start two, yes two, rookies in its defense on the way to posting a shutout in a 1-0 win vs. San Jose. Then you had Toronto FC, with a rookie in goal and one in central midfield in its 3-2 victory against Kansas City.
Here is a look at the performances of the 2009 MLS Draft picks:
MLS Rookie Team of the Week:
———Chris Pontius——–Quincy Amarikwa—–
Rodney Wallace————————Kyle Patterson
A.J. De La Garza———————–Kevin Alston
———–Darrius Barnes—–Omar Gonzalez——-
Nine of the 11 players on this squad earned starts, with LA's Kyle Patterson and San Jose's Quincy Amarikwa coming off the bench.
Standouts among the rookies? New England rookie Kevin Alston was arguably the rookie player of the week for his stellar performance at right back against Darren Huckerby and San Jose. Yes, Huckerby had a handful of chances (which he missed badly), but Alston showed a lot of ability and closed down as many plays as he allowed. He and Darrius Barnes were sharp in the Revs defense.
D.C. rookies Pontius and Wallace both looked good in their debuts. Wallace recorded an assist and Pontius because the first rookie to score this season with a memorable.
Not all of the rookies enjoyed strong debuts. KC rookie Graham Zusi had some expected struggles against Toronto FC's high-powered midfield while Toronto goalkeeper Stefan Frei was pretty powerless to stop Davy Arnaud's two stunning goals. Frei did still record the victory, the first of what should be many for the standout goalkeeper.
One player not on this list who played well was New York rookie Jeremy Hall. He did not start, but came on as a first-half substitute in the Red Bulls' 3-0 loss to Seattle and was one of the few bright spots for New York. He showed good attacking quality and poise from the right back position and looks like a safe bet to be starting for the Red Bulls next week.
What did you think of how the 2009 MLS Draft class did this past weekend? Which players impressed you the most? Which player disappointed you?
Share your thoughts on how MLS rookies did in week one in the comments section below.