D.C. United's Nick DeLeon is a rookie to watch

Nick DeLeon has two goals and an assist in three games (two starts) making him the hottest rookie in MLS.

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2012 - You can bet the Seattle Sounders will be keeping a close eye on D.C. United’s rookie midfilder Nick DeLeon when the team visits RFK Stadium on Saturday night. It’s probably something the Sounders had not expected to be doing. The speedy DeLeon is suddenly on the soccer radar after a number of neat performances, particularly United’s win over FC Dallas last week.   

In the stunning 4-1 victory over FC Dallas, DeLeon made a big statement, scoring a goal on the hour-mark and six minutes later setting up a goal for Danny Cruz.

“Nick [DeLeon] has very good soccer instincts for a young kid,” said United coach Ben Olsen after the game.

DeLeon made a big first impression in MLS. In his MLS debut he scored a delightful goal with a curling shot into the far post netting in United’s 3-1 loss at the Los Angeles Galaxy. 

DeLeon has two goals and an assist in three games (two starts) making him the hottest rookie in MLS. The former University of Louisville seems to have claimed the left flank role at United from Chris Pontius, who was one of United’s best players last season before a broken leg stopped him in his tracks.  

Seattle is a tough team but after United’s performance last week, D.C. could be the favorite to win this one. United beat the Sounders 2-1 at home last May in one of the club’s four wins at home.

The big question is, was last week’s win a one-off or has Olsen finally got this team together. It’s been an eternity since United won back-to-back home wins.

DeLeon could certainly be a difference-maker this season. The Phoenix native comes from good soccer stock. His father, Leroy, played for the Washington Diplomats of the North American Soccer League. Olsen spotted DeLeon at the MLS combine and selected with the seventh pick at the SuperDraft in January.

“Physically, he has all the tools,” Olsen told the Washington Times at the time. “I think this kid is going to be a gamer, and I know he’s excited to join the guys and get moving.”

So far DeLeon is doing just that.



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John Haydon

John Haydon has covered soccer for The Washington Times for two decades. He has reported on international soccer events in Germany, South Korea and Spain. John hails from Birmingham, England and has lived in the Washington D.C. region for over twenty years.  

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