College rivals Shipp and Mullins shine

[MLS ROOKIE WATCH] MLS clubs went heavy on defenders in the 2014 SuperDraft, but the irony is that a trio of attacking players -- Chicago's Harry Shipp, New England's Patrick Mullins and Houston's Mark Sherrod -- have emerged as the early stars of this year's rookie class.

Of the first 28 picks in the SuperDraft, 18 were defenders. Just three of them -- Montreal's Eric Miller, Houston's A.J. Cochran and Toronto FC's Nick Hagglund -- have made starts. California had three defenders taken in the first round (No. 2 Steve Birnbaum, No. 3 Christian Dean and No. 18 Ryan Neil), but only Dean has played -- all of 13 minutes in one appearance.

Shipp, a Homegrown signing out of national champion Notre Dame, had a hat trick and assist in the Fire's first win of the season, a wild 5-4 victory at New York, and before that he demonstrated his setup skills with three assists. He is early favorite for Rookie of the Year, leading all rookies in minutes (717) and games started (9).

But he could get a battle from Mullins, with whom he battled in the 2013 NCAA Division I final. Mullins, a two-time Soccer America Player of the Year out of Maryland, has scored goals in each of his three starts for New England. The Revs' offensive explosion has coincided with his insertion in the starting lineup.

Sherrod may have a ways to go before he grabs a starting job up front at Houston, but the Memphis product is quickly developing a reputation as one of the most feared young strikers in the air in MLS.

-- Jordan Allen
became the second promising rookie to be lost for the season following a knee injury. The Real Salt Lake winger out of Virginia is set to have season-ending operation on Thursday. A knee injury earlier sidelined Thomas McNamara, who had won a starting job in Chivas USA's midfield.

2014 MLS Rookie Class:
GP/G PLAYER, TEAM (MINUTES)
3/4 Harry Shipp
, Chicago (717 minutes)
3/0 Patrick Mullins, New England (315 minutes)
2/1 Mark Sherrod, Houston (221 minutes)
1/0 Thomas McNamara, Chivas USA (467 minutes)
0/1 Kristopher Tyrpak, Chivas USA (48 minutes)
0/0 Eric Miller, Montreal (631 minutes)
0/0 JJ Koval, San Jose (430 minutes)
0/0 A.J. Cochran, Houston (301 minutes)
0/0 Jarod Watts, Colorado (290 minutes)
0/0 John Berner, Colorado (270 minutes)
0/0 Nick Hagglund, Toronto FC (181 minutes)
0/0 Marlon Hairston, Colorado (167 minutes)
0/0 Tesho Akindele, FC Dallas (109 minutes)
0/0 Alex Martinez, Sporting KC (92 minutes)
0/0 Steve Neumann, New England (59 minutes)
0/0 Chris Duvall, New York (42 minutes)
0/0 Raul Mendiola, LA Galaxy (24 minutes)
0/0 Adam Bedell, Columbus (23 minutes)
0/0 Trevor Spangenberg, Chivas USA (22 minutes)
0/0 Daniel Lovitz, Toronto FC (22 minutes)
0/0 Sean Okoli, Seattle (18 minutes)
0/0 Christian Dean, Vancouver (13 minutes)
0/0 Jordan Allen, Real Salt Lake (9 minutes)
0/0 Jordan Hamilton, Toronto FC (1 minute)
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