It's only four games into his MLS career but Tony Cascio is already starting to turn heads with his play for the Colorado Rapids. Soccer By Ives gave him the rookie of the month title for March and the MLS official site put him fourth overall in their rookie rankings watch list, behind three other strong contenders in Nick DeLeon, Kelyn Rowe and Ryan Meara.
It's still very early in the year, but Cascio might just have a shot at winning the Rookie of the Year award for 2012. He has played in every game so far for Colorado and put in solid performances each time, netting a strong goal against the Philadelphia Union as well. Obviously he will need to start putting in more goals and assists to add to his case, with both DeLeon and Rowe looking like his main competition for the title if they all continue to get starts.
Cascio will also need to keep his game up at the high level it's been at if not higher. Conor Casey will be back on the team soon and most likely one of the three top men right now (Cascio, Omar Cummings, Brian Mullan) is going to be sent to the bench in Casey's favor. I personally think that Mullan is the favorite to move right now, but Oscar Pareja might see Cascio's youth as a reason to stash him in favor of the veteran forward. Cascio has yet to play a full 90 minute game so far this season.
Colorado has never had a RotY winner in the 16 year history of the team, partially because they've never been a team keen on immediately sticking rookies into starting positions. Cascio bucks that trend and has played well enough to prove them right in giving him that opportunity.