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Chicago’s Austin Berry takes MLS Rookie of the Year

Nov 19, 2012, 12:51 PM EDT

Berry cereal

Looks like D.C. United young starlet Nick DeLeon waited a little too long to close the gap.

Major League Soccer’s Rookie of the Year race looked like no contest with a few weeks remaining; Chicago center back Austin Berry appeared to be the clear choice.

DeLeon did a little gap-closing toward the end. He had started with such a dynamic flourish, but the middle months had gotten a little soft.

Still, that closing sprint nearly made things interesting. And that last dash looked even better when held up alongside a fantastic post-season performance, including perhaps the proud organization’s most important goals in five seasons. DeLeon’s late finish in the conference semifinal round took down the league’s most visible franchise, the pricy assembly roster around Red Bull Arena.

But voting was done before the playoffs, so it came as no shock this morning when Berry was announced as 2012’s Rookie of the Year.

DeLeon was second in balloting, followed by Vancouver’s Darren Mattocks, Toronto’s Luis Silva and New York’s Connor Lade.

(MORE: ProSoccerTalk’s Rookie of the Year conversation)

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