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Steve Birnbaum third in MLS Rookie of the Year voting, with Tesho Akindele first and Harry Shipp second

Though he was the most consistent of the three finalists, Steve Birnbaum ends up third in Rookie of the Year voting.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

MLS today announced the winners of Rookie of the Year and the Fair Play award, and D.C. United's Steve Birnbaum came in third in the former as the Philadelphia Union won the latter. Tesho Akindele of FC Dallas was the winner of Rookie of the Year, with Harry Shipp of the Chicago Fire coming in second. In the end it was a very close vote, with Thomas Floyd the first to screenshot the tally:

Birnbaum had the deck stacked against him for this award, and he did edge out Shipp in the media vote category. However, the fact that he didn't start playing until June, the fact that he is a defender, and the fact that Akindele's hot month came the most recently all played against him for this award. The seasons of Shipp and Akindele, overall, are fairly similar, just that Shipp was hot at the beginning of the year and Akindele was hot down the stretch; it helped too, that FC Dallas made the playoffs while the Chicago Fire had the most ties in the league. The recency bias seems strong in the mind of the voters in this case.

The Union won the Fair Play award by having the lowest amount of cards and close to the bottom in overall fouls, which is curious given their history and stereotypical playing style. In addition, Michael Parkhurst of Columbus Crew SC won the individual Fair Play award.