Just because it is the weekend doesn't mean that we stop the soccer coverage. In our player by player review of D.C. United's 2014 season, we now turn our attention to Steve Birnbaum, the rookie centerback out of California. United were able to get the player they always wanted as well as allocation money by trading down one spot with the Philadelphia Union, and took the most MLS-ready prospect in the entire draft.
And while we didn't see it right away, Birnbaum proved that designation (and then some) when he took over for Jeff Parke at the beginning of June. He stepped right in next to Bobby Boswell and helped anchor the best defense in MLS for 5/8ths of the season. The only disappointment that many of us had with Birnbaum was his inability to get a goal after being so close so many times. He will hopefully be Rookie of the Year, and if he can continue his improvement he could be on track to follow his defensive partner as an eventual MLS Defender of the Year.
I assume that everyone is going to want Birnbaum back next season, but a tradition is a tradition so we ask anyways. Also, let me know in the comments what you think Birnbaum's ceiling is? This season? Boswell level? Eventual national teamer? And what do you expect from him next year? Talk about that, and anything else Birnbaum, in the comments.