WASHINGTON, D.C. - On the heels of his game-winning assist in Saturday's second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, D.C. United forward Freddy Adu was announced Monday as one of three finalists for the MLS Gatorade Rookie of the Year Award. The award will be announced prior to MLS Cup 2004, Sunday November 14, 2004 in Los Angeles, CA.
"Freddy has had a terrific season in his first year as a professional," said D.C. United Technical Director Dave Kasper. "There was an enormous amount of pressure on him throughout the season, but he over delivered each and every game day, on and off of the field. He has made great strides since the first day of preseason and we look forward to continuing to watch Freddy realize his tremendous potential."
With an assist in his first playoff appearance on Saturday, Adu continued his season of youthful superlatives, becoming the youngest player to ever appear in a Major League Soccer playoff match - eclipsing Eddie Gaven by nearly two years - and the youngest to tally a point in the postseason, bettering DaMarcus Beasley by almost three years.
"The lion's share of credit for Freddy's development this season lies within our organization," added Kasper. "Peter Nowak, his assistants and Freddy's teammates have been extremely influential in working with Freddy on a daily basis to improve his game."
In his rookie season, Adu was one of only two D.C. United players to see time in every match on the 2004 campaign. Comfortable in either a forward or attacking midfield role, he became the youngest player ever to appear in a MLS match on April 3, 2004 and became the youngest player ever to score a goal with his strike on April 17, 2004. He was named the commissioner's pick for the 2004 MLS All-Star Game and continued to improve his game throughout the year. His first game-winning goal came as the only tally in the Black-and-Red's 1-0 win over the MetroStars on October 2, 2004, giving him a total of five on the season.