Can Austin Berry lock up Rookie of the Year on Saturday?

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So many of the early Rookie of the Year candidates have done that familiar fade; as MLS rookies are prone to do over such an uncommonly long and taxing campaign.

But not Chicago Fire rookie Austin Berry, who has remained remarkably consistent as the Chicago Fire has positioned itself for a potential top three finish in the East.

With Darren Mattocks’ hamstring injury and the Whitecaps’ recent struggles (this week’s 4-0 breakout over Chivas USA notwithstanding), the runway is clear for a Berry takeoff.

He could pretty much wrap up the honor Saturday at Red Bull Arena. There’s just this teeny-tiny little matter of shutting down one of the game’s all-time greats. But, you know, details, details.

Berry and veteran German center back Arne Friedrich will have their paws full, dealing with Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper, who is a major beneficiary of playing alongside … Thierry Henry.

Berry doesn’t actually have to shut down the Red Bulls pricey French DP. With 14 goals and 12 assists, Henry is among league leaders in both categories. And that’s despite missing nine games this year through injury, distaste for artificial turf and occasionally for being a naughty, naughty boy.

Berry just cannot have a stinker. If he can hold his own in one of the high profile games of the MLS season (it’s on NBC), then Berry can cruise into MLS awards week later this fall.

Oh, by the way, here’s what breakfast looked like around ProSoccerTalk HQ this morning. Just sayin’ …

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