SB Nation had a community vote on all of the MLS Awards -- we also got real votes in the competition but as you can imagine, those have a smidgen less weight than the inter-SBN votes -- and unsurprisingly, Austin Berry was named the Rookie of the Year.
His season started out slowly, as he didn't even appear in the Fire's six matches. But once he broke into the starting lineup on May 5, he never relinquished it, starting more games (28) than any other rookie. He also managed to play every minute of every game he started, something else no rookie could claim.
The Fire's defense improved from allowing 1.33 goals per game before he joined the starting lineup to 1.18 goals per game to finish out the season, as the Fire went back to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Berry was a shoe-in mostly because of the superb consistency that you don't often see from a rookie. It's the same thing that's probably going to carry him to the real life RoY award. Similarly, that consistency thing is the exact same reason why Tony Cascio not only didn't receive any votes, but is likely not going to be anywhere close to the real Rookie of the Year award once it's announced.
I am unabashedly a Cascio fan, probably his biggest fan. (Who else owns a customized Tony Cascio jersey? That's what I thought!) Even then, I couldn't put a vote in for him* despite the roaring start to the season he had and a solid, if points-less, second half. Three goals and three assists isn't a terrible clip for a rookie winger by any means, but Cascio always seemed to leave us wanting more from him.
Cascio has a heck of a shot and can make as good a pass as anyone on the team, so had he been playing up to his full potential the entire season -- and hadn't been taken off the field for large swaths of time during the second half of the year -- he could probably have had a point total closer to Jaime Castrillon's 11 points than his six. He provided more energy than anything in his second half performance, working as a super-sub instead of a starter. Super-subs don't win awards, unless their nickname is 'DeRo'.
I doubt any of us will be complaining about him not being considered for the RoY award, which he really shouldn't be, if he manages to turn his potential into a 10-goal season next year. Who knows?
* For full disclosure, my votes went to Nick DeLeon and Darren Mattocks, with Berry in third.