D.C. United teenager Freddy Adu, who had five goals and three assists and played in every regular season game during his highly publicized debut season, was named a finalist for the MLS rookie of the year award yesterday.

Adu, 15, was joined by New England Revolution midfielder Clint Dempsey, who had seven goals and one assist, and Columbus Crew defender Chad Marshall, who helped his team become one of the top defensive units in the league.

The winner will be named on Nov. 12 in Los Angeles during MLS Cup weekend festivities.

Adu, a Ghanaian immigrant who grew up in Montgomery County, was the first overall pick in the 2004 draft last winter and didn't miss a game until the playoff opener against the MetroStars at Giants Stadium on Oct. 23, in part because of a sore shoulder. He returned to action on Saturday as a second-half substitute and assisted on Jaime Moreno's go-ahead goal in the 2-0 series-clinching victory at RFK Stadium.

Marshall (Stanford) was the second overall draft pick and Dempsey (Furman) was eighth.

MLS also announced the finalists for goalkeeper of the year: Columbus's Jon Busch (1.07 goals against average, 10 shutouts), Los Angeles' Kevin Hartman (1.32, seven shutouts) and Colorado's Joe Cannon (1.07, 10 shutouts), who's also an MVP finalist.

The league will announce its coach of the year nominees on Monday.

United, seeking its first appearance in the MLS championship game since 1999, will play New England in the Eastern Conference final Saturday at 7 p.m. at RFK.

-- Steven Goff