MLS NEXT Pro Monthly Awards: May

May monthly awards

The editorial team, several league personnel, announcers, and clubs voted on the top performers across the league during April to declare a Team, Coach, Goalkeeper, Rising Star, and Player of the Month.

The voting process entailed performances taken from MLS NEXT Pro league matches from May 1 to May 30.

Here are the winners:

MLS NEXT Pro Team of the Month: Philadelphia Union II

Philadelphia Union II's unbeaten month of May helped them move to first place in the Eastern Conference.

Marlon LeBlanc's squad went a perfect 3-0-0 during May's schedule, earning MLS NEXT Pro Team of the Month honors. During those three victories, Union II outscored their opponents 10-2 over that span, receiving contributions from seven different goalscorers.

A 2-0 victory over Huntsville City FC featured second-half goals from C.J. Olney and Francis Westfield on May 5.

Chris Donovan and Olwethu Makhanya led the way on May 19th's 3-1 road win over New England Revolution II, with Donovan scoring twice in the result.

Union II saved the best for last by hammering New York Red Bulls II by a 5-1 scoreline on May 26. 17-year-old Eddy Davis broke the deadlock at MSU Soccer Park before David Vazquez and Markus Anderson added respective braces in the rout.

Goalkeeper Andrew Rick was rarely troubled, making just two saves in the last 270 minutes of action.

A busy month of June comes up next for Union II, who begins a five-match slate vs. Columbus Crew 2.

MLS NEXT Pro Player of the Month: Yutaro Tsukada (Orlando City B)

Yutaro Tsukada Orlando City B

Orlando City B earned seven points during its four-match May slate and midfielder Yutaro Tsukada was a major reason for it.

Tsukada scored three goals and added two assists in three appearances for OCB, earning MLS NEXT Pro Player of the Month honors.

The 22-year-old helped OCB earn one point in a 5-4 shootout loss to Chattanooga FC, setting up Shak Mohammed for the tying goal. After playing a key role at CFC, Tsukada stole the show in a 3-1 victory over New York Red Bulls II, scoring twice in a 28-minute span.

Tsukada did not feature in OCB's 4-3 defeat at Columbus Crew 2 on May 15, but did return in a recent 5-0 triumph over Huntsville City FC.

After setting up Jhon Solis' opening goal, Tsukada doubled OCB's lead with a second-half free kick in the 48th minute on Sunday. OCB would add three additional goals to pad their lead in an eventual rout on home soil.

Tsukada now has four goals and four assists in nine appearances this season as OCB sits sixth in the Eastern Conference.

MLS NEXT Pro Coach of the Month: Tyrone Marshall (FC Cincinnati 2)

Tyrone Marshall FC Cincinnati 2

FC Cincinnati 2 head coach Tyrone Marshall has his side playing exceptionally well heading into June's schedule.

Marshall led FCC2 to a 3-1-0 record in May, earning Coach of the Month honors. A trio of victories over Crown Legacy FC, Columbus Crew 2, and New York Red Bulls II have FCC2 sitting third in the Eastern Conference with 19 points earned.

A comeback was needed against Crown Legacy FC on May 4, but FCC2 delivered one as Stefan Chirila and Peter Mangione scored late in the second half.

Chirila played the hero in May 12's road win over Crew 2, scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 triumph.

The 17-year-old extended his goalscoring streak to three matches by scoring twice in a 4-1 road win over New York Red Bulls II. Ben Stitz and Moises Tablante also celebrated goals of their own as FCC2 extended their unbeaten run at the time to five matches.

“Tyrone has done a good job this season of developing a gameplan with our Next Pro group, and it has been reflected in the results,” said FC Cincinnati Director of Player Pathway Jeff Larentowicz. “The team is off to a positive start and Ty and the staff have the team performing at a very high level.”

Despite a recent 1-0 loss to Inter Miami II, FCC2 are flying high in the East and will be a team to watch during the summer slate.

MLS NEXT Pro Goalkeeper of the Month: Michael Collodi (North Texas SC)

Michael Collodi North Texas SC

Michael Collodi was one of the busier MLS NEXT Pro goalkeepers in May, helping North Texas SC to a current first place spot in the Western Conference.

Collodi started in all four of NTX's matches this month, totaling 15 saves, and one clean sheet. The 23-year-old earned MLS NEXT Pro Goalkeeper of the Month honors following his impactful run in between the posts.

Collodi helped NTX shutout Sporting KC II 2-0 on May 5 while also earning victories against Timbers2 and Real Monarchs in recent weeks. Despite NTX's 1-0 road loss to The Town FC on May 12, Collidi made four saves in that match, helping his side avoid a much-larger defeat.

Collodi is one of two MLS NEXT Pro goalkeepers (VCFC's Brady Scott) to feature in all of his club's matches so far, logging 900 minutes and 10 starts. He's also been a major reason for NTX's eight goals conceded this season, which ranks as the league's fewest to date.

“I am so pleased for Michael," North Texas SC head coach John Gall said about Collodi's honor. "He is getting the recognition that he deserves. This recognition is a credit to himself, his family, teammates, the FC Dallas Academy and North Texas. In the off-season, we knew that we would be getting one heck of a competitor and person. He’s come in with an incredible mentality and has turned many heads at the club and now across MLS NEXT Pro. I’m proud of what he does daily with Kyle (Zobeck) and assure you that there is more to come from him.”

A June 2 trip to LAFC 2 will be a tough test for NTX and Collodi, but after an impressive month of May, he surely will be up for the challenge.

MLS NEXT Pro Rising Star of the Month: Stefan Chirila (FC Cincinnati 2)

Stefan Chirila

17-year-old Stefan Chirila was a major reason for FC Cincinnati 2's success in May, with the young attacker finding his name on the scoresheet on multiple occasions.

Chirila scored four goals and added one assist in three appearances, earning MLS NEXT Pro Rising Star of the Month honors.

After helping spring a comeback against Crown Legacy FC on May 4, Chirila scored the winning goal against Columbus Crew 2 on May 12.

A 4-1 rout of New York Red Bulls II on May 19 featured a first MLS NEXT Pro brace for Chirila, who also added one assist in his 90-minute performance.

Chirilia's impressive month earned him a Homegrown Contract with FC Cincinnati, which begins in 2025 and runs through 2028. A former FC Cincinnati academy standout, Chirila is a talent that FCC fans should be excited about for years to come.

“Stefan has been an important player for our team this season,” said FC Cincinnati Director of Player Pathway Jeff Larentowicz. “He has had a great goal scoring record this year at the academy level and we are delighted to see it continue with the Next Pro squad. We look forward to aiding in his development in his young professional career.”