10 MLS NEXT Pro standouts working towards first-team call-ups  | MLSSoccer.com

Several MLS NEXT Pro standouts have not only been key to their team’s seasons so far but could also be worthy of a first-team role over the final weeks of the MLS season. In addition, teams such as Toronto FC and Colorado Rapids could test young players with an eye toward closing out their seasons on a high note and building for next year.

Firmino has been one of the leading attacking stars in MLS NEXT Pro, contributing 15 goals and five assists for ATL UTD 2. Firmino still remains in the race for the MLS NEXT Pro Golden Boot award, sitting two goals behind NYCFC II’s Matt Myers in that hunt.

Kemy Amiche has been influential for Huntsville City FC in MLS NEXT Pro, leading the team with six assists while also adding eight goals in 24 appearances. A deadly attacking midfielder, the 22-year-old Amiche has formed a strong partnership with Azaad Liadi in the attack for Huntsville City FC, who have enjoyed a positive debut season.

West-leading St. Louis CITY SC have surpassed many expectations during their inaugural MLS season, with several of last season’s CITY2 standouts playing a key role. John Klein looks capable of following in those footsteps.

Klein leads CITY2 with 12 goals this season, which has helped keep them in the MLS NEXT Pro Playoff race. The 23-year-old enjoyed a positive collegiate career at Saint Louis University before playing for several developmental teams ahead of his signing with CITY2.

Pacheco has scored 11 goals and registered nine assists in 44 career appearances in MLS NEXT Pro for MNUFC2, with eight goals and four assists coming in 2023. Cameron Knowles’ squad remains well in the playoff race, but so does the Loons’ first team under Adrian Heath.

Kabunguchy, 25, played for MNUFC2 in 2022 before joining Orlando City during the offseason. A versatile center back, Kabunguchy has tied his career-high with four goals scored in 2023 for Orlando City B and has surpassed over 2,000 minutes this season.

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