Player of the Month

San Jose Earthquakes forward Cristian Espinoza named MLS Player of the Month


Cristian Espinoza, arguably one of Major League Soccer's most unheralded stars, is unheralded no more after winning MLS Player of the Month honors for April 2023.

The Argentine forward has been at the forefront of the San Jose Earthquakes' 2023 turnaround under new manager Luchi González, hitting his stride in April as the league's only player to score or assist in each of their five matches during the month.

In total, Espinoza tallied five goals over four straight matches – including the game winners against Houston Dynamo FC (April 1) and Sporting Kansas City (April 15) – to lead the Quakes to a 2W-1L-2D record in this period, good for fifth place in the Western Conference.

The 28-year-old is also the only player in MLS this season to record at least six goals and three assists after 10 matchdays.

Espinoza – who's just one goal shy of equaling his career-best output of seven in 2022 and is currently third in the MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi race (behind only Seattle's Jordan Morris and LAFC's Dénis Bouanga) – has San Jose firmly in Audi MLS Cup Playoffs positioning. The club haven't made the postseason since 2020.

But goals only tell a part of the story for Espinoza. The fifth-year Quakes veteran is the league leader in key passes (26) and is one of only two players in MLS with at least 20 key passes and five goals – along with fellow Argentine Thiago Almada, the MLS Player of the Month for February/March 2023, who has 22 key passes and five goals to his name this season with Atlanta United.

Espinoza is the first San Jose Earthquakes player to win the MLS Player of the Month award since Eduardo "Chofis" López in September 2021. He's the club's 10th different player to achieve the distinction.

Seven of the last 10 MLS Player of the Month winners are from Argentina, including Espinoza (April 2023), Almada (February/March 2023), Austin FC's Sebastián Driussi (April & July 2022), FC Cincinnati's Luciano Acosta (June 2022), Columbus Crew's Lucas Zelarayán (February/March 2022), and on-loan NYCFC star Valentín ‘Taty’ Castellanos (October/November 2021).

Unbeaten at home this season, the Earthquakes host 2022 MLS Cup-Supporters' Shield double winners LAFC Saturday night in one of Matchday 11's most-anticipated games (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).