The MLSNEXTPro.com editorial team, several league personnel, announcers, and the clubs themselves voted on the top performers across the league during the month of May, declaring a Team of the month, Goalkeeper of the month, Coach of the month, and Player of the month.
The voting process entailed performances taken from May 1st to May 31st, with votes being tallied June 1st - June 3rd.
Player of the month: Jacen Russell-Rowe, Columbus Crew 2
The Columbus Crew 2 forward went on a six-match scoring streak, scoring in three of their four matches during the month of May. Russell Rowe’s performances even saw him earn a one-match-loan to the first team.
The 19-year-old scored three goals on seven shots in three matches while tallying one assist in the process
“It's an honor, honestly, to be the second Player of the Month in MLS NEXT Pro," Russell-Rowe said. "It was definitely one of my personal goals before the season to at least be Player of the Month once. Now we work towards another one and more wins for the team.”
Jack Lynn, Orlando City B
Pedro Dolabella, RNY FC
Aziel Jackson, MNUFC2
Noah Fuson, Crew 2
Mataeo Bunbury, SKC II
Goalkeeper of the month: Jacob Jackson, New England Revolution II
Jackson was a brick wall between the sticks for New England Revolution II during the month of May. Jackson kept five-straight clean sheets while starting for Revs II while leading MLS NEXT Pro in both goals allowed and save percentage.
"It’s an honor to be recognized by the league and I’m super grateful to be able to come down to the second team and work alongside all of the hardworking, talented guys in this locker room," Jackson said. "I’m looking forward to helping this team out in whatever way I can and continuing to grow within the Revolution organization.”
During the month of May, Jackson made 16 saves across the four matches he played in, earning the honors of Goalkeeper of the Month.
Fred Emmings, MNUFC2
Caique, RNY FC
Emi Ochoa, Earthquakes II
Coach of the month: Bruno Baltazar, Rochester New York FC
Baltazar was awarded Coach of the month during the month of May for the immaculate four-match stretch his club went on.
Four-straight wins saw RNY FC take the Eastern Conference by storm, tabling four impressive consecutive wins, but the highlights came in their 3-0 shutout over Union II and their 4-0 shutout on the road against Crew 2. RNY FC handed Crew 2 their second loss of the season and was the first side to keep them scoreless since March.
Baltazar unlocked his attacking duo of Gilbran Rayo and Pedro Dolabella, who led the frontlines of the RNY FC attack. Rayo tallied three goals and three assists through the four matches, while Dolabella found the back of the net four times.
Baltazar, the only coach in MLS NEXT Pro with UEFA Champions League experience, played every match to near perfection from player selection, tactics, and bench personnel. A well-deserved accolade for the RNY FC gaffer.
“I’m really happy to get this award," Baltazar said. "I consider it a collective award because everybody at the club is putting in a great effort in this exciting rebirth of the club. I must praise my staff and my players' commitment and professionalism. May was a great month for us but obviously, we can’t relax because we haven’t achieved anything yet. We’re still far away from where we want to be in order to have a successful season”
Wade Webber, Tacoma Defiance
Pa-Modou Kah, North Texas SC
Clint Peay, Revs II
Laurent Courtois, Crew 2
Cam Knowles, MNUFC2
Team of the month: Rochester New York FC
The only non-affiliated side competing in MLS NEXT Pro, RNY FC put on an immaculate performance during the month of May, winning all four matches in the process.
Starting their inaugural NEXT Pro season 0-3-1, RNY FC flipped a switch during the month of May and have completely turned their season around. It began with a 2-1 win on the road against FC Cincinnati 2 – their first-ever win as an organization – and it was followed by two stellar performances at home. A stunning 4-1 victory over Inter Miami II was followed up by a 3-0 win over Philadelphia Union II. They closed out the month with a stupendous victory over Columbus Crew II, winning 4-0 on the road against the league leaders, ending Crew 2’s seven-match win streak.
A +10 goal-differential, two clean sheets, and four straight wins crown RNY FC Team of the Month award during the month of May.
"We are delighted with the awards for Bruno and the team," said Sporting Director Lee Tucker. "It represents the progress we have made in such a short space of time. However, we are also very aware that there is a lot of work ahead of us to continue our development as a team."
Columbus Crew 2
New England Revolution II
Minnesota United 2
North Texas SC