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Cosmos Defender Carlos Mendes Named NASL Player of the Week

Carlos Mendes. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

Carlos Mendes. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

New York Cosmos Captain Carlos Mendes had quite the week. Just days after celebrating the birth of his first child, the 34-year-old defender made sure his wife Jill wouldn’t forget her first Mother’s Day. Mendes found the net twice in the Cosmos 4-2 win over FC Edmonton on Sunday – a performance that earned him North American Soccer League (NASL) Player of the Week honors.

“It’s been a great week for me personally and for the team as well,” Mendes said. “All of the guys are working really hard, and it’s an honor to be recognized in this way by the league.”

The New York native opened the scoring in the second minute, collecting a rebound from Eddies goalkeeper Matt VanOekel and firing home from close range. In the 36th minute, Mendes struck again, heading in a cross from Spanish defender Ayoze to give his team a 3-1 lead.

“Carlos is a great captain, and he works hard and shows fantastic leadership on the pitch,” Cosmos Coach Giovanni Savarese said. “It’s great to see him named Player of the Week, and I think it is the perfect end to a week where the Cosmos family became bigger with the arrival of his son James.”

The first-place Cosmos remain unbeaten on the season after Sunday’s victory over FC Edmonton. With 14 points through six matches, Giovanni Savarese’s side now sits five points clear of Jacksonville Armada FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the NASL Spring Season standings.

Sunday’s match marked the second time in as many years that Mendes has turned in a two-goal performance in front of the home fans. The 5-foot-11 defender, who was the first player to sign with the Cosmos in the NASL Modern Era, found the net twice against the Atlanta Silverbacks on April 13, 2014, earning Player of the Week honors for his efforts.

Despite showing the ability to score in bunches on a pair of occasions, Mendes is mostly known for his strong defensive play. The veteran defender didn’t score a single goal in eight MLS seasons, and the pair of two-goal performances represents his only goals for the Cosmos since 2013.

Mendes’ wife, Jill, gave birth to their first child, James Ryan Mendes, on Thursday morning. Sunday was certainly an extra-special Mother’s Day for Jill, but also for Mendes’ mother, Maria, who was in attendance at Shuart Stadium to cheer on her son.

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The Cosmos are on the road for their next match, which will come this Saturdayagainst the Carolina RailHawks at WakeMed Soccer Park. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and the match can be seen live on ESPN3 and ONE World Sports.

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