New York Cosmos defender Carlos Mendes, Jacksonville Armada FC midfielder Bochy Hoyos, and San Antonio Scorpions forward Billy Forbes headline the NASL Team of the Week after playing key roles in victories over the weekend.
Mendes scored twice in the Cosmos’ 4-2 win on Sunday, while Leo Fernandes and Lucky Mkosana have been a great combination during the matches against Ottawa Fury FC and FC Edmonton.
Here is the full NASL Team of the Week following this weekend’s action:
GK: Miguel Gallardo (Jacksonville Armada FC) – Gallardo made seven saves on his way to his first clean sheet of the season on Saturday night. With Armada FC clinging to a one-goal advantage for a good portion of the match, the Mexican veteran was able to come up with some key blocks, particularly in the final stages, to help his team clinch a 1-0 win over Indy Eleven.
DEF: Justin Davis (Minnesota United) – The Loons earned their second shutout – and first win – of the season to halt the Atlanta Silverbacks’ unbeaten streak. Davis put in a strong shift to lead the back line, limiting Atlanta’s opportunities on goal to earn a 1-0 victory in front of the home fans.
DEF: Drew Beckie (Ottawa Fury FC) – Clean-cut attacking opportunities were hard to come by in Fury FC’s scoreless draw with the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday afternoon. For Ottawa, it was Beckie, who played a pivotal role. Deployed in a holding midfield role to start the match, he moved into the back line after Rafael Alves left with an injury. The Canadian veteran didn’t miss a beat, shutting down a normally potent Rowdies scoring attack.
DEF: Carlos Mendes (New York Cosmos) – A player usually known for his defending abilities, Mendes found the back of the net twice on Sunday to earn Player of the Week honors. The new father was very strong in his defensive duties as well, helping the Cosmos earn their second straight win and third overall at home. Thanks to efforts like the one Mendes put forth over the weekend, the Cosmos remain atop the Spring Season standings as the league’s only unbeaten team.
DEF: Stefan Antonijevic (Tampa Bay Rowdies) – The Rowdies picked up their second clean sheet of the season on Saturday, and center back Stefan Antonijevic was once again a major reason why. The tall Chicago native helped organize the defense and thwarted Ottawa’s attacking chances in a match that finished 0-0 at TD Place. This is Antonijevic’s third Team of the Week honor already this year.
MID: Bochy Hoyos (Jacksonville Armada FC) – While Armada FC had the lion’s share of the opportunities against Indy Eleven on Saturday night, their usually potent attack had difficulty converting chances. Hoyos, however, adjusted well to score his goal, heading Matt Bahner’s cross into the back of the net to earn Jacksonville a 1-0 win over Indy.
MID: Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United) – Throughout his 90-minute shift on Saturday night, Ibarra was a constant threat. The U.S. international showcased a willingness to attack defenders and his movement created goal-scoring opportunities. He also assisted on Pablo Campos’ goal with a centering pass, as the Loons forward used a nifty back heel to score the match’s only tally.
MID: Rafael Castillo (San Antonio Scorpions) – Castillo helped lead the Scorpions to their first win of the season on Saturday night, patrolling the middle of the park and helping control possession. The veteran Colombian midfielder was also involved in the match’s lone goal. He created space for himself before slotting the ball out wide to Billy Forbes, who ultimately found Bright Dike in front of the net for the winner.
MID: Leo Fernandes (New York Cosmos) – Playing in his first NASL season, Fernandes has been a mainstay in the Cosmos starting lineup this year. The Brazilian-born midfielder put in another solid shift on Sunday, causing problems for the Eddies’ defense all match long. Fernandes picked up the assist on Lucky Mkosana’s goal, which put the match to bed midway through the second half.
FWD: Billy Forbes (San Antonio Scorpions) – Coming off the bench just before the halftime whistle, Forbes changed the complexion of the match. The dynamic forward added another element to the Scorpions’ attack, spearheading several scoring opportunities. After nearly scoring in the latter stages of the match, he played a pass across the face of goal to Bright Dike, who made no mistake from close range to score the game-winner in a 1-0 victory over the Carolina RailHawks.
FWD: Lucky Mkosana (New York Cosmos) – Mkosana has played a more active role in the Cosmos’ attack recently, and he made an impact once again on Sunday, chipping in with his second goal in as many weeks. Fernandes’ pass found Mkosana in plenty of space, and the Zimbabwe native demonstrated composure to take a touch, pick his spot, and slot the ball past Eddies goalkeeper Matt VanOekel.
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