Carlos Mendes scored twice against Wynalda’s Silverbacks in the Cosmos’ 2014 home opener. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
By Michael Lewis
When the Cosmos meet New Amsterdam FC in the opener of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the NISA Independent Cup Sunday night, it won’t be the first time that opposing coaches Carlos Mendes and Eric Wynalda would be facing off.
The teams will tussle at the Hudson Sports Complex in Warwick, N.Y.
In the Cosmos’ 2014 North American Soccer League opener that April 14, Mendes scored twice within a 15-minute span to boost the Cosmos to a 4-0 victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks. Mendes, who was a center back then, hadn’t scored a goal in 11 years. And in this game, he was fired home a pair.
Mendes, 33, last found the back of the net with the Rochester Rhinos in the USL PRO league in 2003. Against the Silverbacks, the Cosmos’ captain put in a rebound of Marcos Senna’s free kick that goalkeeper Derby Carrillo had saved in the 23rd minute.
After Ayoze doubled the lead in the 32nd minute, Mendes tapped home Ayoze’s corner kick from eight yards.
“He almost got a hat trick. That would have been great,” said Wynalda, who was the Atlanta coach then. “I probably would have killed myself if that would have happened.”
When told of Wynalda’s remarks, Mendes replied, “It seems a little extreme. It’s great to get two goals. It’s about the team winning, three points. Hopefully I’ve got a couple of more this year. But as long as we keep winning the games, that’s all I’m worried about.”
The Cosmos and New Amsterdam FC will meet during an abbreviated National Independent Soccer Association match in Warwick, N.Y. Aug. 21.