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James Mendes scores twice in Cosmos' victory

New York Cosmos defender Carlos Mendes (4) is

New York Cosmos defender Carlos Mendes (4) is congratulated by his teammate forward Raul Gonzalez Blanco (7) after scoring a first half goal in a NASL game against FC Edmonton at Shuart Stadium at Hofstra University in Hempstead on Sunday, May 10, 2015. Credit: Steven Ryan

It was a Mother's Day that Carlos Mendes won't soon forget.

Three days after the birth of his first child, son James Ryan Mendes, the defender scored his first two goals of the 2015 season in the Cosmos' 4-2 win over FC Edmonton on Sunday at Hofstra.

"It's an incredible feeling," Mendes said.

Raul Gonzalez Blanco and Lucky Mkosana also scored for the Cosmos, who improved to an NASL-best 4-0-2 with four games remaining in the spring portion of the season. The Cosmos lead the league with 14 points and a plus-six goal differential.

"The team is playing well," Mendes said. "Hopefully, we'll be champions of the spring."

Daniel Szetela made two assists, and Leo Fernandes added one. Goaltender Jimmy Maurer made two saves.

In essence, the sixth all-time meeting between the franchises was decided in the opening 45 minutes as the Cosmos led 3-1 at halftime.

Mendes began the rout with an unassisted goal in the second minute, after FC Edmonton goalie Matt VanOekel couldn't handle Mkosana's header. VanOekel allowed the four Cosmos goals on nine shots as Edmonton dropped to 1-2-2.

Tomi Ameobi equalized in the 17th minute with a penalty kick. The goal ended the Cosmos' shutout streak at 364 minutes, dating to the 1-1 draw against the Indy Eleven on April 11.

Raul put the Cosmos ahead in the 23rd minute with his second goal of the season. Raul's goal was the culmination of a sequence in which Szetela rang two shots off the post before the forward scored.

"I think I'm going to put that clip up on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter," Szetela said of his unconventional assist. "I've never seen it happen like that."

Thirteen minutes later, Szetela set up Mendes for his second goal of the half with a cross that the defender headed into the net to push the lead to 3-1.

The Cosmos closed their scoring when Mkosana scored in the the 49th minute. Following the goal, coach Giovanni Savarese thought the Cosmos "relaxed a little bit," which became costly when Edmonton midfielder Ritchie Jones scored in the 74th minute.

"The defending as a whole team could have been a little bit better after the 4-1 [goal]," Savarese said. "Unfortunately [the Cosmos] made wrong decisions, giving the ball away, relaxing a little bit too much and that's what allowed [Edmonton] to get back into the game."


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