Brazilian midfielder Daniel Mendes won his first North American Soccer League (NASL) Player of the Week honor after scoring two goals, including the game-winner for Minnesota United FC who extended its unbeaten streak to nine games after its victory over visiting FC Edmonton during Week 5 action.
"I am very happy for this recognition, it's a signal that the hard work being done is paying off as much for me as for the team," said Mendes. "I share this nomination with my teammates, coaches and all staff on the club and appreciate the support of the fans. "
With the score line leveled at 1-1 after the first 45 minutes of play at NSC Stadium on Saturday, the São Paulo, Brazil native, gave Minnesota the lead three minutes into the second half. Defender Justin Davis ran the ball down the left sideline, blasting a low cross inside the keeper's box, where Mendes sprinted across the box and tapped the ball in-stride with the outside of his boot past Edmonton goalkeeper John Smits.
Eleven minutes later Mendes had his second of the game and sixth of the year off an assist from midfielder Miguel Ibarra for the 3-1 lead which United who hold on for the victory despite a late tally from Edmonton.
"Great honor for Daniel and well deserved," said United coach, Manny Lagos on the Mendes’ award. "He has been consistently playing well for a while and his goals are just one example of the outstanding player he is."
Prior to coming to NASL, Mendes played eight years in Sweden, tallying 52 goals in 186 games with teams such as AIK, Degerfors IF, GAIS, and Kalmar FF. Before playing in Sweden, Mendes learned his craft in the youth academies of Corinthians (in his native São Paulo) and Juventus. Mendes also played with Rio de Janeiro's top club Botafogo from 1997-2003.