TICC caught up with the captain to ask him his thoughts on the season so far and his recovery.
“It’s great to get back with the squad, get back into the rhythm of the game,” Mendes told TICC. “It’s a good point, but disappointing when you’re up most of the game and give up a very, very late goal. They were pressing us, but it was a very good team effort. The guys battled, and a point on the road against a good team is good and it felt great to be out there.”
The Cosmos have started 2017, what could be described as a rebuilding year, with a wave of injuries that primarily impacted the forwards and the back line with Mendes, Ayoze, Ryan Richter and David Diosa all affected in the latter group. Regardless of the constant changes in the XI from game to game, the Cosmos have limited scoring to no more than a goal in five of their six matches so far.
“If you look, we’ve got some great results. Obviously, we’ve had a lot of changes in the offseason, brought in some quality players, but it takes a while to get adjusted and we’ve had some injuries. Some people come in and do an excellent job and that’s a good sign. It’s a long season, you need everybody and if you’re going to be successful, you need all the guys to fill in and we’ve done a great job so far.”
“It’s been great. I think everybody has stepped up. Not just at the back, but through the midfield. Our defenders, we got guys like Darrius [Barnes] who has a lot of experience, been around a long time. Cheche [David Ochieng] when he’s been in, he’s been excellent, so that’s a sign of a good, deep team and something that we’ll need throughout the year. As you know, it’s a lot of games, it’s a long season and hopefully that will help us be successful.”
Mendes now looks ahead to the match against Puerto Rico FC this weekend, putting in the effort on the practice field. In recent weeks, Mendes did not factor into drills, often on the sidelines encouraging his teammates, instead. While this was undoubtedly beneficial for them, he feels it was helpful for his own recovery.“I want to be around the group as much as possible. Even when you’re out, I think it helps with the process, helps with the therapy to see the guys, to be out here. You spend so much time together, you’re a family. It’s just good to get out and when you’re doing therapy, those things help you to kinda stay positive. So, this is what I love doing and it’s just great to be back on the field. We have a lot of work as a group to continue to grow and, hopefully, pick up points this weekend.”