Week #18 NASL Players of the Week: Pedro Mendes & Richard Martinez
MIAMI, Fla. (August 6, 2012) – Atlanta Silverbacks forward Pedro Mendes has been named North American Soccer League Offensive Player of the Week, the league announced Monday afternoon.
The Brazilian forward is coming off a two-goal performance in the Silverbacks’ 4-2 win against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Saturday night at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. Mendes, 22, now has three goals in just two starts since joining the club on July 13.
“It feels great to be honored by the league because I’ve been working extremely hard each and every day,” Mendes said. “My teammates did a great job of putting me in a position to have success the other night, and I think that this award is just motivation for me to keep working hard and improving my game.”
Along with his twin brother, Paulo, Mendes joined the Silverbacks from the Rhode Island Reds of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). The brothers have started the past two games, and have accounted for four of the Silverbacks’ seven goals. Mendes’ first goal against the Strikers on Saturday night came off a cross from his brother, Paulo.
Mendes has injected pace and creativity into the Silverbacks lineup, qualities that caught the eye of interim head coach Eric Wynalda earlier this year. Pedro and Paulo spent time with Wynalda at Cal FC, an amateur club that dispatched a pair of professional teams to make it all the way to the fourth round of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
“As a coach, it’s always good to see a player rewarded for all of their hard work,” said Silverbacks Assistant Coach Brian Haynes. “Pedro has been putting forth a tremendous amount of effort, so to see him reap the benefits of his hard work with a few great goals and a win is fantastic. I can only hope that this will motivate him even more to keep doing what he’s been doing.”
Puerto Rico Islanders defender Richard Martinez has been named the North American Soccer League Defensive Player of the Week. Martinez made a spectacular goal-line clearance in minute 90 against San Antonio Sunday to preserve a 2-1 Islanders win. The win puts Puerto Rico just one point behind the first-place Scorpions in the league standings.
Martinez anchored a defense that conceded just one goal to the Scorpions who had struck eight times the previous week. San Antonio entered the weekend as the highest scoring team in the NASL.
The New York native and graduate of the Hofstra University has been a member of the Puerto Rico Islanders since 2008 . Martinez is in the top five for minutes played this season with the Islanders and the dependable right back has been called up to the Puerto Rico national team for their match up against reigning World Champions Spain on August 15th.
Martinez is the third Islanders player honored by the NASL as a player of the week in 2012. Previously Goalkeeper Richard Martin and Midfielder Jonathan Faña have received the honor.