The New York Cosmos promised to sign a Major League Soccer (MLS) player and they delivered, naming Columbus Crew defender Carlos Mendes as the first player on their roster. Mendes, who will turn 32 next month, made 12 appearances with the Crew last season. Prior to that, the MLS veteran spent seven seasons with the New York Red Bulls before being cut in 2011. And in what some will likely see as a delicious twist of fate, according to Soccer by Ives, Mendes was the last player to ever wear a MetroStars jersey.
The Mendes signing is interesting on a number of fronts. For starters, many fans were expecting a big name like Juan Pablo Angel. But naming a far less flashy defender shows that the Cosmos are a little more practical, and will hopefully end speculation that the club will field a team of international superstars. And opting for a local – Mendes is a Long Island native who also played for the Long Island Rough Riders – shows that they are market savvy as well. But the signing of what Cosmos COO Erik Stover, who crossed paths with Mendes as GM of the Red Bulls, called “a Long Island guy” has also fueled the rumor that the Cosmos intend to stay out on Long Island permanently.
That said, it’s welcome news to Cosmos fans, who have been reeling since the club faltered on its commitment “to become an MLS team in the most expedient manner possible” and failed to get its act together in time to start the 2013 North American Soccer League (NASL) season. Those decisions have tempered the support of many fans, while causing others to take action in hopes of altering the club’s course. For example, the Borough Boys recently launched an online petition in hopes of forcing the Cosmos and MLS to come to an agreement that sees the club securing the league’s 20th franchise, a prospect that is looking increasingly unlikely.
The Cosmos also announced that, starting Dec. 14, fans can place a deposit online to reserve 2013 NASL season tickets. Those who had signed up for ticket information are able to make their deposit a day in advance.
Understandably, given that the team recently announced that it would only be playing half the season, this news was met with a barrage of jokes about whether or not the tickets would be half-priced. But fans eager to ensure they have a seat at Shuart Stadium seven months down the road can go ahead and place a $50 deposit now, even though actual ticket prices have yet to be announced.
Once the club determines ticket prices and secures a ticketing vendor (one of the reasons cited for its inability to field a team on time), season ticket orders will be processed in the order the deposits were received. But keep in mind that these deposits are non-refundable and do not guarantee that tickets will be available in the particular ticket plan, price range, or seating section you ultimately want – once those details are actually announced.