The New York Cosmos' 2014 North American Soccer League season is off to a dream start as the defending champions defeated the Atlanta Silverbacks, 4-0, in both teams opener in front of 7,906 fans at Shuart Stadium Sunday afternoon.
The Cosmos, who were undefeated at home a year ago, scored three goals in the opening 38 minutes before newcomer Mads Stokkelien headed in the final goal in the 72nd minute.
Captain Carlos Mendes scored his second career professional goal and first in more than 10 years to put the Cosmos in front 1-0 in the 23rd minute. Atlanta goalkeeper Derby Castillo made a diving save on a Marcos Senna free kick from 19 yards before Mendes put the rebound in off the near post.
His first goal was scored as a member of the Rochester Rhinos in the 2003-04 season against Atlanta.
Ayoze doubled the Cosmos advantage nine minutes later, slotting the rebound of a Stokkelien shot blocked by a Silverbacks defender.
Mendes made it 3-0 in the 38th minute, tapping in an Ayoze corner kick from eight yards out.
Stokkelien scored his first goal in a Cosmos uniform in the 72nd minute, heading in a cross from Sebastian Guenzatti at the edge of the six-yard box.
In his second career start, Maurer made 12 to earn the clean sheet, his second against the Silverbacks after earning a 1-0 win in Atlanta in last year’s regular season finale.