Daniel Mendes finalizes deal in advance of Friday showdown with Baltimore Blast

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND – Daniel Mendes is back in the Tropics fold and is expected to be in the lineup Friday night when Florida hosts the two-time defending Major Arena Soccer League Baltimore Blast. Mendes was officially signed this week. Per league and team policies, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Mendes, a star in the North American Soccer League, joined the Tropics late last season, and logged one assist in five games.

“Daniel got valuable minutes last season, and was close to breaking through on the scoresheet several times,” Tropics Coach Clay Roberts said. “With that experience, and his one-v-one skill, I expect that it he will do that quickly this season and become an important part of our attack.”

Mendes was a standout in 2014 and 2015 for Minnesota United, one of the NASL's premier teams which will began play in Major League Soccer in 2017. He had 15 goals in those two years, after a standout career in Sweden, where playing professionally in that country's top league, he tallied 52 goals in 186 games. He was named NASL player-of-the-week in Week 5 of the 2014 NASL campaign.

Florida will play its next two on SYKES Field at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, starting with a Friday night showdown against the Blast, the third meeting already this year between the two eastern division rivals. Florida won 5-4 on SYKES Field on Nov. 18, with the Blast evening the season series this past Sunday in Baltimore, 10-1.Tickets are available at www.fltropics.com, or by calling the team office at 863-240-0101. All Tropics games home an away are also broadcast online at www.mast.tv.