Ben Taylor (center) and Jack Pearson (right), shown in a 2009 match, reunite as part of the Menace's 2013 USASA entry.
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 – Against a familiar foe, the Des Moines Menace starts its pursuit of a fifth-straight appearance in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
On Saturday, the Menace faces the Kansas City Athletics in the teams’ third meeting of the last four years. Once again, this encounter comes in the opening round of the National Cups, Region II Open Cup, sanctioned by the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA).
Valley Stadium is the site of this match, and the Menace is hoping to break a pattern of road-team success. In 2010, the Athletics escaped Des Moines with an exhausting, shootout win (tied 4-4 after two extra periods); the next year, the visiting Menace pounced on a 10-man side, 7-1.Each time, the winner went on to play in that year’s U.S. Open Cup. These teams have their sights set on a return to the 100-year-old national tournament. In this fall’s eight-team regional tournament, the last two teams standing are guaranteed a spot in the 2014 U.S. Open Cup.
Kansas City Athletics at Des Moines Menace
Competition: United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) National Cups, Region-II Tournament (first round)
Date and Time: Saturday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. CST
Venue: Valley Stadium (turf field) in West Des Moines, Iowa
Tickets: $5 for ages 19-older; Free for 2013 season-ticket holders and for ages 18-under.
Details: Fans can sit on either side of the field and are encouraged to sit on the east bleachers (behind the player benches). The concession stand close to the east bleachers will be open.
Des Moines has made eight appearances in the U.S. Open Cup, including each of the last four years. In May 2013, Des Moines upset Minnesota United (professional North American Soccer League) to earn a third-round bout with Sporting Kansas City. In front of more than 15,000 fans at Sporting Park, the defending Cup champs defeated the pesky amateurs, 2-0.
A much-publicized controversy kept the Athletics from the 2013 Cup. On April 21 at Olathe (Kan.) North High School, they seemingly clinched their third Cup berth, by defeating the Dearborn Stars (Michigan), 1-0. However, the visitors had filed a protest prior to the match, siting the field was narrower than the 65-yard width outlined in the rule book. Ultimately, the Stars’ protest was upheld and the Athletics forfeited the match.
RWB Adria awaits the winner of Saturday’s match. A Menace win on Saturday would set up a Nov. 23 match at Valley Stadium against the Illinois team.
ABOUT THE MENACE
- Mike Jeffries, who returns for his second season as the Menace head coach, will lead this team.
- The roster, announced last week, includes 18 former Menace players (Premier Development League team and Menace Academy) and seven current college players.
- Each of the Menace’s last 12 PDL teams has at least one representative.
- Four members of Des Moines’ 2005 PDL championship team are on the roster: Tomas Boltnar, Luke Frieberg, Ross Moffat and Armin Mujdzic.
- Each Menace team from 2006-08 is represented by seven players in this group.
- Fans will see a quartet from the 2013 Menace: Chris Harmon, Sean Hoek, Nicky Poulter and Michael Thaden.
ABOUT THE ATHLETICS
- The Athletics are guided by player/manager Kyle Perkins, who has scored four goals against the Menace.
- Loaded with former pros, this team has at least two former Major League Soccer players: goalkeeper Boris Pardo and midfielder Brian Roberts, who each spent time with the Kansas City Wizards.
- There are at least four Menace alumni – all Drake products – on the roster: Jesse Baker (2005 Menace), Peter Kariotis (2006-07), Matt Kuhn (2010) and Garrett Webb (2009).
- These teams are tied 1-1, with each side securing a road win.
- On May 2, 2010 at Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines, Kansas City outlasted the Menace in a marathon that was settled by a nine-round penalty-kick shootout.
o The teams ended regulation tied 4-4, and neither team found the net in the two extra periods. Athletics manager Kyle Perkins notched a hat trick (three goals), while the Menace received a brace (two goals) from Armin Mujdzic and a score a piece from Tomas Boltnar and Austin Otto.
o Menace alum Zach Brennan emerged the hero for the visitors. After making his fourth save in the shootout, the goalkeeper stepped to the mark and scored the winning PK.
o A couple weeks later, the Athletics got another shootout win (over AAC Eagles, 3-3, in the second round), clinching their first-ever berth in the U.S. Open Cup.
- On April 30, 2011 at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., the Menace beat a shorthanded Athletics team, 7-1.
o Perkins put his side up in the 35th minute, before the Menace answered with a scoring rampage.
o John Sosa, Bryan Perez and Jarrett Hamilton each scored twice; Brady Blankenship also scored.
o The Menace clinched the Open Cup berth, as the team with the best goal differential in the regional tournament’s three opening-round matchups.
THE MENACE IN THE U.S. OPEN CUP
- Des Moines is aiming for its fifth-straight berth in U.S. Open Cup and ninth overall.
- The franchise’s first four cup trips came in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006.
- The Menace is 10-8 all-time in the national tournament, including a 6-6 mark against pro teams (4-2 versus amateur teams).
THE ATHLETICS IN THE U.S. OPEN CUP
- Representing Kansas, this team eyes its third Open Cup appearance.
- In the 2010 Cup, the Athletics lost, 4-2, in the first round at NSC Minnesota (playing in that year’s provisional USSF Division-2 Professional League).
- In 2012, KC opened with a 3-1 road win over Real Colorado (like the Menace, a member of the Premier Development League’s Heartland Division), and lost, 7-0 at Orland City (the USL-Pro 2011 and 2013 champions).
NEXT UP IN THE TOURNAMENT
- The winner advances to a second-round matchup with RWB Adria (Illinois), which defeated the home-side Milwaukee Bavarians, 4-1, on Sunday (Nov. 10). RWB (Red, White and Blue) Adria has made three U.S. Open Cup appearances: 1996, 2008 and 2013 (losing a shootout at USL-Pro Pittsburgh after a 1-1 tie).
- If the Menace wins in the first round, RWB Adria will come to Valley Stadium for a 7 p.m. match on Saturday, Nov. 23.
- The tournament’s other semifinal is set: Schwaben AC hosts the AAC Eagles on Nov. 24 in an all-Illinois matchup.
- The tournament final is to be completed by Dec. 8; The two teams that reach the final receive spots in the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
MENACE HEAD COACH MIKE JEFFRIES
- Announced by Menace owner Kyle Krause as the team’s new head coach on Jan. 8, 2013.
- Has more than 20 years’ experience as a professional player and coach.
- Is assisted by Menace goalkeeping coach Matt Kennedy.
- His 10-plus years in Major League Soccer include three seasons (2001-03) as head coach of the Dallas Burn and three stints with the Chicago Fire.
- Was an assistant coach in Chicago from 1998-2000 and from 2008-10; served as the Fire’s director of player personnel from Oct. 2010 until Sept. 2012.
- Led Dallas to the MLS playoffs in 2001 and 2002 and was nominated for MLS Coach of the Year in 2002.
- Part of Chicago’s inaugural 1998 team that won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the MLS Cup; The Fire repeated as Open Cup champ in 2000.
- Served as a scout for the U.S. Men’s National Team during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
- A former member of the United States Men’s National Team (1984-85) and the 1983 NCAA Player of the Year (Duke).
- Played in North America’s top pro ranks from 1984-88. The first pick of the 1983 Major Indoor Soccer League Draft, he played in MISL for the Minnesota Strikers (1984-87) and the Dallas Sidekicks (1988). In the final season of the original North America Soccer League, he scored two goals in 10 matches for the 1984 Minnesota Strikers.
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. Entering its 21st season, the Menace men’s side competes in the 65-team United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL). The Menace’s women’s team played in the 2013 Women’s Premier Soccer League playoffs, after debuting as the Women’s League Soccer 2012 champions. The Menace teams play their home matches in a fun, family-friendly environment at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines. The organization promotes a healthy lifestyle through its popular youth programs, including the Menace Academy (select soccer for ages 9-19), camps, clinics, Junior Menace and tournaments.
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