Newcomer Sean Dong (left) scored for the Menace in a 3-0 win. Photo credit: Joe Nalefski
DES MOINES, Iowa – Wednesday, May 14, 2014 – A rematch with Minnesota United FC awaits the Des Moines Menace in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
With a 3-0 win over the Real Colorado Foxes tonight at Valley Stadium, the Menace earns a May 28 home date against Minnesota in the Open Cup’s third round. Making its fifth straight appearance in the Cup, the Menace improves to 11-8 all-time in the national tournament.
This marks the third straight year these teams meet in the Open Cup. Last year, the Menace upset the pros from the North American Soccer League, to set up a marquee matchup with eventual Major League Soccer champion Sporting Kansas City.
“It’s something we’re not talking about yet. They’ll be looking to get back at us,” Menace head coach Mike Jeffries said of the northern foe. “It’s a great opportunity for our guys.”
A year after the Menace struggled to find the finishing touch at home, Jeffries was happy to see his team start the 2014 season in style.
Returners Nico Wright and Brandon Fricke wasted little time to get the Menace in the scoring column. In just the fifth minute, Fricke played a low cross into the six-yard box. Unmarked on the back post, Wright tapped the ball into the wide-open goal mouth.
“It was amazing,” said Wright, the team’s top scorer a year ago. “Once we got that first one, we were just rolling.”
The Menace kept rolling, with goals also coming from Alec Bartlett and Sean Dong. In the 39th minute, Bartlett got on the end of Ralphie Lundy’s free kick and smashed in a header to the top of the goal. Dong made the defense pay in the 53rd minute, when he capitalized on a blunder by the Foxes’ backline. The newcomer found some open turf, splitting two defenders and curling a goal into the bottom-right corner.
“I think this is a good game for our confidence,” Jeffries said. “Hopefully, we can build on that. A good start.”
Jeffries and company will look to build their confidence on Saturday, when they open the Premier Development League season in Springfield (Mo.). The Menace looks to get back to the PDL playoffs for the first time in three years. Real Colorado knocked the Menace out of postseason contention in 2012 and 2013. These teams will not see each other this season in Heartland Division play, as the Foxes have moved to the Mountain Division.
MAN of the MATCH: Nico Wright, who started the 2014 season on the right foot. He opened the scoring in the fifth minute, and collected three more shots in the win. Wright is a native of St. Catherine, Jamaica, who attends Fairleigh Dickinson. His three goals for the 2013 Menace led the team.
UP NEXT: On Saturday (May 17), the team starts the PDL season on the road, against the Springfield (Mo.) Demize. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Cooper Complex.
Match: Real Colorado Foxes at Des Moines Menace
Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Competition: 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, second round
Venue: Valley Stadium in West Des Moines, Iowa
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 2 1 3
RC 0 0 0
MENACE – Nico Wright (Brandon Fricke) 5:00; Alec Bartlett (Ralphie Lundy) 39:00; Sean Dong 53:00
Stats Summary: MENACE / RC
Shots: 20 / 6
Saves: 3 / 7
Corner Kicks: 7 / 1
Fouls: 6 / 9
Offside: 3 / 1
Misconduct Summary: No cautions or ejections
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 64-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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