SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Saturday, May 17, 2014 – Sean Hoek and Nico Wright fueled a fast start to the Des Moines Menace’s 2014 Premier Development League season. Their goals in the first 10 minutes of tonight’s Heartland Division match propelled the Menace to a 2-0 victory over the Springfield Demize at Cooper Complex.
Hoek headed in Ralphie Lundy’s corner kick in the seventh minute, and Wright scored unassisted in the ninth minute, as the Menace took the first leg of the inaugural Kum & Go Kup. The trophy, sponsored by the Menace’s parent company, will go to the winner of the season series between these teams, whose only other 2014 meeting comes June 21 in West Des Moines.
“It was a good night. We obviously started very well,” said Menace head coach Mike Jeffries. “We set the tone early, and our guys did a great job limiting Springfield’s opportunities and finishing this one out.”
It seemed fitting for Hoek to score the Menace’s first goal of the 2014 PDL season: He scored the team’s final goal of 2013.
“Give Sean credit. He’s put a lot of energy and work into it,” Jeffries said. “He’s always dangerous on set pieces, and tonight, he did a good job finishing off a good ball from Ralphie.”
The visitors quickly added to their lead. Wright danced and dribbled around four defenders, freeing himself just long enough to rifle a near-post shot into the goal.
Wright, who led the Menace in scoring a year ago, has already collected three goals in one week’s time. He scored in the fifth minute of Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Real Colorado in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and he scored late in the first half of last Saturday’s 3-0 preseason exhibition victory over Imperio.
“Nico came into camp fit and with a great mentality, a great attitude,” Jeffries said. “He’s a dangerous striker.”
Hoek, Wright and company knew not to take their season-opening opponent lightly. In the last two seasons, the Menace has found the going tough against the Demize. Springfield has saddled Des Moines with a pair of humbling 1-0 losses (here in 2012 and in West Des Moines last season). A year ago, these teams opened their PDL seasons with a 1-1 draw on this field.
Des Moines leads the all-time series, 14-2-1, and has a 48-6 scoring advantage against a Springfield franchise in its eighth season.
The Menace is 11-1-3 in its last 15 PDL season-openers, with the lone opening-day loss in this stretch coming against St. Louis in 2008.
MAN of the MATCH: Nico Wright, for the second straight time. Wright, a native of St. Catherine, Jamaica, and a student-athlete at Fairleigh Dickinson (N.J.), earned the Menace’s 2013 golden boot, by scoring a team-high three goals. He’s already matched this total in three 2014 matches.
UP NEXT: The Menace continues on the road, facing the St. Louis Lions on Sunday, May 25. Tony Glavin Complex in St. Peters, Mo., is the site of this 5 p.m. match.
UPCOMING HOME ACTION: In the span of four days, the Menace closes its May schedule with a double-dose of Minnesota United FC at Valley Stadium.
On Wednesday, May 28, the Menace hosts Minnesota United FC (North American Soccer League) in the third-round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The winner moves on to a June showdown with Sporting Kansas City, the defending Major League Soccer champion.
On Saturday, May 31, the Menace hosts the Minnesota United FC Reserves (National Premier Soccer League) in an exhibition, following the Menace women’s team’s home opener, against the Chicago Red Stars Reserves (Women’s Premier Soccer League). All Menace PDL home matches start at 7:30 p.m.; all Menace WPSL home matches kick off at 4:30.
Match: Des Moines Menace at Springfield Demize
Date: Saturday, May 17, 2014
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Venue: Cooper Complex (turf) in Springfield, Mo.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CDT
Weather: 60s, mostly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 2 0 2
SPR 0 0 0
MENACE – Sean Hoek (Ralphie Lundy) 7:00; Nico Wright 9:00
Stats Summary: MENACE / SPR
Shots: 12 / 4
Saves: 0 / 3
Corner Kicks: 2 / 4
Fouls: 17 / 12
Offside: 2 / 4
Misconduct Summary: MENACE Caution: Brandon Fricke 80:00; SPR Cautions: Garret Christianson 33:00; Brandon Manzonelli 52:00
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. In 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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