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Minnesota United FC turns tables on Menace

Sean Hoek (with ball), David Meves (in goal) and Brandon Fricke (right) led the Menace to this third-round U.S. Open Cup rematch. Photo credit: Joe Nalefski
 
 
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Wednesday, May 28, 2014 – A year ago, Brandon Fricke and the Des Moines Menace experienced the ecstasy of upsetting Minnesota United FC in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
 
In tonight’s rematch at Valley Stadium, they experienced the disappointment of finishing on the losing end. Christian Ramirez’s volley goal in the 86th minute was the difference-maker in a 1-0 Minnesota victory. The Loons advance to a fourth-round Open Cup match at defending Major League Soccer Cup champion Sporting Kansas City on June 18.
 
This latest David vs. Goliath matchup conjured up memories from May 21, 2013, when Fricke’s heroic header goal – also in the 86th minute – sent the Menace home with a 1-0 win and a date with Sporting KC. A year ago today, the Menace gave the MLS side all it could handle in a 2-0 win by the defending Open Cup champ.
 
“We knew what was at stake this year,” Fricke said. “We knew we could play these guys, and I’m proud of the way we battled.”
 
Ramirez, the leading scorer for the top team in the North American Soccer League, emerged the hero tonight. When Fricke tried to clear a through-ball deep in the Menace’s box, the ball caromed off the side of the Menace captain’s foot, and Ramirez seized the opportunity. Taking a touch around Menace goalkeeper David Meves, he powered a volley into the back of the net.
 
“That’s how it goes. It’s rough,” Fricke said. “I thought it was a pretty even match. Unfortunately, they got the lucky break.”
 
Until Ramirez’s strike, the Menace had some luck of its own. On three occasions, the pros’ shot attempts clanged the goal frame. But nothing got past Meves, who already has three shutouts to his credit – including the Menace’s 3-0 win over Real Colorado in the Cup’s second round, here on May 14.
 
“Dave and Brandon played fantastic. They made so many good defensive plays,” said Des Moines head coach Mike Jeffries. “It was unfortunate the way it ended.”
 
Jeffries called the result a tough pill to swallow, but added, “There’s a lot we can look at positively. I think we can build on this with confidence.”
 
With its fifth straight Open Cup appearance in the books, the Menace has an 11-9 all-time mark in the national tournament, including a 6-7 record against professional teams. Des Moines forges ahead with the Premier Development League schedule.
 
The Menace (2-0-0) sits atop the Heartland Division standings, but won’t see its next league play until June 7, when Chicago comes to Valley Stadium.
 
On Saturday, the Menace hosts the Minnesota United FC Reserves (National Premier Soccer League) for a friendly exhibition.
Minnesota’s first team prepares for a critical match in Atlanta on Saturday. With a win by Minnesota and a loss by New York, United (5-1-1) can clinch the title for the NASL’s spring season.
 
MAN of the MATCH: Ralphie Lundy, for his creative plays in the Menace midfield. Lundy graduated from the College of Charleston in 2012 and played professional for Caledonia AIA FC in Trinidad and Tobago, though March.
 
UP NEXT: On Saturday, 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: Minnesota United FC at Des Moines Menace
Date: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Competition: 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, third round
Venue: Valley Stadium in West Des Moines, Iowa
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Weather: 80s, sunny
 
Scoring Summary:     1   2     F
MENACE                      0   0    0
MN                              0   1    1
MN – Christian Ramirez 86:00
 
Stats Summary: MENACE / MN
Shots: 8 / 21
Saves: 5 / 1
Corner Kicks: 2 / 6
Fouls: 6 / 11
Offside: 2 / 1
Misconduct Summary: MN caution: Tyler Polak 49:00
 
 
Des Moines Menace 2014 PDL Schedule
Saturday, May 10         # Imperio                                 W, 3-0
Wednesday, May 14     ^ Real Colorado Foxes            W, 3-0
Saturday, May 17          at Springfield Demize                 W, 2-0
Sunday, May 25            at St. Louis Lions                       W, 2-0
Wednesday, May 28     ^ MN United FC (NASL)            L, 0-1
Saturday, May 31         # MN United FC Reserves         7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
 
Saturday, June 7         Chicago Inferno                       7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Friday, June 13             at Thunder Bay Chill                   6:30 p.m. at Chapples Park
Saturday, June 14          at Thunder Bay Chill                   6:30 p.m. at Chapples Park
Saturday, June 21        Springfield Demize                  7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Tuesday, June 24           at Chicago Inferno                      7 p.m. at Wheaton College
Saturday, June 28        Thunder Bay Chill                    7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Sunday, June 29          Thunder Bay Chill                    7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
 
Saturday, July 5             at WSA Winnipeg                      6:30 p.m. at Winnipeg Soccer Complex
Sunday, July 6               at WSA Winnipeg                      6:30 p.m. at Winnipeg Soccer Complex
Saturday, July 12         St. Louis Lions                         7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Friday, July 18             WSA Winnipeg                                    7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Saturday, July 19         WSA Winnipeg                                    7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
 
All game times are central  |   # = Exhibition |   ^ = Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup 
 
 
 
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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