Chris Hellmann added a goal and an assist, leading the Menace to a 2-0 win and adding on to his team-leading stats. Photo credit: Art Schramm Photography
WINNIPEG, Canada – Saturday, July 5, 2014 – No need to sweat this one out. With five matches left on its schedule, the Des Moines Menace has already secured a berth in the Premier Development League playoffs.
Extending its winning streak to five matches, the Menace downed WSA Winnipeg, 2-0, tonight at Winnipeg Soccer Complex. The Menace’s 8-1-0 mark – the best start in franchise history – solidifies one of the Heartland Division’s two postseason spots.
“It’s a mixed blessing. Clearly, we’re delighted to clinch the playoff spot early,” Menace head coach Mike Jeffries said. “It’s important to keep improving and keep re-upping our goals. We want to clinch the division and keep pushing forward and keep improving with every game.”
A win or a tie in tomorrow’s 7 p.m. rematch with WSA Winnipeg (2-6-2) would put the Menace in prime position for capturing the division crown in front of the home crowd. One week from today, Des Moines hosts St. Louis (4-3-3) – the only Heartland Division team still challenging the Menace for the regular-season title.
Des Moines is riding its longest regular-season winning streak since 2006. The streak continues, thanks to second-half goals by Lynn University (Fla.) teammates Javi Lopez and Chris Hellmann.
Lopez broke a scoreless draw in the 64th minute, when he headed home Hellmann’s corner service. Hellmann sealed the victory in the final two minutes of regulation. After Winnipeg goalkeeper Josh Partaker denied his penalty-kick attempt, Hellmann followed his shot and scored on the rebound.
“When you clinch the playoffs, it’s an awesome feeling,” said Hellmann, the current PDL Player of the Week. “Everyone’s focused, and it’s an extra motivation for us, to know we are in the playoffs, and we’re playing for the division title.”
“We have a group of guys pushing each other real hard every day. Competitively, it helps make the team better,” Jeffries said. “We’ve always tried to go one step at a time. You have to take small steps to reach the bigger goals.”
In the last five outings, Des Moines has outscored foes 12-3. The Menace backline has collected six PDL shutouts this season, and the team holds a 14-goal differential – tied for fourth-best in the league.
The Menace can start planning for the franchise’s 12th playoff appearance – its first in three years.
MAN of the MATCH: Chris Hellmann, for the third time this season. With his seventh goal and second assist, the current PDL Player of the Week added to his team-leading totals for goals and points (16). Hellmann, a native of Cologne, Germany, has scored a goal in all but one of his seven PDL appearances.
UP NEXT: The Menace looks for another win in Winnipeg tomorrow at 7 p.m. Des Moines will be at home the next two weekends – next Saturday (July 12) against St. Louis and July 18-19 in a season-closing doubleheader with WSA Winnipeg.
Match: Des Moines Menace at WSA Winnipeg
Date: Saturday, July 5, 2014
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Venue: Winnipeg Soccer Complex in Winnipeg, Man., Canada
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CDT
Weather: 80s, humid
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 0 2 2
WIN 0 0 0
MENACE – Javi Lopez (Chris Hellmann) 64:00; Hellmann 89:00
Misconduct Summary: MENACE caution: Lopez 68:00
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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