Javi Lopez scored for the second straight night, helping the Menace get one step closer to the division championship.
WINNIPEG, Canada – Sunday, July 6, 2014 – The Heartland Division championship is so close, the Des Moines Menace can practically taste it.
A 3-0 triumph tonight over WSA Winnipeg at Winnipeg Soccer Complex sets the stage for an anticipated home match. Boasting a six-match winning streak, the 9-1-0 Menace hosts St. Louis this Saturday (July 12), knowing a win or a draw will clinch the franchise’s first division title in five years.
Des Moines’ franchise-record start continues, and so do Chris Hellmann’s offensive rampage and the Menace defense’s stifling play.
Hellmann, the Premier Development League’s reigning Player of the Week, assisted the Menace’s first two scores tonight, and he capped the scoring with his eighth goal in as many matches.
Sean Hoek’s header goal, set up by Hellmann’s 35-yard free kick, put the Menace on the board in the 12th minute.
“It was a good night for us. We got an early goal and we were able to ride that,” Menace head coach Mike Jeffries said. “I’m glad we were able to settle the game in the first half.”
The Menace padded the lead with a fast-break score in the 20th minute. Javi Lopez’s diving header finished a sideline delivery from Hellmann. The Lynn University (Fla.) teammates connected for the second straight game. Last night, Hellmann assisted Lopez to open the scoring in a postseason-clinching, 2-0 win.
Hoek and Lopez each have three goals, tying Ralphie Lundy for second-most on the team. Hellmann’s points total has reached 20; he leads the team in not only goals but also assists (four).
Des Moines’ often-overlooked defense, meanwhile, has netted seven shutouts – four in the last five outings. Menace goalkeeper Paul Blanchette has allowed just one goal in his first four matches.
“The group’s in great spirits,” said Jeffries. “They’re having a good time. It’s all positive. Any time you can go on the road and win both games, it’s always fantastic. Now we try to recover from this weekend and prepare for a huge game at home.”
The Menace comes home with a six-match winning streak, tying a franchise record set by the 2005 PDL champions.
MAN of the MATCH: Chris Hellmann, for the third time in a row (and fourth overall). The current PDL Player of the Week has scored in four straight matches, and in all but one of his eight appearances. A native of Cologne, Germany, Hellmann has the Menace’s first 20-point season since Deshorn Brown and John Sosa topped the plateau in 2011 – the franchise’s most recent playoff season.
UP NEXT: The Menace 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. Des Moines has one final road match: July 15 at Springfield.
Match: Des Moines Menace at WSA Winnipeg
Date: Sunday, July 6, 2014
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Venue: Winnipeg Soccer Complex in Winnipeg, Man., Canada
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CDT
Weather: 70s, sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 3 0 3
WIN 0 0 0
MENACE – Sean Hoek (Chris Hellmann) 12:00; Javi Lopez (Hellmann) 20:00; Hellmann (Richard Ballard) 36:00
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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