Charlie Bales (19) and the Des Moines are within reach of the divsion title. Photo credit: Art Schramm Photography
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Thursday, July 10, 2014 – A third Premier Development League Heartland Division title is just one point away for the red-hot Des Moines Menace.
With a win or a draw in any of its remaining four games, Des Moines can clinch its first division title in five years. The first chance to clinch is Saturday against the St. Louis Lions, the only team still able to catch the Menace in the division standings. Saturday’s game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium.
The Menace (9-1-0, 27 points) clinched a playoff spot last Saturday with a 2-0 win at WSA Winnipeg. The next night, the Menace put itself eight points clear of second-place Thunder Bay (6-6-1) and 12 points ahead of third-place St. Louis (4-3-3) with its sixth straight win – 3-0 over Winnipeg.
St. Louis controls its playoff life. With Thunder Bay able to hit a maximum of 22 points, the Lions need eight points over their remaining four games in order to make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. St. Louis starts a three-game road swing Saturday, going north to Fairbault, Minn., for games against Thunder Bay (Tuesday) and WSA Winnipeg (Wednesday). The Lions’ season concludes with a home date against Springfield on July 19.
Menace head coach Mike Jeffries knows the Lions will be motivated by the postseason implications.
“They’re going to come in with aspirations of making the playoffs, and know they need to win against us,” Jeffries said. “That’s the kind of game you want to play. It’s a huge game for both of us.”
Des Moines will have one more game on the road before hosting WSA Winnipeg in the final two games of the regular season. On Tuesday, Des Moines will take on the Springfield Demize in Springfield, Mo. The Menace will see Winnipeg in a July 18-19 doubleheader to wrap up the regular season.
PDL regular-season match: St. Louis Lions at Des Moines Menace
Date and Time: Saturday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m. CDT
Venue: Valley Stadium (turf) in West Des Moines, Iowa
Presented by: Principal Financial Group
Preceded by: Women’s Premier Soccer League season finale between the Menace and Fire and Ice SC, starting at 4:30 p.m.
ABOUT THE MENACE
- Is 9-1-0 in its 21st PDL season.
- Has conceded only six goals in PDL play (all scored by Thunder Bay) – tied for second best in the league.
- Has given up only one goal at home – best in the PDL.
- Holds a 7-0-0 record when leading at half.
- Has outscored PDL teams 14-1 in the first half, the lone goal came in Thunder Bay on June 13. Holds a 9-5 edge in the second half.
- Tied the franchise record for most clean sheets in a season (seven) on Sunday.
ABOUT THE LIONS
- Are 4-3-3 in their ninth season.
- Jordan Roberts leads the team with nine points in eight games (three goals, three assists)
- Are starting a three-game road trip.
- Tony Glavin is in his ninth year as head coach.
- Des Moines leads the overall series, 10-5-9.
- The Menace took the first meeting of the season on May 25 in St. Louis, 2-0.
- In the teams’ only game in Des Moines last year, St. Louis clawed back three times to draw, 3-3.
WE’RE TALKING ’BOUT PLAYOFFS!
- Des Moines has earned a playoff spot for the 12th time in franchise history (and first since 2011).
- The Menace can clinch the PDL Heartland Division with a win or draw against St. Louis.
- The Central Conference regular-season championship is still up for grabs with the Great Lakes Division’s Chicago Fire U-23, Michigan Bucks, and K-W United having a chance at the title.
- The Central Conference semifinals will take place on July 25. Venue and times have yet to be determined.
RECORD START FOR MENACE
- At 9-1-0 (27 points), the Menace is off to the best start in franchise history.
- Through its first 10 PDL matches, the 2002 Menace was 8-0-2 (26 points), on the way to an undefeated regular season (15-0-3).
HELLMANN ON THE LOOSE
- Menace midfielder Chris Hellmann, named PDL Player of the Week on July 3, lived up to the honor last weekend, playing a role in all five of the team’s goals in two wins at Winnipeg (two goals, three assists).
- The German ranks in the PDL top 10 in three categories: points (20, tied for fifth), goals scored (eight, tied for fifth), and assists (four, ninth).
- Hellmann, a sophomore-to-be at Lynn University (Fla.), is averaging a goal a game.
PDL HONOR ROLL – FIVE WEEKS RUNNING
- Chris Hellmann and Javi Lopez received PDL Team of the Week honorable mention today.
- Hellmann has earned three Premier Development League nods in 2014, including Player of the Week (July 3) and a pair of honorable mentions (June 19 and July 10).
- Nico Wright earned honorable mention on June 26 and July 3.
- Sean Dong earned honorable mention on July 3.
- Brandon Fricke, a 2013 all-PDL selection, was named to the league’s Team of the Week on June 12.
RECAP FROM LAST WEEKEND
- The Menace clinched a playoff spot with two wins at WSA Winnipeg, 2-0 and 3-0.
- Chris Hellmann had a hand in all five goals over the weekend (two goals and three assists).
- Javi Lopez scored twice – the opening goal on Saturday and second goal on Sunday.
- Richard Ballard tallied his first point of the season with an assist on Hellmann’s Sunday goal.
- Sean Hoek notched his third goal of the season – his first since May 25 against St. Louis.
UP NEXT: TRIO OF GAMES TO CLOSE THE REGULAR SEASON
- As a result of the Chicago Inferno folding midseason, the United Soccer Leagues postponed the Menace’s scheduled June 24 match at Chicago.
- The USL has announced Des Moines will make up this game on Tuesday in Springfield, Mo., against the Demize. Cooper Complex is the site for this 7:30 p.m. match.
- Des Moines wraps up the regular season with a weekend doubleheader against WSA Winnipeg, starting Friday and concluding Saturday.
- Friday’s game will feature post-game fireworks.
- Saturday’s game is Fan Appreciation Night.
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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