After scoring the equalizer against St. Lous on Saturday, Richard Ballard (25) was joined by (left to right) Alec Bartlett, Grant Bell and Sean Hoek. Photo credit: Art Schramm Photography
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – The Des Moines Menace’s quest for the Premier Development League regular-season championship continues with a busy week for the newly crowned Heartland Division champion.
An unexpected wrinkle in the schedule gives Des Moines a three-game week to finish the regular season. The loaded week begins with tonight’s 7:30 road match against the Springfield (Mo.) Demize.
On two days’ rest, the Menace hosts two final regular-season games this weekend. If the Menace wins in Springfield, a Friday-Saturday doubleheader against WSA Winnipeg will give the team the chance at a second PDL regular-season title (2002).
A win tonight would seal first place in the Central Conference. A bittersweet 1-1 home draw with St. Louis on Saturday night left Des Moines (9-1-1) wanting more. The come-from-behind result secured the franchise’s third division championship.
Des Moines was originally scheduled to play a June 24 match at the Chicago Inferno. Unfortunately, the Inferno ceased operations four days before that match, forcing the USL to schedule tonight’s make-up game as a series of updates to the Heartland Division slate.
Tonight’s match is an extension of the inaugural Kum & Go Kup. By an aggregate score of 6-0, Des Moines beat Springfield in two previous meetings to win the series.
PDL regular-season match: Des Moines Menace at Springfield Demize
Date and Time: Tuesday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m. CDT
Venue: Cooper Complex (turf) in Springfield, Mo.
ABOUT THE MENACE
- Is 9-1-1 in its 21st PDL season, and second under Mike Jeffries.
- Riding a seven-game unbeaten streak
- Has conceded only seven goals in PDL play – second best in the 64-team league.
- Holds a 7-0-0 record when leading at half.
- Chris Hellmann ranks in the PDL’s top-10 in points (21, fifth), goals (eight, seventh) and assists (five, seventh). He ranks fourth with 2.10 points per game.
- Has outscored PDL teams 14-2 in the first half and holds a 9-5 edge in the second half.
- Needs one shutout to break the franchise’s season record of seven.
ABOUT THE DEMIZE
- 3-4-4 under first-year head coach Ian Henry.
- Goalkeeper Yuta Nomura ranks in the PDL top-10 in shutouts (five, third), goals against (nine, seventh) and goals-against average (1.00, 10th),
- Best finish came in 2012 (5-7-4).
- Is 19-82-21 over eight PDL seasons.
- Des Moines leads the overall series, 15-2-1
- The Menace won the seasons’ previous meetings, 2-0 on May 17 in Springfield, and 4-0 on June 21 at home.
- The aggregate score: 52-6, in favor of Des Moines.
WE’RE TALKING ’BOUT PLAYOFFS!
- With a 1-1 draw Saturday against St. Louis, the Menace clinched the PDL Heartland Division title for the first time in five years.
- Des Moines is battling with the Michigan Bucks (7-2-3 Great Lakes Division) for the Central Conference title. A win tonight by Des Moines seals the championship.
- The Central Conference semifinals will take place on July 25. PDL’s championship weekend is set for Aug. 1-3.
- The Menace has qualified for its 12th postseason berth – the franchise’s first since 2011.
CALLING 9-1-1: MENACE IN HOT PURSUIT OF LEAGUE TITLE
- Contending with the Menace (9-1-1) for the PDL’s regular-season title are the Jersey Express (9-1-2), the Seacoast United Phantoms (9-1-2), the defending-champ Austin Aztex (10-1-2) and FC Tucson (11-2-1).
- In 20 previous seasons, the Menace has one regular-season league title, earned by the undefeated 2002 Menace (15-0-3).
- Des Moines won the PDL’s post-season championship in 2005.
KUM & GO KUP
- Des Moines won the Kum & Go Kup on June 21 with the second win between the teams in the season.
- The aggregate score of the first two games: 6-0.
- The perennial trophy was generously provided by Custom Awards and Embroidery.
PDL HONOR ROLL – FIVE WEEKS IN A “ROLL”
- Chris Hellmann and Javi Lopez received PDL Team of the Week honorable mention on July 10.
- 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 SATURDAY
- Des Moines clinched the PDL Heartland Division with a draw against the St. Louis Lions, 1-1.
- St. Louis opened the scoring in the 13th minute.
- The Menace drew even in the 68th minute, when Rich Ballard scored his first goal in a Des Moines uniform.
- Chris Hellmann, who assisted Ballard, has collected 14 points in the team’s last five games. His 21 points are the most by a Menace player since current pros John Sosa (22) and Deshorn Brown (21) led the 2011 team to the playoffs.
BIG WEEKEND: FIREWORKS AND FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT
- WSA Winnipeg comes to Valley Stadium for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader.
- Friday’s game, presented by Frito Lay, will feature post-game fireworks.
- Saturday’s game, presented by Hussmann Industries, 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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