Mueng Sunday (center) scored two goals in this 4-0 home win over Springfield on June 21, and he provided the only score in monumental road win against the Demize. Photo credi: Art Schrmam Photography
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – Mueng Sunday made this a Tuesday for the Des Moines Menace to remember.
In a 1-0 win tonight over the Springfield Demize, Sunday’s second-half goal was the difference in a result that secures a first-place finish in the Central Conference and keeps the Menace in the running for the Premier Development League’s regular-season championship.
The red-hot Menace rides an eight-match unbeaten streak into its final action before the PDL Playoffs. Des Moines (10-1-1) welcomes WSA Winnipeg for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader at Valley Stadium, knowing two more wins would clinch the league title.
“We know we’re in a good place, and we want to keep it going,” said Sunday, a Drake midfielder who is just a year removed from a standout career at Iowa City West. “We want to keep getting sharper with every day.
“We all know what are big goal is, and we want to get there together. We feel like we can play with anybody.”
Sunday’s game-winner arrived in the 52nd minute. Following a scramble, Jonny Macadam sent in a cross that was broken up by a Demize defender, who tried settling it. Sunday had other ideas. He swept in, stole it and slotted in a near-post goal past Springfield goalkeeper Yuta Nomura.
“Tonight was a hard night. We struggled to find our rhythm in the beginning on the game,” Menace head coach Mike Jeffries said. “I thought our guys stepped up in the second half. It was nice for Mueng to get another goal. Once he scored, I thought it helped us settle down and play our game.”
The Menace defense once again stood its ground, securing a franchise-record eighth shutout of the PDL season. The team has five clean sheets in seven road matches.
“I’m very proud of the defending we’ve done all year. That’s a credit to the group,” Jeffries said. “The team takes a lot of pride in getting shutouts. It’s a team effort.”
Tonight’s win comes only three days after a 1-1 home draw with St. Louis clinched the Heartland Division title for the Menace. This is the franchise’s second conference crown in 21 PDL seasons. The 2002 Menace (15-0-3) won the league’s regular-season title.
Entering tonight, the 7-2-3 Michigan Bucks (from the Great Lakes Division) were the only Central Conference contenders with a mathematical chance at finishing with more standings points than the Menace.
While the PDL postseason picture gains clarity in the frenetic final week of the regular season, the Menace has already cemented a playoff spot, as well as the titles for the division and the conference. The team gets to close a memorable season at home, with hopes of joining the 2002 Menace in elite company – at the top of the league’s final standings.
“The guys are excited to have the last couple games at Valley Stadium, “ Jeffries said. “It’s a good opportunity for us to showcase our stuff in front of the home crowd.”
MAN of the MATCH: Mueng Sunday, who has scored three goals – all against Springfield (3-4-3) – in his first PDL season. Sunday earned a second-half brace against the Demize in a 4-0 home win that sealed the inaugural Kum & Go Kup on June 21. Sunday, a Drake sophomore-to-be, was Iowa’s 2013 Gatorade Player of the Year. He led Iowa City West to three state titles.
UP NEXT: The Menace closes its regular season at home, playing a Friday-Saturday doubleheader against WSA Winnipeg. Friday is Fireworks Night and Saturday is Fan Appreciation Night.
Match: Des Moines Menace at Springfield Demize
Date: Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Venue: Cooper Complex (turf) in Springfield, Mo.
Weather: 70s, sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 0 1 1
SPR 0 0 0
MENACE – Mueng Sunday 52:00
Stats Summary: MENACE / SPR
Shots: 15 / 6
Saves: 3 / 3
Corner Kicks: 4 / 3
Fouls: 13 / 7
Offside: 0 / 3
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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