Nico Wright (in air), Chris Hellmann (26) and the Menace start the postseason at home. Photo credit: Art Schramm Photography
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Thursday, July 24, 2014 – For the first time in five years, the Premier Development League Playoffs are coming to Valley Stadium.
The Des Moines Menace, the league’s 2014 regular-season champion, hosts the PDL Central Conference’s championship weekend. The Menace faces K-W United FC tomorrow night at 7:30, on the heels of a 4:30 match between the Michigan Bucks and the St. Louis Lions. The semifinal winners battle for the conference’s postseason crown on Saturday at 7:30.
On the wave of a 10-game unbeaten streak, Des Moines (12-1-1) captured the PDL’s Heartland Division, Central Conference and regular-season titles in an eight-day, four-game span. Mike Jeffries’ side wrapped up the regular-season title with a 2-0 home win against WSA Winnipeg on Saturday.
This marks the Menace’s 12th PDL playoff appearance in 21 seasons. Des Moines won the 2005 tournament and secured the 2002 regular-season title. Des Moines has the chance to become the second PDL team to win the regular-season championship and playoff championship in the same year (1996 Central Coast Roadrunners).
Tomorrow’s opponent, K-W United FC (Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont.), is making its first playoff appearance in the franchise’s four seasons. As the runner-up in the Great Lakes Division, K-W United (8-3-3, 27 points) sealed a playoff berth with an emphatic 6-2 win at Toronto on July 12. K-W finished the regular season with a three-game win streak.
Michigan (9-3-3), the 2014 Great Lakes Division champ, is the only PDL franchise with more wins and playoff appearances (17) than the Menace. These PDL juggernauts have met five times in the playoffs; Michigan holds a 4-1 advantage. The Menace’s lone win over Michigan was part of the run to the 2005 title. The Bucks ousted the Menace from the team’s last postseason appearance, in 2011.
St. Louis dealt Des Moines its only tie – a 1-1 result on July 12 in the only 2014 PDL home match the Menace did not win. The Lions’ 6-4-4 mark clinched the Heartland Division’s second and final postseason spot. They make their second playoff appearance – their first since 2007.
PDL Central Conference semifinal: Des Moines Menace vs. K-W United FC
Date and time: Friday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m. CDT
Radio broadcast: KXnO 1460 AM
PDL Central Conference semifinal: Michigan Bucks vs. St. Louis Lions
Date and time: Friday, July 25 at 4:30 p.m. CDT
PDL Central Conference final: Semifinal 1 vs. Semifinal 2
Date and time: Friday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m. CDT
Presented by Kum & Go, all matches are at Valley Stadium (turf) in West Des Moines. Live updates will be available at www.twitter.com/MenaceSoccer.
SINGLE-DAY TICKETS: $9 for adults (19 and older), $7 for children (5-18); free for ages 4 and under
TWO-DAY PASS: $15 for adults, $12 for children
ABOUT THE MENACE
- Is 12-1-1 in its 21st PDL season, and second under Mike Jeffries.
- Riding an 10-game unbeaten streak
- Undefeated at home in PDL play (6-0-1)
- Has conceded only seven goals – tied for best in the league.
- Holds a 9-0-0 record when leading at half.
- Chris Hellmann ranks in the PDL’s top 10 in points (25, fifth), goals (nine, eighth), shots (36, eighth) and assists (seven, tied for first). He ranks sixth with 2.08 points per game.
- Has outscored PDL teams 16-2 in the first half. Holds a 16-5 edge in the second half.
- Has the most shutouts in franchise history (10).
ABOUT K-W UNITED FC
- Stuart Neely has coached the team to an 8-3-3 mark in the franchise’s fourth season.
- Stefan Vukovic leads the team with 18 points (seven goals, four assists).
- Goalkeeper Darrin MacLeod (3-2-2, 0.926 Goals-against Average) is part of a Drake team that features Menace players Alec Bartlett and Mueng Sunday.
- K-W United is one of two Canadian teams in the 2014 PDL playoffs (Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23).
ABOUT THE BUCKS
- Are 9-2-3 in their 19th season.
- Dzenan Catic won the regular-season scoring title and golden boot with 35 points and 16 goals.
- The winningest franchise in the PDL, with 223 wins and 17 playoff appearances. The Menace is second in the league with 199 wins and 12 playoff berths.
- Demir Muftari is in his second season as head coach.
ABOUT THE LIONS
- Preparing for their second playoff appearance (2007), are 6-4-4 in their ninth season.
- Jordan Roberts leads the team with 12 points in 13 games (four goals, four assists).
- Has gone 0-4-5 at Valley Stadium since winning the Menace’s first game at the venue, on May 10, 2008.
- Tied the Menace, 1-1, on July 12 at Valley Stadium; Lost to the Menace, 2-0, on May 25 in St. Peters, Mo.
- Tony Glavin is the only head coach in franchise history.
STANDOUT YEAR FOR THE MENACE
- Earned the PDL regular-season title in a 2-0 win against WSA Winnipeg on July 19.
- Won the Central Conference with a 1-0 win in Springfield, Mo., on July 15.
- Clinched the Heartland Division with a 1-1 draw against St. Louis on July 12.
PDL FINAL FOUR
- The winner of the Central Conference championship game on Saturday advances to the PDL Championship weekend on August 1-3.
- Each of the conferences (Central, Eastern, Western and Southern) will be represented in the final-four weekend.
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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