Charlie Bales (with ball) assisted Vince Cicciarelli and Ramone Howell in this Open Cup win. Photo credit: R Image Studio
DES MOINES, Iowa – Wednesday, May 13, 2015 – The Madison Fire – Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup newcomers – pushed Des Moines to its limit tonight, and the Menace held on for a 2-1 win – the franchise's 12th in 10 Cup appearances.
Charlie Bales assisted a score in each half of this first-round encounter at Valley Stadium. Goals from Vince Cicciarelli and Ramone Howell send the Menace on to a road matchup with professional side Saint Louis FC (United Soccer League) next Wednesday.
“The guys did a great job tonight,” said head coach Mike Matkovich after his Menace debut. “I knew it would be difficult. Any time it’s a Cup game, it’s going to be a challenge. We probably made it harder on ourselves than we had to. We take the lessons learned and we move on.”
The Menace seized control of the match late in the first half. In the 35th minute, captain John Lujano’s through ball connected with Bales in stride near the 18-yard box. After taking a few touches to draw out goalkeeper Ryan Germann and a pair of defenders, Bales delivered a well-placed cross to Cicciarelli, who tapped the ball into the open net.
Des Moines’ second goal came about in similar fashion, with Chris Hellmann going over the top to find Bales in the 62nd minute. Bales took a touch and set up Howell with a cross through a sea of defenders. Howell blasted the ball just out of the reach of Germann, into the lower-left corner.
The home team seemed on the cusp of putting away the match until Alec Bartlett’s collision with Ryan Hanna set up a penalty kick in the 76th minute. Trevor Banks brought the Wisconsinites within a goal, edging the ball inside the left frame, just past Menace goalkeeper Paul Blanchette's dive to his right.
Matko’s men regained their footing, closing out a win in their 2015 opener. The defending Premier Development League champions open PDL play this Saturday in Springfield, and they return to Missouri for next Wednesday’s round-two Cup clash.
“It’s awesome,” said fifth-year Menace veteran Bales, all smiles. “I guess there’s a reason I keep coming back. I love it here. This is a good group. We’re just feeling out each other, learning each other’s tendencies. It takes a while.
“The Open Cup is always huge for the Menace organization. All the players are buzzing to go down to St. Louis.”
“It’s a great opportunity for our team to go up against the pros,” said Matkovich. “That’s the magic of the Cup – You never know what’s going to happen.”
MAN of the MATCH: Charlie Bales, a Cedar Rapids native and Western Illinois graduate who assisted both of tonight’s goals. After a brief stint with Charlotte (pro USL), Bales is back for his fifth season with the Menace.
UP NEXT: On Saturday (May 16), the team starts the PDL season on the road, against the Springfield (Mo.) Synergy. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Cooper Complex.
Match: Madison Fire at Des Moines Menace
Date: Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Competition: 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, first round
Venue: Valley Stadium in West Des Moines, Iowa
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Weather: 60s, windy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 1 1 2
MAD 0 1 1
MENACE – Vince Cicciarelli (Charlie Bales) 35:00; Ramone Howell (Bales) 62:00
MAD – Trevor Banks PK 76:00
Stats Summary: MENACE / MAD
Shots: 7 / 2
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 11/ 1
Fouls: 10 / 10
Offside: 2 / 1
Misconduct Summary: Cautions: MAD – Ryan Hanna 58;00; MENACE – Paul Blanchette 77:00
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. Entering its 22nd season, the Menace men’s side competes in the 63-team United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL). The Menace’s women’s team, preparing for its fourth season, is part of the 80-team Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). From May to July, 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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