Mike Matkovich guided the Menace to a milestone win in the team's 2015 PDL opener. Photo credit: Collin Hemann.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Saturday, May 16, 2015 – Mark Heath Preston used to give the Des Moines Menace fits. Tonight, he gave the franchise its 200th victory.
Facing his previous team, Heath Preston scored the lone goal in the Menace’s 1-0 win over the Springfield Synergy at Cooper Stadium. Within five minutes of making his Menace debut as a halftime substitution, he pounced on a rebound off the hands of goalkeeper Yuta Nomura, and he chipped in the score from six yards out.
“It’s nice to be able to help get the win,” Heath Preston said. “It’s just nice to be on the pitch again.”
This was the British striker’s first Premier Development League action since suiting up for Springfield a couple years ago. On May 11, 2013, he stung the Menace with a late equalizer in a 1-1 season-opener here. On May 15, 2010, he spoiled the Menace’s home opener, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win for the Rochester Thunder at Valley Stadium.
Tonight’s match – the first leg of the second-annual Kum & Go Kup – was both sides’ first league play of 2015. Des Moines, in its 22nd season, boasts an all-time mark of 200-113-32 in the PDL regular season. Following in the steps of the Michigan Bucks, the Menace is the league’s second team to reach 200 wins.
For Springfield, this match welcomed a new era. After eight losing seasons playing as the Springfield Demize, the organization rebranded itself in the offseason – going with a new name, new colors and even a new head coach: Andrew Bordelon.
The Menace is also playing for a new field general – Mike Matkovich. For Matko’s Menace, this PDL opener is sandwiched by a pair of matches in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. On Wednesday, the Menace advanced to the second round with a 2-1 home win over the Madison Fire. This coming Wednesday (May 20), Des Moines tries to upset host Saint Louis FC (pro United Soccer League).
Matkovich went with wholesale changes for tonight’s lineup, with no carryovers from the starting 11 that fans saw at Valley Stadium three nights ago.
“Any time you put a group of guys together for the first time, it’s going to take some time,” Matkovich said. “I’m proud of this group. They got the result tonight. Now, we’ll get our guys as ready as we can and do our best to stay fresh physically.”
MAN of the MATCH: Mark Heath Preston, who scored in his Menace regular-season debut. A 28-year-old from Norfolk, England, he coaches at his alma mater, Bellevue University in Nebraska.
UP NEXT: Before playing in front of the home crowd next weekend, the Menace returns to Missouri for a match in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Des Moines gets a shot at pro-side Saint Louis FC on Wednesday. World Wide Technology Soccer Park in Fenton is the site of the 7 p.m. match.
The Menace plays its PDL home opener on Saturday (May 23), hosting WSA Winnipeg at 7:30, as the nightcap of a doubleheader at Valley Stadium. At 4:30, Des Moines opens its Women’s Premier Soccer League season against the Minnesota Twin Stars.
Match: Des Moines Menace at Springfield Synergy
Date: Saturday, May 16, 2015
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Venue: Cooper Complex (turf) in Springfield, Mo.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CDT
Weather: 70s, sunny and windy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 0 1 1
SPR 0 0 0
MENACE – Mark Heath Preston 50:00
Stats Summary: MENACE / SPR
Shots: 11 / 10
Saves: 5 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 1
Fouls: 15 / 11
Offside: 3 / 1
Misconduct Summary: Cautions: SPR – Joey Ackers 44:00; MENACE – Keenan King 90:00
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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