Gerald Ben and the Menace will see their first PDL action since May 30. Photo credit: R Image Studio
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Monday, June 8, 2015 – Des Moines Menace head coach Mike Matkovich looks to extinguish the flames of his former team in a 10 a.m. Premier Development League matchup tomorrow against Chicago Fire U23 at Toyota Park.
After spending the last 10 seasons in the Great Lakes Division, the Fire returns to the Heartland Division. The Menace seeks its first win on Chicago’s home turf.
Matkovich coached this Chicago side from 2002 to 2006 (with the first three seasons as part of the Heartland Division), compiling a superb 71-8-7 record. Under his reign, the Fire U23s won their division every season and finished second in the 2003 PDL playoffs. Matko was the “first assistant coach” of the Fire’s Major League Soccer side from 2012-2013. He also coached one more season with the PDL Fire in 2014, when it finished the season 7-5-2. In his first year with the Menace, the Chicagoland native takes the team to his old stomping grounds.
“I’m excited about going back,” said Matkovich. “It should be a great game. I know a lot of the players and both teams will be committed to playing the game how it should be played, so it’ll be a fun morning.”
The Menace holds a 2-3-2 record against the Fire and the aggregate scoring is level at eight goals apiece. These teams last met in the 2006 Premier Development League playoffs, where the Fire edged the defending PDL champion Menace in a shootout.
Entering its first of four straight matches on the road, the Menace (2-0-1, seven points) is looking to move into first place with a win tomorrow. Halfway through its schedule, Springfield (2-2-3) sits atop the Heartland Division standings with nine points. Sharing identical 2-0-2 marks, Chicago and Thunder Bay are just a point behind Springfield.
“We’re hopefully going to make it happen tomorrow,” said Matkovic. “Hopefully the boys put in a good performance and we get the three points.”
Des Moines Menace at Chicago Fire U23
Date and Time: Tuesday, June 9 at 10 a.m.
Venue: Toyota Park (turf) in Bridgeview, Ill.
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
ABOUT THE MENACE
- 2-0-1; the only PDL team that has not conceded a goal this season.
- Entered its 22nd season with an all-time PDL regular-season mark of 199-113-32.
- The defending PDL regular-season champion (12-1-1).
- Roster features 10 returners, including Charlie Bales, a fifth-year veteran, and Chris Hellmann, last year’s leader in goals and assists.
- Guided by first-year head coach Mike Matkovich, a former Major League Soccer coach who is assisted by Tony Jouaux and Jeremy Proud.
ABOUT THE FIRE
- Chicago returns to the Heartland Division after competing in the Great Lakes Division the last 10 seasons.
- Steps into the match with a 2-0-2 record (all at home).
- Most recent match was a 3-1 home win against the St. Louis Lions at Toyota Park on Sunday.
- Led by head coach Brian Bliss.
- Chicago leads the series 3-2-2.
- The aggregate score is even at 8-8.
- Last meeting was July 28, 2006 in the PDL playoffs, where the Fire prevailed in a shootout following a 3-3 deadlock at Waukee Stadium.
- The Menace has yet to grab a win on the road (0-2-2) against Chicago.
- Chicago was in the Heartland Division in the team’s first four seasons (2001-2004).
- The Menace beat Chicago 2-0 on July 4, 2001, and on May 10, 2003 on the same score line (both games were played at home).
PDL HONOR ROLL
- Mark Heath Preston was named to the PDL Team of the Week on May 20.
- C. Nortey received honorable mention on May 27.
- Alec Bartlett received honorable mention on June 3.
RECAP FROM LAST SATURDAY
- Goal scorers Cody Lofgren and Ben Maury lifted the Menace to a 2-0 exhibition victory over the Muskegon Risers.
- The Menace opens a stretch of four straight matches on the road. The Menace will return to home action on June 26, when it takes on Springfield for the third time this season.
- The following day, the Menace will face Thunder Bay Chill to cap off a tripleheader that opens with the Iowa High School All-Star Games (girls at 2:30 and boys at 4:30).
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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