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Fire's PKs burn Menace, 2-1

Photo credit: Collin Hemann
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Tuesday, June 9, 2015 – Firsts abounded in this morning’s Premier Development League clash between the Des Moines Menace and the Chicago Fire U23 at Toyota Park.
The Menace allowed its first goals of the PDL season, as the Fire converted a pair of penalty kicks to down shorthanded Des Moines, 2-1. This was the teams’ first meeting since the 2006 playoffs. It marked Menace head coach Mike Matkovich’s first time coaching against a team he guided for six seasons (2002-2006 and 2014).
This is the Menace’s first league loss in nearly a year (June 13, 2014 at Thunder Bay), snapping a 13-match unbeaten streak (11-0-2) in the regular-season.
The Fire (3-0-2 – all at home – 11 points) sits atop the Heartland Division for the first time since moving to the Great Lakes Division following the 2004 season. The Menace is 2-1-1 after dropping this battle for first place – the team’s first morning match in recent memory.
“We have to persevere,” said Menace captain Johnny Lujano. “Moving forward, we have to get a little sharper. The hardest part right now is to stay positive. We’re constantly working to be the best us we can be, and we’ll get there in time.”
Chicago opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time, when Menace goalkeeper Nico Campbell brought down a Fire player in the box and was shown a red card after acquiring his second yellow card of the game. Taking over for Campbell, Paul Blanchette stepped into the match and was unsuccessful in keeping the Fire off the board.
The Fire’s second goal came in the 62nd minute, when the home side beat Blanchette on another penalty kick.
Des Moines cut into the lead in the 69th minute, thanks to a goal by birthday boy Leigh Veidman, who turned 27 today. Just four minutes after making his Menace PDL debut, Veidman sneeked behind the defense after darted past the back line to coolly finish with a goal to the far-right post.
“It was great to come on and make an impact right away,” said Veidman. “It always feels great to score, especially on my birthday, but it’s not about me. It’s about the team. We lost the game, and I’m gutted that we couldn’t get the win.”
“It’s still early in the season, and we’re not in a bad position in the table,” said Lujano. “We have to take it one game at a time. We’ll recover from this hard game after playing 45 minutes with 10 men and go at it again in St. Louis.”
The Menace faces the St. Louis Lions on Saturday. Tony Glavin Soccer Complex in St. Peters, Mo., is the site of this 5 p.m. match. Des Moines’ four-match road swing concludes the following weekend in Canada – June 19 in Thunder Bay and June 21 in Winnipeg.
MAN of the MATCH:  Johnny Lujano, for his dependable play and smooth ball distribution. Back for his second season in Des Moines, the Menace captain and Kansas native prepares for senior season at Southern Methodist.
UPCOMING HOME ACTION: The Menace will be back at Valley Stadium for an action-packed Friday-Saturday doubleheader. On June 26, the Menace hosts the Springfield Synergy, and fans wearing red get in for $5. On June 27, the Menace battles the arch-rival Thunder Bay Chill in the nightcap of a tripleheader that opens with the Iowa High School All-Star Games (girls at 2:30 and boys at 4:30).

Match: Des Moines Menace at Chicago Fire U23

Date: Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Venue: Valley Stadium in West Des Moines, Iowa
Kickoff: 10 a.m. CDT
Weather: 70s, sunny
Scoring Summary:       1    2     F
MENACE                        0   1   1
CHI                               1   1    2
MENACE – Leigh Veidman 69:00
CHI – PK 45:00+; PK 62:00
Stats Summary: MENACE / CHI
Shots:  5 / 5
Saves: 4 / 3
Corner Kicks: 4 / 5
Fouls: 9 / 9
Offside: 4 / 3
Misconduct Summary: MENACE cautions: Nico Campbell 40:00; Campbell 45:00 (ejected for second yellow); Austin Gochneaur 61:00; CHI  cautions: Anthony Smith 52:00

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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