Friday was a beautiful night for the Menace, which rewarded a red-clad crowd with a 3-1, Kup-klinching win. Photo credit: Emily Gutknecht
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Friday, June 26, 2015 – First place is on the line tomorrow when the Des Moines Menace collides with the arch-rival Thunder Bay Chill at Valley Stadium.
Grabbing a 3-1 win over the Springfield Synergy tonight, the Menace secured the Kum & Go Kup and set the stage for tomorrow’s battle for the top spot in the Premier Development League’s Heartland Division.
The Menace carries an 11-match home unbeaten streak (going back to 2013) and a 5-2-1 (16 points) league ledger into its rematch with the first-place Chill (5-0-3, 18 points). Just a week ago, Thunder Bay picked up a 2-0 win over Des Moines on Canadian soil. A win tomorrow would propel the Menace past Chicago (5-2-2, 17 points) and Thunder Bay.
Javi Lopez and Shawn Claud Lawson staked the Menace a 2-0 halftime lead, and Mark Heath Preston stuck the final dagger into the heart of his former team. Heath Preston has scored a goal in each of his two appearances with the Menace – the other one, a 1-0 win at Springfield on May 16. In his first action back from an ankle injury sustained in that season opener, the veteran tapped in Chris Hellmann’s second assist of the night.
“It feels great. It’s just nice being around the boys,” said Heath Preston, who scored in the 76th minute, 12 minutes after Springfield’s Josh Alderson cut the lead in half. “The main thing is, we’re halfway through the season and we’re pushing to the playoffs. A good win tonight, and hopefully tomorrow we get another.”
Collecting a goal in the Menace’s second straight match, Lopez used his head in the 28th minute to flick in Lawson’s well-placed cross from the right plank. Lawson scored 15 minutes later. Hellmann tore down the left side of the field, stampeding from the 50-yard line to the 10-yard line before dishing a silver-platter assist to Lawson, who smashed a half-volley into the left corner of the top shelf.
“We got a good team performance today,” Lawson said after collecting his first PDL goal and assist. “It’s a big weekend, and it’s a big game tomorrow with Thunder Bay. They’re gritty. They have some good players going forward. It should be a good game to watch.”
Des Moines keeps the Kum & Go Kup, a travelling trophy for the annual rivalry between the Menace and Synergy. One year after claiming the inaugural Kup with a 3-0 series sweep, the Menace owns two wins and a scoreless tie (here on May 30) against Springfield. The teams wrap up this series in the final week of the season – July 14 in Missouri.
MAN of the MATCH: Shawn Claud Lawson, for his three-point night. Lawson, a Toronto native who attends Oakland (Mich.), Lawson provided a much-needed spark with his goal and assist.
UP NEXT: The Menace battles the arch-rival Thunder Bay Chill tomorrow 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: Springfield Synergy at Des Moines Menace
Date: Friday, June 26, 2015
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Venue: Valley Stadium (turf) in West Des Moines, Iowa
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Weather: 70s, sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 2 1 3
SPR 0 1 1
MENACE – Javi Lopez (Shawn Claud Lawson) 28:00; Lawson (Chris Hellmann) 43:00; Mark Heath Preston (Hellmann) 68:00
SPR – Josh Alderson 64:00
Stats Summary: MENACE / SPR
Shots: 8 / 3
Saves: 2 / 3
Corner Kicks: 9 / 1
Fouls: 6 / 5
Offside: 6 / 1
Misconduct Summary: SPR cautions: Josh Alderson 35:00; Luiz Mota 83:00
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. In 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, in 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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