Chris Hellmann scored the Menace's game-winner on a penalty kick.
ST. PETERS, Mo. – Sunday, July 5, 2015 – Second-half goals from Chris Hellmann and Garet Christianson lifted the Des Moines Menace past the St. Louis Lions and back into first place.
On a four-match winning streak, the Menace is in a favorable spot after today’s 2-0 victory at Tony Glavin Complex. Des Moines sits alone atop the Premier Development League’s Heartland Division, and the team will play three of its four remaining matches at home.
“This puts us in a good position. We take it one game at a time and see what we can do,” said Menace head coach Mike Matkovich. “That was a tough game on a very hot day. I thought we came out strong in the second half, and we grinded it out.”
Hellmann broke a scoreless draw in the 52nd minute, converting a successful penalty kick for the second time in as many games. The Menace’s offensive leader (eight points on three goals and two assists) also opened the scoring here on June 13, when he struck in the first minute of a 5-1 result.
In the 80th minute, Christianson provided some insurance with his first Menace goal. St. Louis native Nick Jones assisted Christianson’s back-post score.
The Lions (4-7-2) won’t have to wait long for a rematch, as they close their season on Saturday at Valley Stadium. One year after these teams were the Heartland’s representatives in the PDL Playoffs, the Menace looks to complete a 3-0 season sweep of St. Louis.
The regular season’s last two weeks promise an exciting race to the division’s two postseason berths. Des Moines (7-2-1, 22 points) has regained at least a momentary hold on first place – a position Thunder Bay (6-2-3, 21 points) grabbed on Wednesday with a 2-0 win at Chicago (5-3-2, 17 points). A playoff spot could be on the line when the Menace hosts Chicago on July 17-18 to close the schedule.
“I think it’s going to come down all the way to the end – down to the very last game,” Matkovich predicted. “I think the biggest thing for us right now is to focus on the next game – St. Louis on Saturday. We’ve been able to stick together all season long. That’s been our strength. Our guys are going to fight to the end.”
MAN of the MATCH: Austin Gochneaur, for his solid defensive play. This is the season’s second “Man of the Match” honor for Gochneaur, an Ankeny native preparing for his final season at Western Illinois. The Menace’s defenders have six shutouts in league play. They’ve allowed six goals – the second-lowest total in the PDL (trailing the 8-0-1 Kitsap Pumas, who have allowed three goals).
UP NEXT: The Menace hosts the St. Louis Lions at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday (July 11), in the first of four matches in eight days to close the regular season. Saturday’s action at Valley Stadium is the Menace’s last men’s-women’s doubleheader of 2015. It begins with a 4:30 Women’s Premier Soccer League match pitting the Menace against Fire and Ice SC. The first 500 fans receive a water bottle, courtesy Principal Financial Group.
Match: Des Moines Menace at St. Louis Lions
Date: Sunday, July 5, 2015
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Venue: Tony Glavin Complex (grass) in St. Peters, Mo.
Kickoff: 5 p.m. CDT
Weather: 80s, sunny and humid
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 0 2 2
StL 0 0 0
MENACE – Chris Hellmann PK 52:00; Garet Christianson (Nick Jones) 80:00
Stats Summary: MENACE / StL
Shots: 14 / 8
Saves: 4 / 5
Corner Kicks: 8 / 2
Fouls: 12 / 12
Offside: 6 / 0
Misconduct Summary: MENACE cautions: Fernando Machado 40:00; Chris Hellmann 51:00; Paul Blanchette 83:00; StL cautions: Jeff Tryon 40:00 Vadim Cojocov 49:00; Trenton Thielfoldt 76:00; Jacob Cawsey 89:00; Sam Lee 90:00
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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