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Menace inches closer to playoff berth

Vince Cicciarelli (right) gave the Menace a cushion early in the second half of this 4-1 win over St. Louis. Photo credit: Antonio Rodriguez




WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Saturday, July 11, 2015 – A return to the Premier Development League Playoffs is one win away for the Des Moines Menace.


The Menace pushed its winning streak to five tonight, topping the St. Louis Lions, 4-1, at Valley Stadium. In an action-packed week ahead, Des Moines (8-2-1, 25 points) plays three matches to close the regular-season.


Needing two more victories to repeat as Heartland Division champ, the first-place Menace plays at Springfield on Tuesday and hosts Chicago on Friday and Saturday.


“It’s a fantastic feeling,” Menace forward Vince Cicciarelli said. “We are pretty confident in everybody right now. We have everybody contributing right now, and it’s awesome. It’s exciting to know that if we put together performances like we have been, we’re going to have a shot at a division title. That’s all you can ask for.”


The Lions (4-8-2) got on the board first, but the Menace struck back with goals from Cicciarelli and a lineage of teammates who found the back of the net. Mark Heath Preston (83rd minute) scored after subbing for Leigh Veidman, who scored after stepping in for an injured Ramone Howell, who evened the match in the eighth minute.


St. Louis’ goal came from Carson Pryor, just a couple minutes before Howell’s equalizer. In first-half stoppage time, Veidman’s half-volley smashed the crossbar and dropped in for a goal that gave the Menace momentum heading into the locker room.


Cicciarelli wasted little time in building the home side’s lead. In the first minute of the second half, he tracked down a lofted ball from Fernando Machado and beat St. Louis goalkeeper Casey Clark with a chip.


“They scored early and we were able to respond,” said Cicciarelli, who was cleaned out by Clark in the process of scoring. “To get that one that early after halftime really helped ease the pressure. We were able to settle down and control the game.”


Only six days after escaping St. Louis with a 2-0 win, the Menace completes a 3-0 season sweep of the Lions. Carrying a 13-match home unbeaten streak into next weekend, the Menace has not dropped a PDL match at Valley Stadium since July 13, 2013 (2-1 to Real Colorado).


MAN of the MATCH: Vince Cicciarelli, for the second time this season. He earned the honor after his brace in the Menace’s 5-1 win at St. Louis on June 13. Cicciarelli, a recent Notre Dame grad, is preparing for a postgraduate season at Saint Louis University.


UP NEXT: The Menace heads to Missouri for a Tuesday-night match against the Springfield Synergy (7:30 at Cooper Complex). The team wraps up the regular season next weekend with a pivotal Friday-Saturday doubleheader against Chicago Fire U23. Friday is Fireworks Night and Saturday is Fan Appreciation Night, with both matches starting at 7:30.


Match: St. Louis Lions at Des Moines Menace
Date: Saturday, July 11, 2015
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Venue: Valley Stadium (turf) in
Kickoff: 5 p.m. CDT
Weather: 80s, sunny
Scoring Summary:       1    2     F
MENACE                        2   2   4
StL                               1   0    1
MENACE – Ramone Howell 8:00; Leigh Veidman 45:00+; Vince Cicciarelli (Fernando Machado) 46:00; Mark Heath Preston (John Lujano) 83:00
StL – Carson Pryor (Jeff Tryon) 6:00
Stats Summary: MENACE / StL
Shots:  13 / 4
Saves: 2 / 3
Corner Kicks: 4 / 3
Fouls: 5 / 8
Offside: 3 / 0

Misconduct Summary: St. Louis caution: Manny Okpara 89:00


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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