Hat-trick hero Chris Hellmann had plenty to smile about in this record-setting, 10-0 victory. Photo credit: Jeff Bales
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Friday, July 17, 2015 – Did that really just happen?
Was it a dream, or did the Des Moines Menace rampage to a 10-0 romp of Chicago Fire U23?
Amazingly, this is actually what went down at Valley Stadium on this unbelievable, record-setting night. The loftiest scoring performance in franchise history crowns the Des Moines Menace as a back-to-back division champion for the first time.
Sailing on a seven-match winning streak, the Menace will be hard-pressed for an encore tomorrow night when these teams rematch at 7:30. After emphatically repeating as the Premier Development League Heartland Division titlist, Des Moines (10-2-1) will try to pass the franchise record for longest winning streak (set in 2004).
Leading tonight’s scoring outburst was Chris Hellmann, who racked up three goals and two assists. His second goal – the product of a John Lujano assist following a beautiful sequence of one-touch extravaganza in the 45th minute – sealed the match against a deflated team that went down a man in the 39th minute.
“It’s kind of surreal. I’ve never seen anything quite like that,” said Hellmann, who in one night matched his season points total. “We had a lot of focus. It was a good night. I think whenever you win the division in the PDL, it’s something special.”
The team’s offensive explosion – a fitting prelude to tonight’s postgame fireworks – trumps a 9-1 benchmark victory over Thunder Bay on June 21, 2002.
Vince Cicciarelli opened the scoring with a pair of goals (sixth and 12th minutes) and Trevor Swartz closed it with a brace of his own (64th and 84th minutes, with the latter a spectacular, left-footed, firecracker).
With goals in the second half, Simon Megally, Austin Gochneaur and Mark Heath Preston also etched their names in this record-breaking performance.
This is decisive redemption for the Menace and head coach Mike Matkovich. In the teams’ only other encounter this season, Des Moines fell 2-1 at Chicago – the team Matkovich guided for six seasons (2002-2006 and 2014) – on June 9.
Once in the thick of the race for one of the division’s two playoff spots, Chicago (6-5-2) has faded by losing three of its four July matches, including consecutive losses to second-place Thunder Bay (7-2-3), which punched its postseason ticket tonight with a 5-1 win at winless Winnipeg.
MAN of the MATCH: Chris Hellmann, for his record-setting night. Hellmann’s hat trick is the Menace’s first since Husref Jupic etched his name in the record books in a 4-1 win over St. Louis on May 12, 2012.
UP NEXT: After closing the regular season tomorrow on Fan Appreciation Night, Des Moines moves on to the PDL Central Conference Playoffs, set to begin Friday, July 24 at a site to be determined.
Match: Chicago Fire U23 at Des Moines Menace
Date: Friday, July 17, 2015
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Venue: Valley Stadium (turf) in West Des Moines, Iowa
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Weather: 90s, sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 4 6 10
CHI 0 0 0
MENACE – Vince Cicciarelli (Chris Hellmann) 6:00; Cicciarelli (John Lujano) 12:00; Chris Hellmann PK 40:00; Hellmann 45:00; Simon Megally 52:00; Austin Gochneaur 53:00; Chris Hellmann 57:00; Mark Heath Preston (Hellmann) 63:00; Trevor Swartz 64:00; Swartz 84:00
Stats Summary: MENACE / CHI
Shots: 16/ 2
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 0
Fouls: 6 / 6
Offside: 2 / 0
Misconduct Summary: CHI Ejection: James Myall 39:00; CHI Caution: Roderick Epps 74:00; MENACE Caution: Fernando Machado 41:00
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, part of the 80-team Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL), has completed its fourth season. 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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