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8th straight win sends Menace into playoffs

Lubos Kubik celebrates his first PDL goal -- tonight's game-winner. Photo credit: Antonio Rodriguez
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Saturday, July 18, 2015 – If the Premier Development League regular season were an ice-cream sundae, the Des Moines Menace’s win tonight would be the cherry on the top.
With a reshuffled lineup, the Menace closed its PDL slate with a 3-0 defeat of Chicago Fire U23 at Valley Stadium. The victory comes 24 hours after Des Moines clinched a repeat Heartland Division title with an emphatic, record-breaking, 10-0 win over Chicago.
Lubos Kubik, Mark Heath Preston and Nick Jones scored in the second half to give the 11-2-1 Menace a sweet finish to the season. A year after claiming the PDL’s regular-season championship, the Menace rolls into the PDL Playoffs on an eight-match winning streak (a franchise record set tonight, eclipsing a mark set in 2004).
The Menace’s depth was on display once again, as head coach Mike Matkovich went with a wholesale change to the starting 11 from last night’s decisive victory.
“It says a lot that any player can step on the pitch and make a difference,” said Kubik, who collected his first PDL goal. “Everybody wants to play for the Des Moines Menace. Everybody wants to wear the Menace uniform.
“This win definitely helps us as we go into the playoffs, ending it on a good note.”
Kubik put the Menace up for good in the 63rd minute. Following Jones’ long throw-in, Brett Lane served as the last bumper in a pinball sequence. Lane poked a pass to Kubik, who slotted it home.
With a clinical finish of Alex Masbruch’s set-up in the 77th minute, Heath Preston scored his fifth goal in just over 200 minutes spanning only seven appearances. Just four minutes later, Jones put Garet Christianson’s assist on a string to the upper-right corner.
The Menace makes its 13th postseason appearance, starting this coming Friday at a site to be determined. Des Moines is undefeated in 15 straight PDL home matches, going more than two years since its last regular-season loss at Valley Stadium.
For Chicago (6-6-2), a team Matkovich guided for six years (2002-06 and 2014), the season was a tale of two halves. The Fire raced to first place with a 4-1-2 start before losing steam in a 2-5-0 slump to finish third in the Heartland Division standings.
Thunder Bay (9-2-3) solidified the division’s second and final playoff berth. In the other half of the Central Conference, Michigan sealed the Great Lakes Division title at 11-1-2. Defending its PDL title, Michigan goes into the playoffs as the Central Conference champion, edging division foe K-W United and the Menace, who shared identical 11-2-1 records.
MAN of the MATCH: Lubos Kubik, for his game-winning goal and his role in the Menace’s ninth shutout this season. Kubik, in his fourth season with the Menace PDL team, is a graduate of the Menace Academy.
The senior Lubos Kubik was a World Cup hero for the family’s native Czech Republic. His 20-year professional career included 80 goals in more than 400 appearances with the likes of Fiorentina (Italy) and FC Numberg (Germany. In the twilight of his career, he won a Major League Soccer Cup and a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with the expansion Chicago Fire in 1998.
“It feels pretty amazing to get my first PDL goal against a team my dad played for,” the junior Kubik said. “It really feels like destiny.”
UP NEXT: 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: Saturday, July 18, 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                        0   3    3
CHI                               0   0    0
MENACE – Lubos Kubik (Brett Lane) 63:00; Mark Heath Preston (Alex Masbruch) 77:00: Nick Jones (Garet Christianson) 81:00
Stats Summary: MENACE / CHI
Shots:  13 / 3
Saves: 1 / 7
Corner Kicks: 7 / 1
Fouls: 14 / 9
Offside: 2 / 0
Misconduct Summary: MENACE cautions: Lubos Kubik 33:00; CHI cautions: Juan Carmona-DeVille 9:00; Felipe Cortez 54:00

Des Moines Menace 2015 PDL Schedule (11-2-1; 6-0-1 home and 5-2-0 road)
Wednesday, May 13     Madison Fire (OC)                    W, 2-1
Saturday, May 16          at Springfield Synergy                W, 1-0
Wednesday, May 20      at Saint Louis FC (OC)               L, 1-2 (OT)
Saturday, May 23         WSA Winnipeg                          W, 1-0
Saturday, May 30         Springfield Synergy                 T, 0-0
Saturday, June 6         #Muskegon Risers                    W, 2-0
Tuesday, June 9            at Chicago Fire U23                   L, 1-2
Saturday, June 13          at St. Louis Lions                       W, 5-1
Friday, June 19              at Thunder Bay Chill                   L, 0-2
Sunday, June 21            at WSA Winnipeg                      W, 4-0
Friday, June 26            Springfield Synergy                 W, 3-1
Saturday, June 27        Thunder Bay Chill                    W, 2-0
Saturday, July 5             at St. Louis Lions                       W, 2-0
Saturday, July 11         St. Louis Lions                         W, 4-1
Tuesday, July 14            at Springfield Synergy               W, 2-0
Friday, July 17             Chicago Fire U23                      W, 10-0
Saturday, July 18         Chicago Fire U23                     W, 3-0
All game times are central    # = Exhibition   OC = U.S. Open Cup
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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