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K-W dashes Menace's championship dreams

Chris Hellmann (right) spotted the Menace an early lead it couldn't hold on to in a loss in the PDL Central Conference semifinals. Photo credit: James Mirabelli
PONTIAC, Mich. – Friday, July 24, 2015 – By scoring three times in the second half, K-W United FC earned payback and a spot in the final of the Premier Development League’s Central Conference.
Handing the Des Moines Menace an early exit from the playoffs, K-W United rallied to win 3-2 this evening. The Canadian club’s victory inside Ultimate Soccer Arenas comes a year after the home-side Menace eliminated K-W in a dramatic shootout.
This high-scoring rematch provided a stark contrast from the 120 minutes of scoreless soccer these teams waged in a defensive Central Conference semifinal last year. Opening tonight’s scoring was Menace star Chris Hellmann, the reigning PDL Player of the Week. With a 25-yard wonder-strike to the top right corner, Hellmann gave his team a lead it would carry into the second half.
Everything seemed to be clicking for the Menace, which carried a franchise-record, eight-game winning streak into the postseason.
On its way to a second-straight Heartland Division title, Des Moines had scored the first goal in 10 PDL matches, winning every time. The Menace had allowed only seven scores in 14 outings, and no team had scored multiple goals in a single half against Des Moines.
None of this mattered tonight. K-W put a kibosh on these storylines, thanks to the dynamic duo of Sergio Camargo and Ben Polk. They combined for 17 goals in the regular season, and they combined for three more tonight.
In the blink of an eye, Camargo turned United’s deficit into a lead. He evened the match in the 53rd minute and three minutes later converted a penalty kick after Menace defender Fernando Machado clipped him in the box.
But the Menace fought back. In the 65th minute, Leigh Veidman headed in the equalizer, assisted by Charlie Bales’ long throw-in from the right sideline. Des Moines nearly regained the lead before falling victim to misfortune.
In the 79th minute, Hellmann’s attempted chip of K-W keeper Nathan Ingham sailed just over the cross bar. In the next minute, Hellmann was in prime position to lead a promising counter attack. When he went to take his first touch at midfield, Ridge Robinson – the last line of defense – took him out from behind. Hellmann received a shoulder injury that forced him to leave the match; Robinson received only a yellow card.
The final dagger arrived in the 87th minute, when Polk capitalized on a rare miscue by Paul Blanchette – the goalie hero in last year’s shootout triumph. Blanchette slipped when he tried to punt the ball downfield, and Polk was there to put away his 10th goal of 2015.
Stretching its league-best unbeaten streak to 12, K-W United (13-2-1) awaits tonight’s winner of host Michigan and Thunder Bay. The conference champ crowned tomorrow will roll on to the PDL Championship weekend, set for July 31 and Aug. 2 at a site to be determined.
This ends a memorable Menace season (11-3-1) marked by milestones. Under first-year head coach Mike Matkovich, the Menace’s season brought the franchise’s 200th win, 10th berth in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and 13th appearance in the PDL Playoffs. Aug. 13 will be the 10-year anniversary of the Menace’s championship-clinching, shootout win in El Paso that stamped the star on the team’s logo.
MAN of the MATCH: Leigh Veidman, a workhorse on both sides of the ball, who evened the match in the 65th minute. Veidman, a native of Liverpool, England, and a graduate of Midland (Neb.), was a late addition who made an instant impact, collecting 10 points on four goals (counting tonight’s) and two assists in nine matches.

Match: Des Moines Menace vs. K-W United FC

Date: Friday, July 24, 2015
Competition: Premier Development League Playoffs: Central Conference semifinal
Venue: Ultimate Soccer Arenas (indoor, turf) in Pontiac, Mich.
Kickoff: 5:30 p.m. EDT
Scoring Summary:       1    2     F
MENACE                        1   1    2
K-W                              0   3    3
MENACE – Chris Hellmann (Austin Gochneaur) 17:00; Leigh Veidman (Charlie Bales) 65:00
K-W – Sergio Camargo 53:00; Camargo PK 56:00; Ben Polk 87:00
Stats Summary: MENACE / K-W
Shots:  5 / 9
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 5 / 8
Fouls: 10 / 4
Offside: 0 / 0
Misconduct Summary: MENACE cautions: Matej Radonic 76:00; Javi Lopez 79:00; K-W cautions: Jarek Whiteman 48:00; Ellis Harden 79:00; Ridge Robinson 80:00

Final Results, 2015 Des Moines Menace (11-2-1 regular season; 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
Friday, July 24               K-W United !                             L, 2-3
All game times are central  ! = PDL Playoffs  # = 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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