For Mueng Sunday and the Menace, the 2015 regular season wrapped up with this home match -- a 3-0 win over the Chicago Fire U23s. The Menace's 2016 PDL season opens with a May 21 home match against Chicago.
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 – For the first time in franchise history, the Des Moines Menace enters the Premier Development League season as the two-time defending champion of the Heartland Division.
On May 21, the Menace’s pursuit of a third straight division title will begin the same way the team’s 2015 regular season concluded: against Chicago Fire U23 at Valley Stadium.
United Soccer League officials earlier this week released the 2016 schedule for the 67-team PDL. The Menace’s 23rd season features home matches – all starting at 7:30 p.m. – on six Saturdays and two Fridays. A favorable draw for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup could pad the Menace’s home slate, with the Cup’s first two rounds set for May 11 and May 18.
The six-team Heartland Division welcomes an expansion team in 2016. Kokomo (Ind.) Mantis FC joins the fray, while the Springfield Synergy shifts to the Mid-South Division following nine seasons in the Heartland.
Des Moines’ familiar divisional foes combine for 50 seasons of PDL history. Back for 2016 are Menace arch-rival Thunder Bay Chill (17th season), Chicago Fire U23 (16th season), the St. Louis Lions (11th season) and WSA Winnipeg (6th season).
Kokomo makes its first trip to Des Moines for an anticipated June 4 matchup. The Menace spends June’s last two weekends at home, hosting St. Louis (June 18) and WSA Winnipeg (June 24-25). The Menace’s 2016 PDL schedule wraps up at home, with matches against Thunder Bay (July 9) and St. Louis (July 16) sandwiching a July 15 exhibition against Toledo United FC.
The schedule includes just three road trips, starting with a Memorial Day weekend clash with St. Louis (May 28). The Menace journeys through Canada for three games in five days, stopping in Thunder Bay (June 10-11) and Winnipeg (June 14). The away schedule concludes with another stretch of three games in five days: June 28 in Chicago and July 1-2 in Kokomo.
The Premier Development League, North America’s top amateur soccer league, comprises four conferences split into 10 regional divisions. The Eastern and Western Conferences each have three divisions; while the Central and Southern Conferences have two. The Menace’s Heartland Division, alongside the Great Lakes Division, is part of the Central Conference.
In 2016, PDL teams will vie for 22 spots in the postseason tournament, which opens July 22 and concludes the weekend of Aug. 5-7, with a championship match to be hosted by one of the finalists.
Get Your Tickets
Become a season-ticket member and enjoy admission to all of the Menace’s 2016 men and women’s home matches (including any U.S. Open Cup and PDL Playoff matches at home). Season tickets (age 5 and older) are available for $50. With any season-ticket purchase, V.I.P. parking passes are available for $30 each. The Menace will release the women’s team’s schedule in March.
Matko is Back-o
Mike Matkovich returns for his second season as head coach for the Menace after winning the Heartland Division in 2015. The former Major League Soccer coach came to the Menace last year after guiding Chicago Fire U23 for six seasons.
On July 15, the Menace hosts Toledo United FC, an Ohio side that competes in the Premier League of America. This Fireworks Friday exhibition pits first-time foes playing for hardware. At stake is the Kum & Go Kup, a traveling trophy that debuted two years ago. The Menace kept the Kup in 2014 and 2015 by winning the season series with Springfield, a Missouri team that has changed PDL divisions for 2016.
Cup Streak Stretches to Seven
The Menace’s 11-2-1 finish in 2015 ensures the team will compete in the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. This marks the franchise’s seventh straight (and 11th overall) appearance in the storied national tournament. Des Moines’ last four Cup runs have ended against pro teams: Sporting Kansas City in 2013, Saint Louis FC in 2015 and Minnesota United FC in 2012 and 2014. The Open Cup Draw is scheduled for April 6.
Starting a Playoff Streak?
Des Moines looks for its third straight berth in the PDL Playoffs. Though the Menace has clinched 13 postseason appearances, the franchise has reached the playoffs in consecutive years on only three stretches: 1995-98, 2001-03 and 2005-06. After bowing out to the eventual PDL champs each of the last two seasons (the Michigan Bucks in 2014 and K-W United in 2015), the Menace is 14-14 all-time in the postseason.
Dating to July 2013, the Menace is on a 15-match unbeaten streak in regular-season matches at Valley Stadium, which will be the Menace’s home for at least two more seasons. Thanks to a recently approved agreement with the West Des Moines Community School District, the Menace’s stay at Valley Stadium will be at least 10 years (starting in 2008) – tying the franchise’s record for home-field continuity. The Menace played at Des Moines Hoover’s Cara McGrane Stadium from 1995 to 2004. In regular-season home action, the Menace is 39-12-10 all-time in the friendly confines of Valley Stadium.
Path to the Pros
Any time you catch the Menace in action, the odds are that you’re seeing several players on their way to the professional ranks. More than 90 Menace alumni have played professionally, and each of the last 18 Menace teams (1998-2015) has featured at least one Major League Soccer draft pick. The latest of the 39 Menace alumni selected by MLS teams: Chase Minter, Chris Hellmann, Vince Cicciarelli and Jacob Speed, who were all chosen in last month’s MLS SuperDraft.
Des Moines Menace 2016 PDL Schedule
Wednesday, May 11 1st round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (Opponent and site TBD)
Wednesday, May 18 2nd round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (Opponent and site TBD)
Saturday, May 21 Chicago Fire U23 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Saturday, May 28 at St. Louis Lions 5 p.m. at Tony Glavin Complex
Wednesday, June 1 3rd round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (Opponent and site TBD)
Saturday, June 4 Kokomo Mantis FC 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Friday, June 10 at Thunder Bay Chill 6:30 p.m. at Fort William Stadium
Saturday, June 11 at Thunder Bay Chill 6:30 p.m. at Fort William Stadium
Tuesday, June 14 at WSA Winnipeg 7 p.m. at Waverly Soccer Complex
Saturday, June 18 St. Louis Lions 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Friday, June 24 WSA Winnipeg 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Saturday, June 25 WSA Winnipeg 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Tuesday, June 28 at Chicago Fire U23 11 a.m. at Toyota Park
Friday, July 1 at Kokomo Mantis FC 6 p.m. at Kokomo Municipal Stadium
Saturday, July 2 at Kokomo Mantis FC 6 p.m. at Kokomo Municipal Stadium
Saturday, July 9 Thunder Bay Chill 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Friday, July 15 ^ Toledo United FC 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Saturday, July 16 St. Louis Lions 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
* All game times are listed in Des Moines time
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. The Menace men’s team competes in the Premier Development League (PDL) and is set to begin its 23rd season in 2016. Starting their fifth season this year, the Menace women’s team is part of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). With the continuously loyal support, the Menace men’s and women’s teams play their home games at the Valley Stadium in West Des Moines to provide family-fun entertainment. The Menace organization provides the growth of the game of soccer in Iowa with their youth soccer programs, including Junior Menace (ages 3-9), Menace Youth Academy (ages 10+), and other various youth tournaments, camps and clinics.
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