Photo credit: Antonio Rodriguez
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Wednesday, May 18, 2016 – It took a blast from the past for the Des Moines Menace to get past the second round of the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Sean Hoek broke a scoreless draw in the 68th minute, lifting the Menace over Tulsa Roughnecks FC for the franchise’s seventh Cup victory against a professional team. Elvir Ibisevic tacked on an insurance goal in the 81st minute, and the Menace’s 2-0 victory at Valley Stadium sets up another home match against a pro side – San Antonio FC on June 1.
This one was a long time coming for Des Moines, which had not won a home game against the pros since topping the Pittsburgh RiverHounds and the Charleston Battery at Waukee Stadium in 2005. It came against a rough-playing Roughnecks crew that spent most of the second half down a man (Taylor Morgan, shown a straight red card in the 67th minute) and a head coach (David Irving, ejected soon after halftime).
Tonight’s game-winner came in Hoek’s first home action since being a fixture for the Menace in 2013 and 2014. After a season off, Hoek caught head coach Mike Matkovich’s attention at last month’s open tryouts, and he was added to the roster a couple days before last Wednesday’s first-round, 2-1, win at FC Wichita.
Hoek stepped into tonight’s game in the 60th minute and quickly made an impact. After winning a 50-50 header, Raul Gonzalez found Mark Heath-Preston, who brought the ball down the left flank and drew out goalkeeper Alex Mangels and set up Hoek on his run into the box. With a powerful volley, Hoek blasted an upper-90 strike into the back post.
“The ball popped up a little higher than I wanted it to, but it went in,” said Hoek, all smiles. “You can’t really describe the feeling. That’s what you dream about, coming on as a sub and getting a goal like that for your team.”
Up a man and a goal, the Menace had momentum with the support of the home crowd. Des Moines seized control of the match, and the 18-year-old Ibisevic – also a second-half sub – sealed the deal with a 25-yard bullet that froze Jake Feener, who had stepped in for Mangels when Tulsa’s starting keeper went down with an injury.
Des Moines’ next chance at a “Cupset” comes against San Antonio FC – like Tulsa, a member of the United Soccer League. The Menace’s June 1 opponent took down Corinthians FC, 3-1, in tonight’s “Alamo Derby.”
On a quick turnaround, the Menace is back at Valley Stadium this Saturday, hosting Chicago Fire U23 to open the Premier Development League season. Des Moines’ first PDL road action comes May 28 at St. Louis.
“It’s just another step,” Hoek said of the Menace’s Open Cup journey. “We have a couple league games before that, and we want to put ourselves in a good position in the league. We have a couple weeks to get ready for another professional team. Tonight’s win gives us the confidence we need. All the guys here can play, and we have some time to get ready.”
The Menace improves to 14-10 all-time in the U.S. Open Cup, with a 7-8 record against pro teams.
Des Moines’ last home win against a pro side was against the Charleston Battery (3-2) on June 29, 2015 – two weeks after getting past the Pittsburgh RiverHounds in a shootout.
The PDL saw two other teams advance in Cup action tonight: The Villages SC (Fla.) knocked off Charleston in a shootout following a 2-2 match; The Kitsap Pumas defeated Seattle Sounders U23, 1-0, in a battle of PDL teams from Washington. Updated Thursday, May 19: U.S. Soccer's news that Villages SC was disqualified (ineligible player) means the Menace is the PDL's lone representative to oust a pro team in this year's Open Cup.
MAN of the MATCH: Sean Hoek for the Comeback Kids’ game-winner. Hoek, a native of Lawrenceville, Ga., who attended North Carolina-Pembroke, was part of the 2013 and 2014 Menace teams that advanced to the third round of the U.S. Open Cup. He started in the Menace’s memorable match against eventual 2013 Major League Soccer Cup champion Sporting Kansas City.
UP NEXT: Des Moines is back at Valley Stadium on May 21, hosting Chicago Fire U23 to open the PDL regular season. Magnet schedules, sponsored by Kum & Go and Frito Lay, will be handed out as fans enter the Saturday-night game. All of the team’s home action starts at 7:30.
Match: Tulsa Roughnecks FC at Des Moines Menace
Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Competition: 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, second round
Venue: Valley Stadium in West Des Moines, Iowa (artificial-turf field)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Weather: 60s, sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 0 2 2
TULSA 0 0 0
MENACE – Sean Hoek (Mark Heath-Preston) 68:00; Elvir Ibisevic 81:00
MENACE / TULSA
Shots: 13 / 12
Saves: 7 / 9
Corner Kicks: 4 / 0
Fouls: 7 / 9
Offside: 3 / 3
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 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.