Jimmy Fiscus (3) and the Menace passed their first PDL road test, emerging from a physical battle with a win over St. Louis. Photo credit: Megan Lankford
ST. PETERS, Mo. – Saturday, May 28, 2016 – Goals from the team’s oldest and youngest players extended the Des Moines Menace’s franchise-record winning streak to 10.
Mark Heath-Preston and Elvir Ibisevic handled the scoring in a 2-0 victory over the St. Louis Lions tonight at Tony Glavin Complex. The Menace has picked up where the team left off last year, when Des Moines won its last eight Premier Development League matches to repeat as Heartland Division champs.
The Menace rides this momentum into an anticipated week on its home turf. On Wednesday, Des Moines tries to take down San Antonio FC (professional United Soccer League) in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The winner gets a marquee matchup with Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo.
Head coach Mike Matkovich’s side puts its streaks back on the line next Saturday. PDL newcomer Kokomo Mantis FC pays its first visit to Valley Stadium, where the Menace has won 16 straight regular-season matches.
“We’re just taking it one game at a time,” said Ibisevic. “It’s awesome that we’ll get to be back in front of our home fans. We’re ready to be back in our home atmosphere. Hopefully we can keep winning and get the chance to play an MLS team.”
To get past the Lions (1-2-0) in tonight’s physical match, the Menace needed goals from two of its Open Cup heroes.
Heath-Preston, who scored in the Menace’s 2-1 win over FC Wichita on May 11, struck again in tonight’s 20th minute. The 29-year-old headed in an aerial cross-pass from Austin Polster.
Ibisevic, who made a splash with a 25-yard golazo in the team’s 2-0 home Cupset of Tulsa Roughnecks FC on May 18, bagged his first PDL goal in tonight’s 73rd minute – 16 minutes after making his regular-season debut. The 18-year-old from Johnston scored on a low cross from Christian Okeke, who a week ago opened the scoring in the Menace’s 2-1 home win over Chicago Fire U23.
The Menace and the Lions combined for 31 fouls – 16 on the visitors. Des Moines outshot St. Louis 11-3, with six shots on frame, compared to just one for the Lions.
“It was a tough battle, but we stuck together,” Ibisevic said. “We finished our opportunities and finished strong.”
Des Moines is undefeated in its last eight meetings with St. Louis, taking a 14-5-10 lead in a series that dates to 2006.
The last time the Menace did not get a win in PDL regular-season action was June 19, 2015 (2-0 loss at Thunder Bay); the team’s last home loss in league play came on July 13, 2013 (2-1 to Real Colorado).
With his fourth PDL shutout, second-year Menace goalkeeper Nico Campbell improved to 6-1-0 in league matches.
The Menace has scored two goals in each of its four matches; Mark Heath-Preston’s tally tonight is the only first-half goal scored by either team in the Menace’s early-season action.
MAN of the MATCH: Mark Heath-Preston for the second time in 2016. Heath-Preston is the head coach of his alma mater, Bellevue University (Neb.) and he is a player-coach for the Menace. Despite being sideline by an injury for most of the 2015 PDL season, he scored five goals in just over 200 minutes.
UP NEXT: In the week ahead, Des Moines will host a pair of key matches separated by a couple days. On Wednesday at 8 p.m., the Menace hosts San Antonio FC in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s third round. On Saturday at 7:30 p.m., in the nightcap of a doubleheader, the Menace welcomes Kokomo (Ind.) Mantis FC for the teams’ first meeting; The Menace women play their first 2016 home action – 4:30 p.m. against the Kansas City Courage.
Match: Des Moines Menace at St. Louis Lions
Date: Saturday, May 28, 2016
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Venue: Tony Glavin Complex (grass) in St. Peters, Mo.
Kickoff: 5 p.m. CDT
Weather: 80s, sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 1 1 2
StL 0 0 0
MENACE – Mark Heath-Preston (Austin Polster) 20:00; Elvir Ibisevic (Christian Okeke) 73:00
MENACE CAUTIONS: Raul Gonzalez 26:00; Connor Corrigan 52:00; Leigh Veidman 54:00; Austin Polster 65:00; Keegan McHugh 82:00
StL CAUTIONS: Trenton Thielfoldt 18:00; Steven Hutchison 29:00
MENACE / StL
Shots: 11 / 3
Saves: 1 / 4
Corner Kicks: 3 / 2
Fouls: 16 / 15
Offside: 4 / 1
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.
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