Mobbed by teammates, Christian Flath pumps his fists in a goal celebration. Unfortunately for the Menace, the visitors from the Alamo City earned the night's biggest celebration by rallying for a 2-1 win. Photo credit: Antonio Rodriguez
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Wednesday, June 1, 2016 – For a few fleeting moments, it appeared the Des Moines Menace might just pull off another Cupset and earn a primetime match against a Major League Soccer team.
Then the Menace’s Open Cup magic ran out.
Christian Flath’s spectacular goal on a curling, 30-yard free-kick gave the Menace a lead in the 58th minute of tonight’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match at Valley Stadium. The advantage lasted for 14 minutes of a third-round, 2-1 loss to San Antonio FC.
Late goals from Sam McBride and Jacques Francois deflated the Menace, allowing the visitors to escape with a victory that sets the stage for a June 15 Lone Star clash with the Houston Dynamo.
Des Moines’ Open Cup journey concludes two weeks after the Menace bagged its seventh U.S. Open Cup win against a professional team. On May 18 on this field, the home side shocked Tulsa Roughnecks FC (2-0) – like San Antonio FC, a member of the fledgling United Soccer League. Just a week before that, head coach Mike Matkovich’s team opened the Cup with a 2-1, come-from-behind win at FC Wichita.
“It shows we can hang with anybody. We had it; we were playing with them,” said Menace defender Austin Ledbetter. “We had our chances, but it didn’t come out for us. It would’ve been a lifetime experience to get there (to Houston), but we fell short.”
Francois is an Open Cup hero once again for SAFC. In his pro debut a couple weeks ago, the Haitian sensation collected a third-minute assist and goals in the 70th and 74th minutes of a 3-1 home win over Corinthians FC. After scoring in tonight’s 81st minute on a cross-pass assist from Greg Cochrane, Francois has delivered the game-winners in both of the first-year team’s Open Cup matches.
Though SAFC (2-4-4 USL) had the amateurs on their heels for most of the first half, the Menace regained its footing after regrouping at halftime. Once Francois’ goal put the pros on top, Des Moines pushed and pushed for an equalizer that never came.
The Menace turns its full attention on continuing a Premier Development League season that is off to a 2-0-0 start. Next up is a Saturday-night home match against Heartland Division newcomer Kokomo Mantis FC.
“We have a good squad, and we’ll be prepared for Kokomo. They’re a good team,” Ledbetter said. “Hanging with pro teams gives us a lot of confidence. We can play with any team in the country. We have one big goal: reaching the PDL playoffs and winning the championship.”
With the most wins by an amateur team, the Menace is 14-11 all-time (7-9 against professional teams) in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Des Moines is 7-6 against non-MLS pro teams, with the six losses coming by a combined seven goals.
The match ended with SAFC up a man. The Menace’s Elvir Ibisevic received a red card in the 89th minute.
This was the Menace’s first home loss since eventual PDL champion Michigan downed Des Moines, 2-0, in the 2014 PDL playoffs. Des Moines carries a 16-match regular-season unbeaten streak into Saturday’s meeting with Kokomo.
48 amateur teams entered the tournament, seven survived to the third round, and two are still in it. The Kitsap Pumas upset Sacramento Republic FC, 3-1, to get a shot at Seattle Sounders FC; La Maquina (Calif.) faces the L.A. Galaxy after eliminating the L.A. Wolves, 2-0, in a matchup of open-division teams.
MAN of the MATCH: Christian Flath for his first goal in a Menace uniform. Flath is a native of Rostock, Germany, and a senior-to-be at Rider (N.J.).
UP NEXT: Des Moines hosts Kokomo Mantis FC on Youth Soccer Night this Saturday. Youth-soccer players get in for $1 when they wear their team jersey to a doubleheader that begins at 4:30 with the Menace women opening their home slate against the Kansas City Courage.
Match: San Antonio FC at Des Moines Menace
Date: Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Competition: 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, second round
Venue: Valley Stadium (turf) in West Des Moines, Iowa
Kickoff: 8 p.m. CDT
Weather: 70s, sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 0 1 1
SAFC 0 2 2
MENACE – Christian Flath 58:00
SAFC – Sam McBride 72:00 (Carlos Alvarez); Jacques Francois (Greg Cochrane) 81:00
MENACE CAUTIONS: Austin Ledbetter 71:00; MENACE EJECTION: Elvir Ibisevic 89:00
SAFC CAUTIONS: Carlos Alvarez 57:00; Danny Garcia 88:00; Jacques Francois 90:00+
MENACE / SAFC
Shots: 5 / 8
Saves: 6 / 3
Corner Kicks: 1 / 6
Fouls: 9 / 10
Offside: 2 / 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.
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