Elvir Ibiservic (19) scored the game-winner for the first-place Menace. Photo credit: Dave Mable
KOKOMO, Ind. – Saturday, July 2, 2016 – Kokomo Mantis FC stood between the Des Moines Menace and its goals. Eventually, the Menace swatted the pesky first-year team out of the way.
Flipping the script from last night, the Menace earned a 2-0 victory at Kokomo Municipal Stadium. The Menace’s first win in three tries against Kokomo puts the kibosh on a two-match losing streak that started Tuesday in Chicago.
“It feels great to bounce back and come home with a W,” said defender Austin Ledbetter. “We knew what we had to do, we got the job done and we’re coming home with the three points.”
Tonight’s goals came in the second half. On a counter-attack in the 47th minute, Elvir Ibisevic crushed home Christian Okeke’s backwards cross pass for the game-winner.
In the 74th minute, Leigh Veidman added some insurance with his ninth goal of the season. Mueng Sunday’s long throw-in connected with Tommy Barlow, who laid the ball off for Devyn Jambga. A slashing Veidman smashed Jambga’s cross into the back of the net.
Back on track, Des Moines heads into the last two weeks of the Premier Development League schedule with a 9-2-1 mark – tops in the Heartland Division. Home matches the next two Saturdays will give the Menace opportunities to seal a three-peat as division champ.
“This puts us in a really, really, really good spot to repeat as division champs,” Ledbetter said. “Our biggest motivation, now, is we still have the chance to host the playoffs, that’s our mentality going into these games at home.”
With two playoff spots up for grabs, the Heartland Division race also includes Chicago (7-3-1, 22 points – six behind the Menace) and Thunder Bay (5-2-1, 16 points) – teams that go head-to-head this Tuesday and Thursday. Thunder Bay visits Kokomo on Monday before swinging through Illinois on the way to Des Moines for next Saturday’s anticipated rivalry match.
Last night, Kokomo became the first PDL expansion team in 15 years to defeat the Menace. Kokomo also earned a scoreless draw at Valley Stadium on June 4.
The loss sends Kokomo (4-5-1) out of a third-place tie with Thunder Bay (5-2-1), which won 4-0 at St. Louis tonight.
Des Moines’ 5-2-0 road record matches its road mark from last season.
The Menace has outscored its opponents 34-5 this year, with a 22-1 advantage in the second half.
Des Moines entered the week on a year-long, 17-match unbeaten streak.
MAN of the MATCH: Austin Ledbetter, for leading the defense to its eighth shutout of the season. This is the first “Man of the Match” recognition for Ledbetter, a St. Louis native who prepares for his senior season at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
UP NEXT: The Menace clashes with arch-rival Thunder Bay next Saturday at Valley Stadium. Des Moines closes its schedule at home the next weekend, hosting Toledo for a Fireworks Friday exhibition on July 15 and hosting St. Louis the next night.
Match: Des Moines Menace at Kokomo Mantis FC
Date: Saturday, July 2, 2016
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Venue: Kokomo Municipal Stadium (turf) in Kokomo, Ind.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. EDT
Weather: 70s, cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 0 2 2
KMFC 0 0 0
MENACE: Elvir Ibisevic (Christian Okeke) 47:00; Leigh Veidman (Devyn Jambga) 74:00
MENACE CAUTION: Leigh Veidman 30:00; Elvir Ibisevic 54:00; Keegan McHugh 84:00; Tommy Barlow 90:00
KMFC CAUTIONS: George Poppas 32:00; Jon Otting 44:00; Rodolfo Lopes 66:00; Eduardo Filho 90:00
MENACE / KMFC
Shots: 10 / 9
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 4 / 4
Fouls: 15 / 11
Offside: 2 / 2
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. In its 23rd season, the Menace men’s team competes in the Premier Development League (PDL). In its fifth season, 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 six and older), and youth tournaments, camps and clinics.
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