For the first time since 2006, the Des Moines Menace stands alone atop the standings for the Premier Development League’s Heartland Division. Des Moines claims the top spot after shutting out the Springfield Demize, 3-0, and running its league-best unbeaten streak to 14 matches.
Jack Pearson, Armin Mujdzic, and Adam Hooi scored in tonight’s match in front of 3,855 fans at Valley Stadium. The win improves the Menace’s record to 6-0-4 (22 points) going into tomorrow’s match at Rochester (Minn.).
“It’s good to keep the ball rolling,” Pearson said. “But it means nothing, to be honest. Nothing’s won yet. We’ve got to go up there tomorrow, hit it hard, and hopefully come away with three more points.”
The Menace did not seal the win until tonight’s 86th minute, when Pearson set up Hooi for his first finish of the season.
Des Moines went up 2-0 on Mujdzic’s strike in the 61st minute. The former Urbandale High School and Grand View College star has scored in each of the last three games. Mujdzic has notched a point in all four matches since returning to the Menace’s roster, taking over the team’s point lead. Tonight’s goal gives him nine points – one more than Samuel Asante and Sterling Copeland.
Pearson’s first goal of the season came in the 15th minute, off Yuki Kariya’s pass in front of the net, and gave the Menace a 1-0 half-time lead.
“We’re the team to beat at the moment,” said Pearson who plays for Dayton and hails from Coventry, England. “My mom and dad are on vacation (in Greece) and I won’t be able to talk to them for a couple of days. Hopefully I will be able to call them on Monday with the news that we are still in first place.”
The Menace’s first-place standing could be challenged tomorrow, when head coach Casey Mann takes his team to Rochester, while third-place St. Louis (5-2-4, 19 points) hosts Thunder Bay. Real Colorado (6-4-2, 20 points), the team that the Menace passed in the standings, is idle this weekend.
Des Moines outshot Springfield (2-9-1) by a staggering 20-2 margin. The Demize had twice as many yellow cards as shots.
Sean Molony and the Menace defense earned their second-straight shutout. Molony, the Menace’s man between the posts for every minute this season, has lowered his Goals Against Average to 0.90. The Menace has outscored its opponents 22-9, including a 10-1 advantage in its current three-match winning streak.
COMING UP: The Menace hits the road the tomorrow, visiting the Rochester (Minn.) Thunder, which is 5-5 after downing Springfield, 4-1, last night. A rematch of the teams’ season-opener (a 2-1 win for Des Moines), tomorrow’s match kicks off at 7 p.m. at Rochester Community and Technical College.
The team welcomes arch-rival Thunder Bay to Valley Stadium next Saturday (July 4). Sponsored by Powerade, the Independence Day Celebration kicks off with a free picnic at 5 p.m., and fireworks follow the 7:30 match.
Des Moines returns to Rochester on July 8. After three straight matches against the Heartland Division’s northern teams, the Menace closes the regular season with three against its Missouri opponents. It hosts Springfield on July 11 and St. Louis on July 18, travelling to Kansas City on July 16.