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Division champs wrap up home schedule

The Menace came back to tie this match with Thunder Bay last Saturday. Left to right: Devyn Jambga, Chirstian Flath and Jack Griffin. Photo credit: Joe Sprunger
 
 

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Thursday, July 14, 2016 – With a Heartland Division three-peat already locked up, the Des Moines Menace awaits its Premier Development League postseason fate. The team heads into what could be its last weekend playing on its home field.

Tomorrow, the Menace hosts Toledo United FC in a Fireworks Friday exhibition to decide this year’s winner of the Kum & Go Kup. On Saturday, the Menace welcomes the St. Louis Lions for the teams’ PDL season finale.

The Menace (9-2-2) can thank the Lions, whose 3-3 draw at Thunder Bay on Tuesday sealed Des Moines’ third-straight division crown. Thunder Bay (7-2-5) closed its season last night with another 3-3 draw – against Kokomo – to squeak by Chicago (8-4-2) for the division’s second and final postseason berth.

Des Moines hopes to host the Central Conference Playoffs on July 22-23. Though league officials have not announced the site, we already know what teams will be vying that weekend for the conference’s spot in the PDL’s final four.

The Great Lakes Division’s playoff representatives for the third straight year are K-W United – a Canadian club that ousted the Menace on the way to last year’s league title – and Michigan – a PDL power that downed home-side Menace on the way to the 2014 championship. Des Moines, Thunder Bay, Michigan and K-W were the conference’s last four teams standing a year ago.

 

 
Toledo United FC at Des Moines Menace
Date and time: Friday, July 15, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. CDT
Venue: Valley Stadium (turf) in West Des Moines, Iowa
Competition: Exhibition
Promotions: Postgame fireworks
 
St. Louis Lions at Des Moines Menace
Date and time: Saturday, July 16, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. CDT
Venue: Valley Stadium (turf) in West Des Moines, Iowa
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Preceded by: 4:30 p.m. Women’s Premier Soccer League match between the Menace and Chicago
Promotions: Fan Appreciation Night
 

 
ABOUT THE MENACE
  • 9-2-2 (29 points) – the PDL Heartland Division champion for the third straight year.
  • Has the PDL’s most goals scored (35) and fewest goals allowed (six).
  • Tommy Barlow’s 90th-minute goal gifted the Menace a 1-1 home draw with arch-rival Thunder Bay last Saturday.
  • With nine and six goals, respectively, captain Leigh Veidman and Tommy Barlow lead the Menace’s offense.
  • Undefeated in 21 straight regular-season home matches; last home loss was July 13, 2013 against Real Colorado (2-1).
  • Led by second-year head coach Mike Matkovich, who is assisted by Greg Hennelly and Chris Rennie, as well as player-coaches Mark Heath-Preston and Leigh Veidman.
 
ABOUT TOLEDO UNITED FC
  • First-year team in the first-year Premier League of America.
  • 6-2-1, sharing PLA East Division first place with RWB Adria. With a division title on the line, these teams meet Saturday in Chicago.
  • Coming off a 3-0 home win over Carpathia on July 9, with goals coming from Kyle Breitmeyer (two) and Kenny Hewitt.
  • Has a 13-goal differential (18-5) – tops in the 12-team league.
  • Prepares to host the PLA Tournament at the end of the month.
  • Directed by head coach David Hebestreit, who played against the Menace as a member of the Ann Arbor Elites in 1995 and the Michigan Madness in 1996 (same franchise – team changed names between its only two USISL seasons).
 
KUM & GO KUP
  • Will be presented at the conclusion of Friday’s friendly, which will go straight to a shootout if it’s tied after regulation.
  • The trophy debuted in 2014 in the season series between Des Moines and Springfield (Mo.).
  • The Menace won the Kup in the 2014 and 2015 series against Springfield, which last offseason changed divisions and moved under the new ownership of Saint Louis FC.
 
ABOUT THE LIONS
  • Enter tonight’s match at Winnipeg with a 2-7-3 record.
  • On Tuesday at Thunder Bay, built a 3-0 halftime lead before the Chill responded with goals in the 56th, 65th and 75th minutes for the tie.
  • On a six-match winless streak since topping Kokomo, 3-1, on June 11.
  • Vadim Cojocov leads the team with eight points (three goals, two assists)
  • Has a goal differential of -8 (16-24).
  • Directed by head coach Tony Glavin, who has coached all 11 of the team’s seasons.
 
ALL-TIME SERIES: MENACE VS. LIONS
  • Des Moines leads the all-time series 15-5-10 (7-2-6 at home).
  • The 2016 Menace has a pair of 2-0 wins over St. Louis – on the road May 28 and at home June 18.
  • On a nine-game unbeaten streak against St. Louis, the Menace has not lost to the Lions since May 25, 2013.
  • Des Moines is undefeated in 11 straight home matches with St. Louis, which has not won in Iowa since spoiling the Menace’s Valley Stadium debut (2-1) on May 10, 2008.
 
PDL HONOR ROLL
  • Goalkeeper Nico Campbell was named to the PDL Team of the Week on June 1.
  • Captain Leigh Veidman was named to the PDL Team of the Week on June 15 and June 29.
  • Veidman received honorable mention on June 22.
  • Forward Tommy Barlow received honorable mention on June 29 and July 13.
 
KINGS OF THE HEARTLAND
  • The Menace has won the PDL Heartland Division title for the third straight year.
  • Only one team member – Mueng Sunday – has seen action with the Menace’s first-place teams in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
  • Before this three-peat, Des Moines had claimed two division championships (2002 and 2009) in the franchise’s first 20 seasons.
 
PLAYOFF-BOUND
  • Des Moines is headed to the postseason for the 14th time in 23 seasons.
  • The Menace has yet to go more than two straight years without a postseason appearance.
  • In addition to the 2005 PDL championship, the franchise has three finishes in the PDL’s final four – a third-place finish in 1998, and fourth-place finishes in 1995 and 2001.
 
LOOKING AHEAD
  • Set for July 22-23 at a site to be determined, the 2016 PDL Central Conference’s championship weekend will feature the same four teams from a year ago.
  • The Menace and the Thunder Bay Chill will represent the Heartland Division.
  • The Michigan Bucks (11-2-0, 33 points) and K-W United (10-2-1, 31 points) have clinched the Great Lakes Division’s playoff spots.
  • The Great Lakes title will be determined by the season finales for Michigan (Saturday vs. Pittsburgh) and K-W (Sunday vs. Dayton).
  • On Friday, July 22, Heartland champ Des Moines will play the second-place team from the Great Lakes Division. Thunder Bay will face the Great Lakes champion.
  • The winner of the July 23 conference final advances to a PDL semifinal on July 30, and the PDL Championship is set for Aug. 6.
  • Last year in Pontiac, Mich., in a pair of 3-2 matches, K-W downed Des Moines and Michigan defeated Thunder Bay; K-W unseated defending champ Michigan and the next weekend knocked out host Seattle and New York to win the PDL title.
 
 
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 in its 23rd season. In 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 seven and older), tournaments, camps and clinics.
 
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