Nicole Pearson is surrounded by teammates after becoming the first player to score against the Chicago Red Stars Reserves in 2016. Photo credit: Joe Sprunger
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Saturday, July 16, 2016 – It’s not every day that you come across a soccer team boasting a 30-0 goal differential.
And yet this is exactly what the Des Moines Menace encountered – and nearly defeated – today when the defending Women’s Premier Soccer League champions invaded Valley Stadium. With first place in the Heartland Region on the line, the Menace struck early against the Chicago Red Stars Reserves and led for most of a match that ended in a 1-1 draw.
Des Moines’ upset bid got a huge boost in today’s 14th minute, when Nicole Pearson capitalized on a 1v1 opportunity. Though Chicago goalkeeper Jenn Pelley tipped Pearson’s shot, it found the lower right corner of the net.
Facing the possibility of their first regular-season loss in more than two years, the Red Stars Reserves eventually evened the match in the final 20 minutes.
Abby Reid scored on a rebound in the 71st minute, and both sides settled for a draw – the Menace’s first point against Chicago in six matches stretched over the last three seasons.
Just a couple weeks after a 4-0 loss at Chicago, Des Moines (5-1-1) knew that the team’s only hope of claiming the region’s playoff spot was to win by five goals today. Though the win didn’t come, the Menace put a chink in the armor of a seemingly unbeatable team that is 6-0-1 after going 13-0-1 on its run to the 2015 league title.
“The team has been working hard all week for this big game,” Pearson said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t come out with the win, but we gave 100 percent all the way through. I’m very proud of the team and hope we can keep the momentum for our last game.”
The Menace hosts Minnesota tomorrow in Grimes.
Pearson is just the third Menace player to score against Chicago, which has a 16-3 differential in the teams’ six meetings. Jordan Bishop and Mercy Darkoah scored at Chicago in 2014.
Des Moines has outscored opponents 23-7 this season.
If things go the Menace’s way tomorrow, Des Moines will double its win total from the team’s 3-5-2 finish a year ago.
WOMAN of the MATCH: Nicole Pearson for her goal and steady leadership. Pearson, an Urbandale native and Simpson graduate, is married to Jack Pearson, who last night went the full 90 minutes of the Menace’s 4-3 exhibition win over Toledo.
UP NEXT: The Menace hosts the Minnesota TwinStars tomorrow in the teams’ season finale. Grimes Sports Complex is the site of this 4:30 match. Admission is free, and the concession stand will be open.
Match: Chicago Red Stars Reserves at Des Moines Menace
Date: Saturday, July 16, 2016
Competition: Women’s Premier Soccer League regular season
Venue: Valley Stadium (turf) in West Des Moines, Iowa
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. CDT
Weather: 80s – sunny and breezy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 1 0 1
CHI 0 1 1
MENACE: Nicole Pearson (Kasey Hurt) 14:00
CHI – Abby Reid 71:00
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. In its fifth season, the Menace women’s team is part of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). The Menace men’s team competes in the Premier Development League (PDL) and is in its 23rd season. With loyal support, the Menace men’s and women’s teams play their home games at 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), camps, clinics and tournaments.
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