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Menace's heroics bring home a point

Johan De Picker (right) delivered a stoppage-time goal to save the day. Photo credit: Joe Sprunger


EVANSTON, Ill. – Tuesday, June 20, 2017 – With his team trailing Chicago FC United in the final moments of stoppage time, Johan De Picker rose to the occasion.

De Picker’s header goal, assisted by David Zalzman, lifted the Des Moines Menace to a 1-1 draw tonight at Lakeside Field.

Coming home from its last Premier Development League road match of the season, the Menace is in the driver’s seat in the race for the Heartland Division’s two playoff spots. The Menace will be at home the next four weekends – starting this Saturday against Chicago FC United.

“It’s super-important,” De Picker said of tonight’s result. “Every point is important, and it was definitely a team effort for us. Nobody gave up, and I think this shows a lot of character.”

This hard-earned point provides some padding for Des Moines. The Menace is 5-2-2 with 17 standings points – four more than second-place St. Louis (4-2-1).

Chicago’s Ryan Sierakowski scored on a penalty kick in tonight’s 48th minute, and the Menace spent most of the second half in search of an equalizer.

Second-half subs Ramone Howell and Isaiah Madrid shifted the Menace into a higher gear, and the visitors put plenty of shots on frame. However, Chicago goalkeeper Sawyer Jackman rescued his team every time.

Until the final 30 seconds of stoppage. Zalzman fed Gabe Christianson a short corner kick from the right side, and Christianson rolled it back to Zalzman, who lofted a pass into a mass of bodies in the box.

“David crossed it in with his left foot to the near post, the goalie was coming out, and I beat him,” said De Picker. “I jumped in front of their keeper and chipped him.”

How did it feel?

“We were relieved but not totally satisfied with the draw,” De Picker said. “We’ll be looking for payback on Saturday. I think it will be huge for us to have all the fans behind us the rest of the way.”



  • This was the first meeting between the Menace and Chicago FC United – a team in its inaugural PDL season.
  • The Menace is on a four-match unbeaten streak.
  • Des Moines went 3-2-2 in its PDL road matches.
  • In the last 12 days, the Menace has played six matches and earned 13 points (4-1-1).
  • Chicago FC United (1-1-5) has tied its last four matches, including a 2-2 result at defending PDL champion Michigan on Sunday night.
  • The Menace dedicated tonight’s performance to the memory of former United States women’s national team coach Tony DiCicco – a mentor to Menace head coach John Pascarella. DiCicco died last night at the age of 68.


MAN of the MATCH: Johan De Picker, for his second goal of the season. The tall defender is a native of Brussels, Belgium. He attends Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

UP NEXT: The Menace hosts Chicago FC United this Saturday at Valley Stadium. Bubble Soccer, presented by Bounce DM, returns to the halftime lineup, and we’ll be giving away $1,000 in Kum & Go gift cards. The Menace’s 7:30 p.m. match is preceded by the girls’ edition of the Iowa High School All-Star Game, which kicks off at 4:30.



Match: Des Moines Menace at Chicago FC United

Date: Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Venue: Lakeside Field (artificial turf) in Evanston, Ill.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Weather: 60s, sunny

Scoring Summary:     1    2     F
MENACE                      0     1     1
CHI                              0     1     1

MENACE – Johan De Picker 90:00+

CHI – Ryan Sierakowski PK 48:00



ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. In its 24th season, the Menace men’s team competes in the Premier Development League (PDL). In its sixth 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 tournaments, camps and clinics.

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