This goal by Heath Honold gave the Menace the halftime lead. Photo credit: Joe Sprunger
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Friday, July 7, 2017 – The Des Moines Menace’s weekend opened with a 3-2 exhibition loss to Sporting Kansas City U23 tonight at Valley Stadium.
It continues tomorrow with the Premier Development League Game of the Week.
On a quick turnaround, the Menace forges ahead with a focus on the St. Louis Lions and the pursuit of a playoff spot. Des Moines is down to its last three matches – all in the next eight days, and all at home.
“Tomorrow’s the real deal,” Menace head coach John Pascarella said. “If we create chances like we have in the past, we have a real shot to win it. If not, we’ll struggle like we have recently.”
Des Moines is 5-4-2 (17 points) in league play, knowing a win tomorrow would send the Menace from the Heartland Division’s fourth spot to second place. The division’s top two teams advance to the postseason.
“Tomorrow is a must-win, and we just have to play the way we play,” Heath Honold said. “It’s unfortunate that we’re in the circumstances that we’re in, but we’re glad that we can control our own fate.”
The Menace can clinch a postseason berth with three wins – tomorrow, then July 14 (Saint Louis FC) and July 15 (Chicago FC United).
But tonight, Dawson Lee’s goals in the 67th and 70th minutes lifted Sporting KC U23 to victory.
The visitors struck early – Lucas Bartlett scored less than two minutes into the match – before the Menace took the lead on goals from Ricky Hoegg (ninth minute) and Honold (38th).
Adam Knight, who subbed in shortly after SKC U23 seized the lead, nearly knotted the match in the closing moments.
In the 89th minute, Knight’s low shot across the goal pinged the right post and bounced the wrong way. And in stoppage time, Knight dribbled into the box and was ready to launch a shot when Bartlett bumped him from behind. No call followed and the referee’s final whistle came moments later.
- Des Moines head coach John Pascarella spent the previous eight Major League Soccer seasons as an assistant coach with Sporting KC’s first team.
- Menace midfielder Greg Boehme wore the captain’s band tonight on his 22nd birthday.
- The visitors’ roster tonight included four members of the 2017 Menace: Lucas Bartlett, Tucker Stephenson, Bryce Gibson and Nic Jaimes.
- This is the Menace’s first exhibition loss since Minnesota Stars FC (then the defending North American Soccer League champions) left with a 2-0 win on July 14, 2012.
- Making an appearance at tonight’s match was Andy Gruenebaum, who was the goalkeeping star for the Menace’s 2005 championship team and whose nine-year MLS career ended with Sporting KC in 2014.
MAN of the MATCH: Heath Honold, for his lead-grabbing goal in the first half. Honold is a native of Coon Rapids, Iowa, who attends West Virginia.
UP NEXT: The home action continues tomorrow night, when the St. Louis Lions visit Valley Stadium. The PDL’s Game of the Week kicks off at 7:30.
Match: Sporting Kansas City U23 at Des Moines Menace
Date: Friday, July 7, 2017
Venue: Valley Stadium (artificial turf) in West Des Moines, Iowa
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Weather: 80s, sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 2 0 2
SKCU23 1 2 3
MENACE – Ricky Hoegg 9:00; Heath Honold (Chris Nkoghe) 38:00
SKCU23 – Lucas Bartlett (Nick Hibler) 2:00; Dawson Lee (Darby Cronin) 67:00; Lee (Bartlett) 70:00
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.