This goal by Elvir Ibisevic sealed the Menace's win -- and a return to the postseason. Photo credit: Joe Sprunger
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Saturday, July 15, 2017 – A mixture of relief and celebration filled the hot Valley Stadium air after the Des Moines Menace’s 2-0 win tonight over Chicago FC United.
The Menace is headed back to the Premier Development League playoffs.
“We’re all excited,” Menace head coach John Pascarella said. “I love this group, and the fact that we can stay together another week – train together and play together – it means a lot to us.”
It wasn’t easy, and the Menace made fans sweat it out until the very end – of the game and the regular season.
This was a must-win matchup, with the Menace (7-5-2, 23 points) needing three points to pass Saint Louis FC U23 (6-4-4, 22 points) for the Heartland Division’s second and final playoff spot.
Second-half sub Elvir Ibisevic assisted Hayden Partain in the 65th minute, and he netted one for himself in the 87th minute. After laying off a pass for Partain’s 18-yard one-timer, Ibisevic received a through-ball from Isaiah Madrid to create a breakaway in the closing minutes. He took one big touch and blasted an emphatic shot into the side net.
“That just topped it off,” Ibisevic said. “I don’t care who gets the goal. I saw the opening, and it felt good to get that one.
“It’s been a battle. Thankfully we got in. All summer we’ve been training hard, and we’ve had some close games that didn’t go our way. But right now, we’re clicking. Hopefully we just keep it going.”
Des Moines makes its fourth straight appearance in the Central Conference’s championship weekend – this Friday and Saturday at a site to be announced by league officials.
The Menace faces the defending PDL champion Michigan Bucks on Friday. K-W United FC and the Thunder Bay Chill meet in an all-Canada semi, and the winners battle on Saturday for a place in the league’s final four.
“You grind out every result,” Pascarella said. “Every point matters. It’s fun to compete in this division, and I’ve loved every minute of it. Hopefully we can continue it for a few more weeks.”
FINAL 2017 PDL HEARTLAND DIVISION STANDINGS
1. Thunder Bay Chill 9-3-2, 29 points
2. MENACE 7-5-2, 23 points
3. Saint Louis FC 6-4-4, 22 points
4. St. Louis Lions 6-7-1, 19 points
5. Chicago FC United 4-5-5, 17 points
6. WSA Winnipeg 2-11-1, 7 points
- Des Moines makes its 15th appearance in the PDL playoffs.
- This is the second time the Menace has qualified for four straight postseason (1995-1998).
- The Menace’s 19 PDL goals match the franchise’s lowest season scoring total (2013).
- A win or tie last night against Saint Louis FC would have clinched a playoff spot for the Menace; Des Moines lost 2-1.
- Menace goalkeeper Kyle Ihn earned the shutout.
- Des Moines outshot Chicago 19-5.
- Hayden Partain’s fourth goal of the season places him one score behind team leader Devyn Jambga.
MAN of the MATCH: Elvir Ibisevic, who entered the match in the 55th minute, assisted Hayden Partain in the 65th and iced the match with a goal (his first of the season) in the 87th. Ibisevic, in his second season with the Menace, is a Bosnian-born Johnston resident who’s heading into his sophomore season for Nebraska-Omaha.
UP NEXT: The Menace is going to the playoffs! Stay tuned to MenaceSoccer.com for updates.
Match: Chicago FC United at Des Moines Menace
Date: Saturday, July 15, 2017
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
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 0 2 2
CHI 0 0 0
MENACE – Hayden Partain (Elvir Ibisevic) 65:00; Ibisevic 87:00
DES MOINES MENACE 2017 SCHEDULE
(7-5-2 PDL: 4-3-0 home; 3-2-2 away)
Saturday, May 20 WSA Winnipeg W, 2-0
Saturday, May 27 at St. Louis Lions L, 0-1
Sunday, May 28 at Saint Louis FC U23 T, 1-1
Saturday, June 3 Minneapolis City SC (E) W, 3-0
Friday, June 9 at Thunder Bay Chill W, 1-0
Saturday, June 10 at Thunder Bay Chill L, 0-2
Tuesday, June 13 at WSA Winnipeg W, 3-1
Wednesday, June 14 at WSA Winnipeg W, 3-0
Saturday, June 17 Thunder Bay Chill W, 1-0
Tuesday, June 20 at Chicago FC United T, 1-1
Saturday, June 24 Chicago FC United L, 0-1
Saturday, July 1 Saint Louis FC U23 L, 1-2
Friday, July 7 Sporting KC U23 (E) L, 2-3
Saturday, July 8 St. Louis Lions W, 3-1
Friday, July 14 Saint Louis FC U23 L, 1-2
Saturday, July 15 Chicago FC United W, 2-0
Friday, July 21 Michigan Bucks (P) Time and site TBA
Saturday, July 22 Premier Development League Playoffs
Saturday, July 29 Semifinals, Premier Development League Playoffs
Saturday, Aug. 5 Premier Development League Championship
All games are listed in Des Moines time.
OC = Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup E = Exhibition P = PDL Playoffs
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.