Alen Marcina (in red) enters his first season as the Menace's head coach. Photo credit: Jayde Vogeler
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Tuesday, May 22, 2018 – More than 250 victories and more than 100 alumni in professional soccer. A dozen appearances in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and 15 more in the Premier Development League playoffs.
The Des Moines Menace’s proud history traces all the way back to 1994. It continues Thursday night, when the Menace opens its 25th season with a 7:30 home match against WSA Winnipeg at Valley Stadium.
Leading the Menace into this silver-anniversary season is first-year head coach Alen Marcina. In the run-up to Opening Night, the team has been announcing the players who will be representing the Menace in the goal of securing the franchise’s fifth straight postseason appearance.
“This is going to be a very exciting year,” Marcina said. “The team is committed to the overall vision of competing for championships, connecting with our community, and collectively committing ourselves to excellence. We are all in this together. Des Moines, let’s make this a special summer.”
For Marcina’s Menace, Thursday’s opener is the only home action before mid-June. On Saturday, the team pays a visit to the St. Louis Lions for the first of five straight road matches.
WSA WINNIPEG at DES MOINES MENACE
DATE and TIME: Thursday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m. CDT
VENUE: Valley Stadium (artificial turf) in West Des Moines, Iowa
COMPETITION: Premier Development League season opener
PROMOTIONS: Student Night -- $5 tickets for students and educators; Magnet schedules to the first 500 fans.
DES MOINES MENACE at ST. LOUIS LIONS
DATE and TIME: Saturday, May 26 at 5 p.m. CDT
VENUE: Tony Glavin Soccer Complex (grass) in St. Peters, Mo.
COMPETITION: Premier Development League regular season
ABOUT THE MENACE
- Secured the franchise’s fourth straight PDL postseason appearance with a 7-5-2 regular season in 2017.
- By upsetting host Michigan in the first round of the 2017 playoffs, advanced to the PDL Central Conference final – a 2-0 loss to eventual league finalist Thunder Bay.
- Familiar faces on this year’s roster include Iowa natives Brandon Fricke (2010-14 and 2017 Menace), Mueng Sunday (2014-17 Menace) and Elvir Ibisevic (2016-17 Menace).
- First-year head coach Alen Marcina is assisted by Dario Pots and goalkeeping coach Devala Gorrick.
- Enters the franchise’s 25th season with an all-time record of 267-154-37 (237-126-37 regular season; 16-16 PDL playoffs; 14-12 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup).
ABOUT WSA WINNIPEG
- Finished at the bottom of the PDL Heartland Division’s 2017 standings (2-11-1).
- Coached by Eduardo Badescu (2011-present), who is assisted by William Rosales.
- Best season in franchise history was in 2012 (3-8-5, 14 points).
- Like last year, opens the season with five road matches in one week. Will swoop through Des Moines, Kaw Valley (Friday and Sunday), St. Louis (Tuesday) and Chicago (Wednesday).
ALL-TIME SERIES: MENACE VS. WSA WINNIPEG
- The Menace is undefeated against the Wolf Pack 19-0-1 in a series that began in 2011.
- In the 2017 season, the Menace swept the series (2-0 on May 20 at Valley Stadium and 3-1 and 3-0 in a June 13-14 doubleheader in Canada).
- Des Moines has outscored Winnipeg 71-9 (34-1 in nine home matches, all wins).
- WSA’s only goal on the Menace’s home turf came on July 2, 2011 (a second-half stoppage time goal by Aaron Badescu in a 3-1 Menace win); Since then, Des Moines has scored 27 straight goals in seven home matches against Winnipeg.
- The teams’ lone tie came on June 2, 2012 in Winnipeg; two late goals from the Menace salvaged a 2-2 draw.
- The Menace plays in Manitoba on June 10, two days after a rivalry reunion on the Thunder Bay Chill’s home field.
ABOUT THE LIONS
- Started the 2017 PDL season strong before losing their final five matches to settle for a 6-7-1 record and a fourth-place finish in the Heartland Division.
- Opened the 2018 season with a 1-1 home draw against Kaw Valley on May 19.
- Play their first four matches – and six of their first seven – at home.
- Appeared in the PDL Playoffs in 2007 and 2014.
- Head coach Tony Glavin has led the Lions for all 13 of the franchise’s seasons.
ALL-TIME SERIES: MENACE VS. LIONS
- Des Moines leads 17-6-10 (9-2-6 at home) in a series that began in 2006.
- The teams split in 2017, with each team protecting its home field – St. Louis won 1-0 on May 27 and Des Moines rallied for a 3-1 victory on July 8 in the PDL Game of the Week.
- The Menace entered the 2017 season with a 10-match unbeaten streak (8-0-2) against the Lions.
- Des Moines has outscored St. Louis 66-37 (28-16 on the road).
ABOUT THE PDL HEARTLAND DIVISION
- The Menace (25th season), WSA Winnipeg (eighth season), the St. Louis Lions (13th season), the Thunder Bay Chill (19th season) and Chicago FC United (second season) are back in the division, joined by newcomer Sporting Kaw Valley (Kan.).
- Des Moines or Thunder Bay has been the Heartland Division champ the last 11 seasons.
- The 72-team PDL comprises 10 divisions and four conferences; the Heartland Division and the Great Lakes Division are in the Central Conference.
RECAPPING LAST SATURDAY’S “DUB” IN DUBUQUE
- In a preseason friendly against Union Dubuque F.C., the Menace scored the first six goals in a 6-1 victory halted by lightning after 68 minutes.
- Scoring for the Menace were Kino Ryosuke, Elvir Ibisevic, Omar Mohammed (two in a row), Rashid Alarape and Audi Jepsen.
- The first-year club got on the board in the 66th minute, when Bradan Allen scored on a free kick.
- Union Dubuque, a member of the United Premier Soccer League, visits the Menace for a June 30 exhibition at Valley Stadium.
UP NEXT FOR THE MENACE
- The Menace visits the St. Louis Lions for a 5 p.m. match on Saturday.
- This is the first of five straight road games for the Menace.
- Next home action is June 15 – a Fireworks Friday friendly with Nebraska Bugeaters FC.
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. In its 25th season, the Menace men’s team competes in the Premier Development League (PDL). Entering its seventh 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 promotes the growth of soccer through these youth programs: Junior Menace (ages 3-9), Menace Academy (ages six and older), and tournaments, camps and clinics.