WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Patience is key.
Things didn’t come together right away, but eventually the Des Moines Menace shook off a slow start tonight in a 2-0 victory over WSA Winnipeg at Valley Stadium.
Forwards Hayden Partain and Devyn Jambga scored in the Menace’s Premier Development League opener – 10 days after the team’s 3-1 home loss to AFC Cleveland in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
“Winning and losing are both habits,” Menace head coach John Pascarella said. “Tonight, we got in the winning habit. Something went against us, and we kept going.”
Less than 12 minutes into the match, the Menace appeared poised to get on the scoreboard. Jambga was tripped in the box, and Isaiah Madrid’s penalty kick was deflected by WSA Winnipeg goalkeeper Evan Barker.
The scoreless draw continued until the 33rd minute, when Partain’s curling free kick splashed into the Upper 90.
“We knew we would score at some point,” Partain said. “The game is all about dissecting the defense, finding the right puzzle pieces. I call it a moving chess match.”
The Menace stayed calm, seizing control of the chess match. Their checkmate finally arrived when Lucas Stauffer set up Jambga’s close-range goal in the 81st minute.
“When Lucas played through, I knew I wouldn’t be offside, and he played a perfect ball back across,” said Jambga, who last year scored two goals and assisted five more for the Menace. “I saw the goalkeeper sprinting at me, and I knew I had to put it around him. As soon as we got that second one, I was ecstatic. It took the pressure off our coaches and players.”
Tonight’s win is the 250th in the Menace’s 24-year history. The Menace has won the PDL Heartland Division each of the last three seasons.
“It’s amazing here. I’ve never been part of anything like this,” Jambga said. “This is a great organization – great coaches, players, staff. That’s what brought me back to Des Moines, and I’m just happy to be here.”
Des Moines’ all-time record is 250-144-35 (221-117-35 PDL, 14-12 U.S. Open Cup and 15-15 PDL Playoffs).
The Menace is 17-0-1 all-time against WSA Winnipeg, with a 65-8 scoring differential (34-1 at home).
The team’s 23-match home unbeaten streak began on July 20, 2013 (a 3-3 tie with St. Louis).
This was the first PDL match for Menace head coach John Pascarella – an assistant coach with Sporting Kansas City the last eight seasons – since his time guiding the Northern Virginia Royals in 2007 and 2008.
Since a 2-1 loss to St. Louis in the team’s Valley Stadium debut (May 10, 2008), the Menace is undefeated in nine straight PDL openers.
This was also the PDL opener for WSA Winnipeg, which was 1-11-2 in 2016, when the Menace outscored the Canadians 22-0 in three matchups.
MAN of the MATCH: Hayden Partain, for scoring his second goal in as many matches. Partain is a native of Frisco, Texas. As a senior, he helped Wake Forest to a second-place finish in the 2016 NCAA College Cup.
UP NEXT: Des Moines hits the road for a pair of matches against PDL “Arch” rivals – May 27 against the St. Louis Lions and May 28 against Saint Louis FC U23.
The next home action comes June 3 against Minneapolis City SC on Youth-Soccer Night. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be available for photos during the game, and youth-soccer players wearing their team jerseys will receive free admission.
Match: WSA Winnipeg at Des Moines Menace
Date: Saturday, May 20, 2017
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Venue: Valley Stadium in West Des Moines, Iowa (artificial-turf field)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m CDT
Weather: 50s, overcast and windy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 1 1 2
WSA 0 0 0
MENACE – Hayden Partain 33:00; Devyn Jambga (Lucas Stauffer) 81:00
Misconduct Summary: WSA Cautions: Daniel Sagno 32:00; Tom Prazak 48:00; Stefan Melo 89:00; MENACE Caution: Luke Haakenson 78:00
MENACE / WSA
Shots: 9 / 1
Saves: 0 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 4
Fouls: 9 / 16
Offside: 2 / 1