Menace remain undefeated in PDL play

Jack Griffin (4) and company are in first place in the division, thanks to a home win over St. Louis. Photo credit: Antonio Rodriguez

Jack Griffin (4) and company are in first place in the division, thanks to a home win over St. Louis. Photo credit: Antonio Rodriguez

Halfway through its Premier Development League schedule, the Des Moines Menace is undefeated and poised for another title run.

A 2-0 victory over the St. Louis Lions on Saturday, June 18, at Valley Stadium improves the Heartland Division’s two-time defending champs to 6-0-1. The goals came late tonight, courtesy Nick Jones and Leigh Veidman.

Des Moines’ success from a three-win sweep through Canada spilled over into its homecoming. On a 15-match unbeaten streak, the Menace continues this home stand next weekend with a Friday-Saturday doubleheader against WSA Winnipeg.

A week ago, goals from Jones and Veidman sent their side past Thunder Bay in a 2-1 win that sealed the Menace’s first road-doubleheader sweep against the Chill since 2006. Des Moines completed its international travels with a 6-0 romp at Winnipeg on Tuesday.

“Coming out of Canada with nine points gave us a lot of momentum,” said Jones. “We knew this would be a battle, we knew what we needed to do, and we got the job done.”

Like he did last Saturday in Thunder Bay, Jones opened the game’s scoring. Finding some space, he launched a low-sailing rocket out of St. Louis goalkeeper Iain McTurk’s diving reach.

“It kind of came down to being in the right place at the right time,” said Jones. “Matko (Menace head coach Mike Matkovich) tells us it comes down to paying attention to the details, and it’s about the little moments of the game – getting those right, and being prepared mentally.”

Veidman has scored in four straight games. Only four minutes after Jones’ ice-breaker in the 69th minute, Veidman dribbled around a pair of Lions and fired another long-range shot past McTurk – from 20 yards out.

The match – a copy of a 2-0 Menace win at St. Louis on May 28 – got heated in the second half. The Lions’ Chris Johnson received a red card when he took out Jones from behind in the 83rd minute.

Matko’s Menace has tied the second-longest unbeaten stretch in franchise history. The current 15-match streak began with a 2-0 win at Winnipeg on June 21, 2015.

The Menace also went undefeated in 15 straight from July 5, 2008 to July 4, 2009; the club’s longest unbeaten streak was 24 matches, from May 4, 2002 to May 31, 2003.
Des Moines is undefeated in 18 straight home matches, dating to the last game of the 2013 season.
Leigh Veidman, a member of the current PDL Team of the Week, leads the Menace with four goals in league play – all coming in the last four matches.
The last time the Menace was undefeated in at least seven matches to start the season was in 2009, when the eventual division champs began 7-0-4.
The Menace has won five straight against the Lions, who are 2-5-1 this season.
Des Moines has outscored PDL foes 16-2, and the Menace has not allowed a second-half goal since a 2-1, season-opening win over Chicago.

MAN of the MATCH: Nick Jones for the second straight Saturday. Jones once again opened the scoring, and he also drew a red card when he became the Lions’ target late in the match. Jones is a St. Louis native and Wisconsin Badger who was playing against his hometown team.

UP NEXT: The Menace hosts WSA Winnipeg this coming Friday and Saturday, June 24 and 25. Watch live on

Match: St. Louis Lions at Des Moines Menace
Date: Saturday, June 18, 2016
Competition: Premier Development League regular season
Venue: Valley Stadium (turf) in West Des Moines, Iowa
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Weather: 80s
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 0 2 2
StL 0 0 0
MENACE: Nick Jones 69:00; Leigh Veidman 73:00
Misconduct Summary

MENACE CAUTION: Jack Griffin 41:00
StL CAUTIONS: Lee Woolmore 38:00; Udi Cohen 44:00; Dylan Cassidy 90:00+
StL EJECTION: Chris Johnson 83:00

Shots: 10 /6
Saves: 7 / 6
Corner Kicks: 5 / 3
Fouls: 6 / 14
Offside: 0 / 2

ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. The Menace men’s team competes in the Premier Development League (PDL) and is set to begin its 23rd season in 2016. Starting their fifth season this year, 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 10+), and other various youth tournaments, camps and clinics.