The attacking fireworks we have come to expect from Des Moines Menace this season led them to a 4-1 win over Peoria City Wednesday night.
In defeating their closest rivals to the Deep North Division throne, Menace put themselves one step closer to securing a playoff spot, which they could now accomplish in their next contest.
Menace were quick to take control of the ball and create opportunities early. On this occasion, they put away one of those opportunities with no hesitation.
Ryley Kraft was taken down on a run through the box to set up a penalty kick in the 16th minute, and Brandon Bermingham was up to the task of sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and opening the scoring.
From there, the home side settled down and began to see more of the ball, but neither side were able to convert their chances ahead of the hydration break at the 33rd-minute mark.
Soon after the pause, Felipe D'Agostini pounced on a poor back pass from Peoria's back line. D'Agostini fired the unfortunate pass into the back of the net, giving Menace a 2-0 advantage that they would carry with them into the halftime break.
SECOND HALF (Menace 2 - 0 Peoria at half)
Menace wasted absolutely no time extending their lead against their closest divisional competitors. It would be Kraft who picked up a goal of his own on the stroke of 50 minutes, putting away a goal from close range after Bermingham had a shot saved into Kraft's path.
From there, Menace played comfortably with a three-goal cushion, while Peoria pushed hard to find a way back in. The home side did bring a goal back in the 61st minute, bringing the score to 3-1.
Menace continued to play comfortably, though, holding onto as much possession as possible and disrupting Peoria's attack.
They held their lines until second-half stoppage time, when substitute striker Edoardo Degl'Innocenti grabbed goal number four in the sixth minute of added time.
That was surely the nail in the coffin for Menace, giving them a comfortable final scoreline against a quality opponent.
Starting XI (3-4-1-2): Grant Makela, goalkeeper; Kori Cupid, Zeron Sewell, Malik Smith, defenders; Kori Cupid, Neville Morgan, Lance Rozeboom, Luka Nedic, Ryley Kraft, midfielders; Felipe D'Agostini, Brandon Bermingham, forwards
Degl'Innocenti's goal was his first of the season, making him the 11th Menace player to score in USL2 play this year.
Kraft scored his third goal of the year, making him the only player to record three goals and three assists this season.
Bermingham now has goals in both matches he has started for Menace.
KICKS AND GIGGLES
The unbeaten streak now stands at 15 matches for Menace dating back to last season.
Peoria City are the only club Menace were scheduled to play twice away from home; they've now won both away matches against Peoria with one home match to come.
Menace start a stretch of four consecutive home matches on June 25 against FC Manitoba. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. from Valley Stadium in West Des Moines.
Photo courtesy of Steven Packer