ST. CHARLES, Mo. – To begin the 2023 USL 2 campaign, the Des Moines Menace kicked off the season in style earning a 4-0 victory on the road over St. Charles FC from Lutheran High Field.
A wide, aggressive approach on offense provided options for coach Dean Johnson and the Menace through the length of the match. St. Charles, who are in their inaugural season, fought at an undeniable level.
Assisted by Jesse Williams, Lagos Kunga slotted the first goal at the 10th minute pacing down the right flank of St. Charles, beating Harry O’Brien on goal on a tight one-to-one.
The home side worked the counter through the feet of midfielder Harry Lee, providing a spark through the first half attempting to break the Menace five-man wall.
The visitors maintained the pressure through the first.
In the 33rd minute, Gabriel Rodriguez found Eliot Goldthorp on the half-moon, who drifted clear of a defender and rifled a shot into the back of the net for 2-0.
Late in the first, an effort by Alsadiq Hasan was saved by Troutman, who denied all shots on goal in the afternoon earning a clean sheet.
St. Charles revisited a lead in possession early in the second half.
Coach Lawrence Olum sought to refresh the team off the bench in forward Mitchell Foley.
The well-timed introduction of Leroy Enzugusi brought the Menace its third goal.
The forward cracked a shot that bounced off the St. Charles defense at the 65th minute for an own goal.
Shortly after, at the 67th minute, Enzugusi made it four with a clinical, across-the-body finish as a bouncing ball from Eliot Goldthorp settled on his right foot.
The Menace continued to dominate the match, creating chances for the remaining length, including an attempt from Curtis De Leon after a mistake by the St. Charles backline that almost brought the teams fifth of the night.
The experienced side took advantage of its chances, the newcomers provided a highly competitive match and the beginning of what many continue to provoke as a future rivalry in the Heartland Division.
'10 Lagos Kunga, assisted by Jesse Williams
'33 Eliot Goldthorp, assisted by Gabi Rodriguez
'65 Own Goal, shot by Enzugusi deflected into the net
'67 Leroy Enzugusi, assisted by Eliot Goldthorp
The Menace sit on top of the division. The team will prepare for its home opener against FC Wichita on Saturday, May 13th at 7:00 PM local time from Valley Stadium.
St. Charles FC will be on the road to face Peoria City from Shea Stadium Saturday, May 20th at 7:30 PM.
Starting XI (Des Moines Menace)
Ryan Troutman (goalkeeper); Diego Konnicks, Alberto Suarez, Jesse Williams (defenders); Kori Cupid, Henry Sach, Luke Nedic, Eliot Goldthorp, Nico Torres (midfielders); Gabi Rodriguez, Lagos Kunga (forwards).
Substitutes: Duran Lee, Curtis De Leon, Tyler Moss, Chris Nanco, Leroy Enzugusi, Michael McFarlane, Quinn Millerd.