Des Moines, Iowa. – A chain of substitutions helped Des Moines bloom late on a 3-0 victory against Springfield ASC. The match teased to finish in a tie, but Kori Cupid and Eliot Goldthorp entered with clear intentions; rescuing points and bringing joy to Valley Stadium on Paws on the Pitch Night.
It was dominance for 90 minutes. Menace possessed the ball from the first whistle, corralling Elliot Dickman’s squad. It was a tactical battle, chances were plenty for the home side, yet the game remained at zeros until the 77th minute.
The plan seemed clear for the Monarchs. Drop back, hold the line, clog the channels and prevent runs toward the middle, but even then, it was not enough to prevent what seemed inevitable.
A busy first half for Menace, eyeing opportunities left and right through wide runs from Haruki Yamazaki and Adrien Gameiro. In the Middle, it was Lagos Kunga working the ball forward to Chris Nanco and Cyrus Harmon, who had several chances to open the score.
On the 5th minute, a corner from Vicente Valor found Diego Konincks in the box, whose header drifted wide.
Nearing the 7th, Gameiro crossed a ball for Harmon on the run who couldn’t connect it time, minutes later it was Nanco who squared a shot off the left foot well-wide.
Harmon was unable to capitalize in the 12th minute, as Yamazaki lunged a ball that landed on his weaker right foot directly in front of Jonathan Villacis goal.
Springfield had life in the first half through the feet of Anton Aduwa-Emovon working the left side, but apart from the lone runs of Pharrell Santel-Fils and a handful of set pieces, any ground covered was quickly lost as Des Moines repossessed.
By the 18th, Jesse Williams inside the box crossed a ball up and around the defense that found Harmon who capitalized on the header, but the linesman called offside.
The game eventually slowed down until the 33rd, when Gameiro crossed another ball into Harmon. This time it was Johnley Bineau who interrupted, pirouetting and deflecting the high ball with his right foot for a corner.
At the 35th, same story. This time Gameiro’s ball was played low but drifted past the possibility of a tap.
Alberto Suarez had more chances coming for Menace, including a header in the 38th that glided over Villacis, and a ball from a set piece completely unmarked that he was unable to put away.
Then, at the beginning of the second half, Goldthorp and Cupid would make entry.
In the 47th minute Goldthorp laid a ball for Kunga who closed on Villacis but took a brutal extra second that helped Springfield escape.
Chances slowed down, plenty of them taken away by offside.
Kunga ran the counter for Des Moines at the 66th, pacing past two Springfield players and getting fouled inside the box from a late challenge giving his team a penalty, Goldthorp stepped up.
But the home side would be denied, and the hero at the time appeared to be Jonathan Villacis, who was keeping the score by zero saving the strike from Goldthorp, who featured on this months USL League Two Team of the Month.
Then, at the 77th minute, things began to look bright at West Des Moines.
From a set piece, Goldthorp curled a ball perfectly for Cupid, who headed the ball low and away from Villacis putting Menace up ahead.
The rain had stopped at Valley Stadium, but it came back in the form of goals, a second in the 84th minute.
By the foot of Goldthorp again, this time from a corner, Kori Cupid found the ball rebounding off the chest deflecting on to net; It is presumed to be an own goal.
Nonetheless, the goal turned the match into a certain three points for the red and black.
But the final blow arrived at 90.
Eliot Goldthorp, for a third time, placed a ball on the sight of Gameiro’s blazing run on the far side, who guided a touch clean in front of Villacis and turned two into three for Menace, and a brace to a hat-trick of assists for the Englishman.
Three meaningful points for Menace, crucial as things stand in the Heartland Division. On Paws at the Pitch Night, it was Menace who proved to be the top dog.
77’ - Kori Cupid, assisted by Eliot Goldthorp (Menace)
84’ - 'Own Goal' (Last touch by Kori Cupid, Eliot Goldthorp) (Menace)
90’ - Adrien Gameiro, assisted by Cyrus Harmon (Menace)
Des Moines Menace will go on the road to rematch Springfield. The match is scheduled for Wednesday June 13th, kickoff at 7PM Central Time.
Springfield seeks to rebound and protect its home. The game will be played at Sacret Heart-Griffin High School.
Starting XI (Des Moines Menace)
Ryan Troutman (goalkeepeer); Diego Konincks, Alberto Suarez, Jesse Williams (defenders); Haruki Yamazaki, Adrien Gameiro, Vicente Valor, Luka Nedic, Lagos Kunga (midfielders); Cyrus Harmon, Chris Nanco (forwards)
Substitutes: Joey Batrouni, Stephen Fikula, Kori Cupid, Leroy Enzugusi, Tyrese Spicer, Eliot Goldthorp