Des Moines, Iowa. – After a 30-game regular season unbeaten streak at Valley Stadium that dates to June of 2017, the Menace lost 1-2 to Chicago City SC; Via a 95th minute game-winner.
In agonizing fashion, all goals arrived in the last 15 minutes of play, truly down to the wire.
The matchup, which did not disappoint, headlined the number one and number two teams in the USL League Two, as an atmosphere of 3,655 fans cheered for the home side through thick and thin.
After the madness, Chicago City remains the top team in the Heartland Division three points clear, while Des Moines will continue to grow hungry, with a chip on their shoulder.
Des Moines presented itself as the aggressor from the whistle, gaining possession and sending a dangerous ball to Fernando Garcia within the first minute of play.
But Chicago City was well-disruptive in midfield, not allowing any easy progress in attack from the home team.
Both midfields kept busy, Axel Alejandre for City blocking away the channels, as well as Nico Torres-Masafierro for Menace delivering purposeful tackles left and right.
In the 13th minute, a cross by Eliot Goldthorp from a set piece found Alberto Suarez but his header drifted wide.
Ten minutes later, a quickly worked Menace attack saw Goldthorp possess the ball in the box.
On the attacking moment, he slid past Marc Torellas who may or may not have grazed Goldthorp as he went down on the play; no penalty was given, but the tension certainly increased.
After a foul in the 26th, Vicente Valor launched a high ball for Goldthorp, who slept it with the left, positioned on the right, dropped Juan Gutierrez on defense, but skipped his shot wide of goal from the half-moon.
Two minutes later, Goldthorp on a solo run stepped on the ball around Gutierrez into his left foot, but his shot faced the exact same fate as the previous.
No real attack came true for either squad until the 42nd minute.
Chicago began to get comfortable around the Menace box, when Ernest Mensah Jr. Chipped a ball into Oscar Dueso who headed it straight into Ryan Troutman on goal; Was offside.
The second half was loaded with action, from both ends.
The first few chances belonged to Chicago; shot by Ernest Bawa that was saved by Troutman, and a low strike from Blaine Mabie that slid near the post.
Tyrese Spicer would enter the game for Lagos Kunga, and made his presence felt early.
Goldthorp set up Spicer with the outside of his boot, but as the angle narrowed, his shot became too difficult to put away.
As Chicago City began to handle the majority of possession, in the 60th minute it was Menace who worked a counter.
A cross found both Goldthorp and Adrien Gameiro in the far post, after a light miscommunication it was Gameiro who struck it with his left but was denied by Weyman.
In the 73rd minute, Dueso on the counter found Mabie in the box but his first-time shot was brilliantly saved by Troutman into a corner.
Nearing the 80th, Goldthorp would lay a ball for Spicer, who in a more comfortable angle put a shot on target though into the body of Weyman for an easy save.
Then, moments later, Chicago City would punish from a corner.
Whipped in by Mabie, Torellas ran to the ball before anyone, and placed a valiant header on for goal to break the score.
In quick response, Spicer played a pass quickly deflected outside the area; It was Goldthorp who found it in space, but after taking his time as several defenders tried to close him down, his shot blasted into the crossbar.
Promptly, another ball would sneak into a Spicer run, as he faked a shot and opened a gap, his strike landed yet again on the body of Weyman.
Obtaining a corner in the 87th minute, and after plenty of delay by City on substitutions, a golden chance struck Des Moines.
Goldthorp delivered the corner into Haruki Yamazaki, whose wishful header slid past everyone and slotted itself on the net for the equalizer in the 90th minute of play.
As if, an opportunity to put the match away opened for the home team.
After a cross snuck past two Menace players and Chicago’s defense, it landed on Goldthorp’s left foot, but his strike was saved by the left foot, of Weyman, who recorded another save on the night.
But that offensive motion from Menace was struck by fatigue; as Cade Hagan’s pace gave Chicago life.
After ridding several defenders, Hagan arrived at the goal line, sneaking a ball past Zeron Sewell, finding Sidney Warden who delivered a clinical finish past Troutman and silenced the crowd.
Warden and Hagan came into the game as substitutes, but brought enough power to dismantle an exhausted Menace defense.
Des Moines had one last chance to even the match again, from a corner kick.
Troutman joined the cavalry in the box, but the ball would fly far into Sewell whose header went out of bounds... moments later it was signaled the end of the match.
Several Chicago players ran toward the home crowd, some stood on the VIP tables. Juan Gutierrez, captain, ran down to stop them from continuing the gesture.
Simultaneously, a scuffle on the pitch led to several cards, as the game had already terminated.
After the scramble, which did not grow to larger scale, it was Chicago City SC who had accomplished one of the most difficult tasks in recent history: Defeat Des Moines Menace at Valley Stadium.
82’ - Marc Torellas, assisted by Blaine Mabie (Chicago City SC)
90’ - Haruki Yamazaki, assisted by Eliot Goldthorp (Menace)
95’ - Sidney Warden, assisted by Cade Hagan (Chicago City)
Des Moines will host St. Charles FC on Saturday, July 8th. Kickoff is scheduled for 7PM Central Time at Valley Stadium.
Chicago City, still perfect on the season, will host FC Wichita on a short break. They will play on Wednesday, June 6th at Lions for Hope Sports Complex. Kickoff at 7PM Central Time.
Starting XI (Des Moines Menace)
Ryan Troutman (goalkeepeer); Jesse Williams, Alberto Suarez, Zeron Sewell (defenders); Adrien Gameiro, Kori Cupid, Nico Torres-Masafierro, Vicente Valor, Eliot Goldthorp (midfielders); Lagos Kunga, Fernando Garcia (forwards)
Substitutes: Quinn Millerd, Luka Nedic, Tyler Moss, Leroy Enzugusi, Haruki Yamazaki, Tyrese Spicer, Cyrus Harmon