Key players for the Des Moines Menace stepped up in a big way Wednesday night to help defeat the Real Colorado Foxes 3-0 in the second round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
Nico Wright, one of the few players to play for the Menace last season, scored in the fifth minute to give the Iowa club a lead it would never relinquish.
“Fortunately we were able to score early,” said Des Moines head coach Mike Jeffries. “For us that was important in that it was a new group, and first competitive game together so I think that gave us a lot of confidence going forward.”
While the early goal certainly helped, Jeffries said it was the Menace’s stifling defense, led by another key returning player in Brandon Fricke, which set the tone.
“The guys put a lot of energy into defending,” Jeffries said. “Their organization was good. I think we got some good leadership from Brandon Fricke at the back in terms of our organization and our shape.”
The Menace doubled its lead just before halftime through Alec Bartlett and added an insurance goal from Sean Dong in the 53rd minute.
Jeffries said the team plans on adding a few more college players before the next round. With the roster still settling, it will be helpful to have Wright and Fricke to lead the team.
“We’ll lean heavily on those guys. They’ve been through it with us last year so I think that’s important. It’s always nice as a coach when you have [players] that can help translate what you want [to the field].”
Going forward, Jeffries made it no secret his team is looking forward to making a deep run in this year’s Open Cup after being knocked out in a close match against Sporting Kansas City last year in the Third Round.
“Everyone has strong motivation in the US Open Cup especially when you’re an amateur team. You really want to get to those games where you can play pro clubs and measure yourself.”
The Menace will face NASL-side Minnesota United FC at home on May 28.