Thursday, April 18, 2024

Meet Des Moines Menace, the semi-pro soccer team calling ex-USMNT players out of retirement

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One of the best sports pastimes can be sitting with friends and remembering players who you enjoyed watching. In the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, USL League Two side Des Moines Menace have taken it a step further to see what would happen if “Remember Some Guys FC” was an actual soccer team.

Due to playing in League Two, the Menace play league games between May and July fielding mostly NCAA soccer players so after qualifying for the U.S. Open Cup, they needed to scramble to field a team. Led by former U.S. international Sacha Kljestan, a current broadcaster for MLS on Apple TV after hanging up his cleats in 2022, the Menace were able to advance past the first round of the Open Cup meaning that more friends will join Kljestan ahead of their second round fixture away to Union Omaha on Wednesday night. The Menace needed 120 minutes of soccer to get the job done in a penalty shootout over Capo behind an assist and a penalty shootout make from Kljestan.

A.J. DeLaGarza, Roger Espinoza, and Tesho Akindele have now joined the club alongside Brian Rowe and Euan Holden. Union Omaha defeated two MLS sides in the Open Cup in 2022 before falling to Sporting Kansas City with s date in the Open Cup semifinal on the line so they’re not a team that will feel star-struck facing former MLS players.

With only eight MLS first teams taking part in the U.S. Open Cup this season, things like the Menace bringing together a team of Open Cup legends helps bring a spotlight to the tournament.

“I wanted to play again, with some stakes on the line, and I love the Open Cup,” Kljestan said to The Athletic. “I enjoyed playing in it as a player, not just the U.S. Open Cup but the Belgian Cup, as well. I was excited to play again in a competitive game. The beauty of the cup is it’s all or nothing in one game.”  

Alongside Meanace general manager Charlie Bales, Kljestan has been working on convincing more friends to join his journey and there is interest if the Menace can continue to advance further in the competition. Who knows what the limits for this team will be but it’s fun seeing what happens along the ride in a historic competition with so many great storylines. 

Don’t miss CBS Sports Golazo Network’s Morning Footy, now in podcast form! Our crew brings you all the news, views, highlights and laughs you need to follow the Beautiful Game in every corner of the globe, every Monday-Friday all year long.

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