Des Moines United FC Defeats Iowa Raptors FC 1-0

By Des Moines United FC

Des Moines United FC secured a 1-0 win over Iowa Raptors FC on Friday night in the “El Classico” of Iowa.  Des Moines United has now played nine games and is leading the Gateway Conference with 22 points and a 7-1-1 record.

The game between Des Moines United and the Iowa Raptors started very slowly with both teams trying to figure out what the opponent’s strategy was and both teams having some new players in their starting lineups.

Des Moines United was controlling the ball, but without being able to connect that final pass to find their forwards in a good position for a finish.  On the other hand, the Iowa Raptors were trying to explore the counterattacks but were also not successful in connecting that final pass.

The first shot on goal came in the 23rd minute when Lesego Maloma passed his defender and took the shot from 20 yards away.  The Raptors goalkeeper was in a great position and made the save.  Des Moines United was not able to finish their opportunities, and just when you would think the teams were going to halftime scoreless, we saw two players shine once again: Guilherme Cunha and Jayce Berger.

And that duo made it happen for the home team.  After Cunha picked up a clearance from a Raptors defender, he started to dribble and connected on some give-and-go with Eloge Iradukunda.  Then Iradukunda found Jayce Berger who tapped it in to give Des Moines United a 1-0 lead.

After halftime, the Raptors came back more aggressive, and the home team started to play more on the counterattack.  The Raptors started to be more dangerous in the offensive third and created a few chances to tie the game, but Des Moines United goalkeeper Kevin Qi was there to keep the visitors scoreless.  After a few changes, the home team had the chance to finish the game with Kais Sabic, but the Iowa Raptors goalkeeper prevented Sabic from scoring the home team’s second goal.

At the end, the Raptors went all out, and on set plays, they almost tied the game, but Qi made sure to keep the visitors scoreless.  In the 89th minute, Des Moines United had the chance to spot the pressure with a beautiful counterattack, where Sabic was face-to-face with the keeper, and the visitor’s keeper pulled off an amazing save.

Des Moines head coach Francisco Fernandes reflected on his team’s performance in the match.  

“I’m beyond thankful for what the team delivered today,” Fernandes said. “We still have a lot of work and improvement to do, but I’m very happy with the performance.  We have two guys who have been crucial, Cunha and Berger, and today they both shined again.  We had a few changes on the lineup due to injuries, but the guys who came in took the opportunity very well.”

Des Moines United now have a two-week break and come back to action on July 5th when they finish the regular season against Sunflower State FC. The Iowa Raptors will host FC Milwaukee Torrent on Thursday, June 22.

Photo Credit: Doug Wells


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