Des Moines United secures spot in the Conference Final after 1-0 victory over Iowa Raptors
June 16th is the night that Des Moines United fans will remember forever. First year in the National Premier League Soccer (NPSL) and Des Moines United is making a statement on their first participation in the league. After the 1-0 win on Friday night in the "El Classico" of Iowa, Des Moines United was able to secure a spot in the Conference Final. Now Des Moines United has played nine games and is leading the Gateway Conference with 22 points (7 wins, 1 loss, and 1 tie).
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 to have some new guys in their starting XI.
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 not successful in connecting that final pass as well.
The first shot on goal came in the 23rd minute of the first half, when Maloma passed his defender and took the shot from 20 yards away. The Raptors’ goalkeeper was in a great position and made the save. Once again, 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 the Raptors defender, Cunha started to dribble and connected on some give and go with Eloge Iradukunda, who crossed to the box and found Jayce Berger, who tapped it in for Des Moines United in the 44th minute of the first half.
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 made a miracle to stop 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 Kevin 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 a beautiful and amazing save.