COTTLEVILLE, Mo. – The same word can be used to describe the St. Louis Lions season finale and season as a whole – disappointing.
The Lions fell behind the Des Moines Menace 3-0, before losing 4-1 at the Tony Glavin Complex on Sunday. The Lions (3-11-2 overall) finished Premier Development League play on a six-game losing streak.
“I felt we played in a way that was very indicative of the season, which is not so well,” Lions coach Tony Glavin said. “It just seems we punish ourselves at times and it leads to goals and that’s unfortunate.”
Logan McDaniel paced Des Moines (8-5-3) with two goals, including the go-ahead goal in the 14th minute. McDaniel launched a 35-yarder that Lions goalkeeper Samuel Thomas attempted to tip over the net, but the ball failed to get over the crossbar and went into the net.
McDaniel also had a part in Des Moines’ eventual game-winner in the 37th minute. McDaniel struck a perfect corner kick into the Lions’ box and Brandon Fricke headed the ball into the goal to give the Menace a 2-0 lead.
McDaniel struck again in the 62nd minute after teammate Lebogang Moloto found himself one-on-one with Lions goalkeeper Matthew Derrington. Instead of taking the shot, Moloto slid the ball past Derrington to McDaniel, who buried it into a wide open net.
The Lions finally got on the scoreboard in the 76th minute when Des Moines defender Matt LaGrassa was called for a foul inside the Menace box, giving the Lions a penalty kick. Jamie Lovegrove buried the kick low right to cut it to 3-1.
“He’s pretty much held things down in the back for us,” Glavin said of Lovegrove. “It’s definitely good to have someone coming up from the defense and scoring goals for you.”
The Menace added an own goal in the 80th minute to make it 4-1.
The game was physical with 25 total fouls, seven yellow cards and one red card. Lions and Menace players had to be separated in the 69th minute after tempers flared when Des Moines’ Taylor Diem and St. Louis’ Bryce Childers got tangled in the Menace box.
“I think every game we play against Des Moines is like this, its kind of a natural rivalry,” Lions winger Jonny Brown said. “There was the heat and it was the last game of the season and it’s just something that happens with two teams that don’t like each other with nothing to play for.”
Lovegrove finished the season with a team-high five goals for the Lions and Brown led the team with two assists. Both players were named co-players of the year before the game by the St. Louligans, the Lions support club.
Lions veteran Alen Bradaric said all was not lost this season, even though the game results were disappointing. Bradaric said he and his teammates grew as players from the experience.
“I’ll be 25 soon, but I think I’ve improved every season,” Bradaric, an Affton High and Lindenwood University product, said. “You work on consistency and just like every other season, I feel like I’m a better player than I was three months ago.”
Before the game, Glavin said he thanked the Lions players for their effort this season.
“It wasn’t all bad this season,” Glavin said. “They are all nice lads and they worked hard for me. That’s all you can ask for.”
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