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Sacha Kljestan converts decisive penalty as Des Moines Menace advance in Open Cup

By Staff, 03/21/24, 11:29AM EDT


Former United States international caps perfect set from the spot after late drama in extra time

Former United States international Sacha Kljestan captained the Des Moines Menace - and notched an assist and the decisive finish in a penalty shootout - in the club's victory against Capo FC in the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday. | Photo cour

Sacha Kljestan’s stint with the Des Moines Menace could have been a limited attraction.

But after the former United States international converted the decisive penalty kick in a shootout victory for the Menace against professional side Capo FC late on Wednesday night, it looks set for a second engagement.

Kljestan’s penalty to lead off the fifth round capped a perfect run for the visitors at JSerra Field before Capo’s Parker Scalzo missed the target in the bottom half of the frame to send Des Moines into the Second Round of the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 5-4 victory after the sides had played a dramatic 2-2 draw after extra time.

“I played 120 minutes… I need a week off,” said Kljestan on social media. “Then I’m gonna start recruiting for next round. Let’s gooooooo!!!”

Coming out of retirement to suit up for the Menace, the 38-year-old played the full 120 minutes, captaining the side, and provided the assist on Cyrus Harmon’s opening goal in the 53rd minute. A deft angled pass from the left by Kljestan played Harmon into the right channel, where he held off a defender and finished low past the goalkeeper.

Capo hit back 13 minutes later when Scalzo scored his first of the game, but with three minutes to go in the second period of extra time it appeared the Menace had secured their passage through Leroy Enzugusi. A turning shot by Paul Henschke toward the bottom-left corner was saved, but Enzugusi was first to react to turn home the rebound.

Scalzo dashed Des Moines’ hopes of taking victory after 120 minutes, however, as he struck again in stoppage time to send the game to a shootout. The Menace took first and held their nerve. Bay Kurtz, Euan Holden, Enzugusi and Kyle Owen each found the net with their first four shots, all of which were answered by their Capo counterparts.

When Kljestan shot home to open the fifth round, however, Scalzo was unable to match him, adding Des Moines to Vermont Green FC as the current USL League Two representation in the Second Round.

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