The Des Moines Menace sets out to make it three wins in a row when the Premier Development League team hosts the Kansas City Brass at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Valley Stadium.
The Menace (3-1-0) rallied past the Brass, 2-1, on the road last Wednesday (May 19) to earn three points in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup qualifying stage. Saturday will mark the first non-Open Cup game for Des Moines in the regular season.
Des Moines is still in the hunt for the Premier Development League’s Heartland Division bid. Laurie Calloway and his team will know Sunday whether they are headed to the organization’s first Open Cup since 2006.
The Brass travels to Rochester (Minn.) to battle the Thunder in a pivotal matchup, scheduled to start at 3 p.m. If Rochester (2-1-1 overall, 2-1-0 in cup qualifiers) wins, it earns the division’s bid based on a head-to-head tiebreaker with Des Moines. A loss or tie by Rochester means the Menace advances.
After dropping the regular-season home opener against the Thunder on May 15, Des Moines has rebounded to win two straight.
“It’s always tough to lose your home opener, especially with high expectations,” Menace head coach Laurie Calloway said. “We’ve set the stage now where we can really get some convincing wins.”
Calloway’s side is still in the hunt for an Open Cup spot, thanks to some help from the St. Louis Lions. After they lost 2-1 at Des Moines on Saturday, the Lions topped Rochester by the same score; a win by the home-team Thunder would have clinched Rochester’s Open Cup berth.
Whether or not it qualifies for the Open Cup, Des Moines is ready to turn the page as it looks to rack up points in order to defend its Heartland Division title.
After the team’s first home win of the season against St. Louis last Saturday, the Menace tries to keep rolling and ride the energy of the home crowd.
“We got some momentum with the first home win under our belts,” Calloway said. “We want to improve our performance against Kansas City. I’d like to get a shutout, because we have conceded a goal in the first half of each game.”
The Menace has fallen behind 1-0 in each outing. While opponents have outscored Des Moines, 4-1, in the first half, the Menace owns a 6-0 advantage in the final 45 minutes.
RECAPPING LAST WEEK: Des Moines had a pair of 2-1 victories last week, thanks to a pair of game-winning goals from Lebogang Moloto.
MENACE 2, KANSAS CITY 1
The Menace took care of business last Wednesday in a lightning-delayed affair. After the teams matched penalty kicks in the first half, Moloto scored the only goal in the second stanza to give Des Moines the victory.
Kalen Ryden was whistled for a foul in the box, setting up the Brass’ PK, converted by Chris Markey in the 23rd minute. Eight minutes later, Stephen Okai was taken down in the box, and Clark Bradford connected on the ensuing kick to even the score.
Lebogang Moloto scored in the 50th minute, slicing through two defenders and finishing inside the far post. A 30-minute lightning delay followed about five minutes later, but the Menace held on to secure the victory.
MENACE 2, ST. LOUIS 1
Des Moines dropped behind early again on Saturday, as Brian Harris scored in the 24th minute to give the Lions a 1-0 edge. The Menace answered in the second half, as Logan McDaniel’s strike in the 53rd minute hit the crossbar and broke the plane to knot things up.
Two minutes later, Okai delivered a ball on the right side of the field on a counter attack to set up Moloto. The South African dodged the charging goaltender and scored to lift the Menace, which survived some close calls late in the match to keep its Open Cup dreams alive.
SCOUTING KANSAS CITY: Des Moines’ win against the Brass last Wednesday extended the Menace’s lead in the all-time series to 19-10-1.
Kansas City is 1-3-0 on the season, winning its only game against Springfield (Mo.). The Brass struggled in its last outing, dropping a 4-1 decision to Real Colorado on Sunday.
Coleton Henning has two goals this season to lead the team with four points.
Des Moines went 2-0-1 against the Brass last season, and has not lost to Kansas City since 2007. The Menace has won eight of its last nine home matches against the Brass, including wins in the teams’ last five meetings in Des Moines. The team is 11-4-0 all-time versus Kansas City at home.
The Brass is coached by Jefferson Roblee, who is in his eighth season with the team. Roblee has a career record of 53-70-15.
UPCOMING PROMOTIONS: The Menace will give away koozies to the first 500 fans on Saturday, presented by the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel.
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace, Iowa’s Premier Soccer Team since 1994, competes in the 68-team Premier Development League (PDL), the highest amateur level of the United Soccer Leagues (USL). The 2009 PDL Organization of the Year plays its home matches in a fun, family-friendly environment at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines.
FOLLOW THE MENACE: