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Menace rallies, takes over first

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – The Des Moines Menace rallied for its third straight win, topping the Kansas City Brass, 3-1, tonight at Valley Stadium to move into first place in the Premier Development League’s Heartland Division. Captain Clark Bradford scored the game-winner, and Stephen Okai and Luis Piffer notched their first goals of the season.

Des Moines is 4-1-0 to start the season, despite falling behind in the first half of each match. The Menace leapfrogs idle Real Colorado (3-1-2) in the divisional standings.

“We put ourselves in a hole once again,” said Menace head coach Laurie Calloway. “I always felt we’d get at them eventually. You just hope the guys respond right away from the beginning.”

Calloway’s crew found themselves behind right off the bat, when Ryan Hunter put the visitors up in the second minute.

The Menace had its chances, and finally broke through in the 23rd minute. Okai pounced on a loose ball and knocked the ball in off the far post.

Bradford’s team-leading third goal put the Menace up for good in the 49th minute. Sterling Copeland picked up his second assist – tops on the team.

“We had a few chances in the first half, and then I was glad to get a chance in the second,” said Bradford. “At halftime we got a bit fired up and came out and picked it up a bit.”

Piffer added an insurance goal in the 63rd minute. Jubril Lawal sent a cross into the box to set up Piffer’s header.

“It’s awesome,” said Piffer, who joins Grand View University after two seasons at Marshalltown Community College. “We feel this is like our home, and we want to win for our fans. We want to show the other team that they cannot beat us.”

The Menace will be rooting for the Brass tomorrow, when Kansas City (1-4-0) travels to play the Rochester (Minn.) Thunder. A win by the Thunder clinches the division’s berth in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup; the Menace advances to the cup if Rochester loses or ties tomorrow.

Des Moines has trailed 1-0 in the first half of each match. The Menace has been outscored 5-2 in the first 45 minutes, and dominated the second-half scoring, 8-0.

Calloway climbs to No. 2 on the franchise’s all-time wins list. His 30th career win with the Menace (30-8-5 including 2001-02) gives him one more than Blair Reid (29-37-0, 1994-97). Casey Mann is the all-time victory leader, with a 48-17-13 mark over the previous five seasons.

COMING UP: The Menace tries to keep its first-place status, taking on second-place Real Colorado three times in the next two weeks. The team hits the road for a pair in Littleton, on Friday and Saturday. Des Moines carries a 16-match road unbeaten streak into next weekend’s matches.

The defending division champions will be back at home on June 12, hosting Real Colorado. The 7:30 p.m. match is celebrated as the team’s World Cup kick-off and the annual Father’s Day Game, presented by Powerade and VitaminWater. Dads get in for $5 with a paid admission, and are encouraged to wear an ugly hat for the chance to win a grill at halftime.

Match: Menace vs. Kansas City Brass
Date: May 29, 2010
Competition: Premier Development League regular-season match
Venue: Valley Stadium, West Des Moines, Iowa
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Attendance: 3,392
Weather: 80s, beautiful

Scoring Summary:     1   2   F
MENACE                     1   2   3
KC                               1   0    1

MENACE – Stephen Okai 23:00; Clark Bradford (Sterling Copeland) 49:00; Luis Piffer (Jubril Lawal) 63:00
KC – Ryan Hunter (Chris Markey) 2:00

Stats Summary: MENACE / KC
Shots: 29 / 19
Shots on Goal: 13 / 11
Saves: 10 / 10
Corner Kicks:  10 / 3
Fouls: 11 / 5
Offside: 4 / 1

Misconduct Summary: KC Yellow Cards: Patrick White 32:00; Coady Andrews 58:00 MENACE Yellow Cards: Clark Bradford 45:00; Jubril Lawal 70:00; Stefan De Las 79:00; Sam Brooks 88:00

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