WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – June 15, 2010 – AC St. Louis slipped past the shorthanded Des Moines Menace tonight at Valley Stadium, advancing to the second round of the 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 1-0 win. Mike Ambersley scored in the 70th minute – five minutes after Menace captain Clark Bradford was sent off with his second yellow card of the match.
“What can you say? When we got down to 10 men, it got tough,” said Des Moines head coach Laurie Calloway. “It’s disappointing, it’s frustrating, because our guys played with a lot of heart, a lot of spirit.”
AC St. Louis’ second-round foe is NSC Minnesota, which moves on after a 4-2 win tonight over the Kansas City Athletics (United States Adult Soccer Association). These teams from the United States Soccer Federation – Division 2 Professional League – face each other in Blaine, Minn., on June 22.
Despite being a man down for the final 25 minutes, the Menace outshot its opponent 12-4 in the second half, and 22-8 on the night.
The home team’s best chances came in the first half. Right out of the gate, Luis Piffer drilled a shot that hit the cross bar. In the 40th minute, he sent a cross that deflected to Jacob Schmoker, whose shot was saved by a diving Alec Dufty. The St. Louis goalie, who played Major League Soccer for the New York Red Bulls a year ago, made seven saves, compared to three for his counterpart, Jason Williams.
“We created many chances,” said Menace midfielder Lebogang Moloto. “They got one and converted. We were the better team today.”
Ambersley chased down a loose ball and found himself in a one-on-one with Williams. AC St. Louis’ only multi-goal scorer entering the night placed it out of Williams’ reach for the game’s only goal.
This was the Menace’s fifth Open Cup appearance, and its first since making the cup four years in a five-year stretch (2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006). After its second first-round exit, Des Moines is 7-5 in the Open Cup. Among the Premier Development League’s 60-plus teams, only the Michigan Bucks (nine wins in eight appearances) have a more wins or berths in the national tournament.
“It was a good experience to play a professional team,” Bradford said. “It just goes to show how thin the line is between the pros and amateurs.”
The Menace is back in action this weekend in a pivotal two-game set at Thunder Bay. The Chill (4-1-0, 12 points) has scored 16 goals in its first five matches, and is one of Des Moines’ biggest foes in the race for the PDL playoffs.
“Now we go for the (Heartland Division) championship,” Moloto said. “Hopefully we can go on the road and get a win to retain first place, but it will be tough.”
The teams are slated to play Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EDT. After tying its last four regular-season matches, the Menace (4-1-4, 16 points) sits in second-place, a point behind Rochester (Minn.). The Thunder (5-2-2, 17 points) is idle until hosting Des Moines on June 24.
UPCOMING HOME ACTION: Des Moines is back at home on June 26, hosting the Springfield Demize. The match caps off a triple-header that opens with the Iowa High School All-Star Games, at 3 p.m. (boys) and 5 p.m. (girls). All three matches are presented by Kum & Go.
Match: Menace vs. AC St. Louis
Date: June 15, 2010
Competition: First round of the 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
Venue: Valley Stadium, West Des Moines, Iowa
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 0 0 0
AC StL 0 1 1
AC StL – Mike Ambersley 70:00
Stats Summary: MENACE / AC StL
Shots: 22 / 8
Saves: 3 / 7
Corner Kicks: 9 / 4
Fouls: 13 / 12
Offside: 2 / 5
Misconduct Summary: AC StL Yellow Cards: Mike Ambersley 52:00; Christian Nzinga 82:00; MENACE Yellow Cards: Clark Bradford 46:00 and 59:00; Jack Pearson 72:00