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Lions claw back, give Menace another tie to close season

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – July 24, 2010 – In a fitting end to the season, the Des Moines Menace allowed a late score, as the St. Louis Lions rallied for a 2-2 tie to stun 3,907 fans tonight at Valley Stadium.

Dan Meagher’s header in the 90th minute dealt the Menace its franchise-record seventh draw of the Premier Development League campaign.

Just before stoppage time, it looked like the Menace (6-3-7) might finish with a win and secure a share of third place in the Heartland Division’s final standings. However, after overcoming an early 1-0 deficit, Des Moines was unable to hold on for a season-ending win.

“That’s our season in a nutshell,” said Menace head coach Laurie Calloway. “The team creates more chances, but gives up silly goals and doesn’t score as many as it needs to.”

Calloway’s side gained the upper hand when Lebogang Moloto and Stephen Okai scored in the second half.

Moloto’s equalizer was set up by a pass from Kyle Cumings in the 78th minute. Okai put the Menace up 2-1 eight minutes later, when he found the back of the net off a rebound from a Clark Bradford shot.

“As a player, you have a job to do until the final whistle, whether you make the playoffs or not,” Moloto said. “We should have been up 2-0 in the first half. We created a lot of chances but had trouble finishing.”

Des Moines outshot the visitors 25-14 and gained a 7-1 edge in corner kicks.

This is the eighth stalemate in these rivals’ series history, and the fifth time in the last three seasons that these squads have battled to a 2-2 result. Each side has won three meetings in this closely matched series.

Tonight’s draw comes exactly a month after the Menace’s last tie – a 1-1 match at Rochester that was Des Moines’ sixth deadlock in seven June matches.

The 2010 season was marked by the franchise’s first trip to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in four years (and fifth overall). The Menace won four of its first five to start the PDL season, then stumbled into a rough month of June. The defending division champions were atop the standings for the first half of the season, but came away with only two wins in their final 11 outings.

With his fifth goal of the season, Moloto finishes in a three-way tie for the team’s lead in goals scored, with co-captains Bradford and Logan McDaniel. Bradford led the Menace with 13 points – one more than Moloto and McDaniel.

While the season ends for the Menace, it continues next weekend for the division’s top two clubs. After clinching its third division title in four years, Thunder Bay (12-2-2) hosts the Central Conference playoffs, welcoming second-place Rochester (10-3-3) and a pair of teams that tied for first place in the Great Lakes Division: Michigan and Forest City London. The team that survives advances to the PDL’s final four the following weekend.

Real Colorado – the team that Des Moines tied three times in an eight-day span to open the June slate – closes the season just ahead of Des Moines in third place in the Heartland Division, with a mark of 7-3-6. St. Louis finishes at 5-7-4, in fifth place for the seven-team division.

: St. Louis Lions at Des Moines Menace
Date: July 24, 2010
Competition: Premier Development League regular-season match
Venue: Valley Stadium in West Des Moines, Iowa
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Attendance: 3,907
Weather: 80s, clear

Scoring Summary:     1   2   F
MENACE                       0   2    2
StL                               1   1    2
MENACE – Lebogang Moloto (Kyle Cumings) 78:00; Stephen Okai 86:00
StL – Jarius Holmes (Brian Harris) 26:00; Dan Meagher 90:00

Stats Summary: MENACE / StL
Shots: 25 / 14
Saves: 8 / 11
Corner Kicks: 7 / 1
Fouls: 8 / 9
Offside: 1 / 1

Misconduct Summary: MENACE Yellow Cards: Lebogang Moloto 16:00; Jubril Lawal 19:00; Jack Pearson 72:00 StL Yellow Cards: Brian Harris 60:00; Stuart Wark 89:00

(6-3-7 regular season; 4-2-2 at home and 2-1-5 on the road)
Bold = home match played at 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
** = exhibition match
# = U.S. Open Cup qualifying match
$ = U.S. Open Cup first round
Saturday, May 8        vs. Drake University Bulldogs **    L, 0-1
Wednesday, May 12   at Springfield Demize#                      W, 3-1
Saturday, May 15      vs. Rochester Thunder #                 L, 0-1              
Saturday, May 19       at Kansas City Brass #                       W, 2-1            
Saturday, May 22      vs. St. Louis Lions #                         W, 2-1
Saturday, May 29      vs. Kansas City Brass                      W, 3-1
Friday, June 4             at Real Colorado Foxes                      T, 2-2
Saturday, June 5        at Real Colorado Foxes                      T, 0-0  
Saturday, June 12     vs. Real Colorado Foxes                  T, 1-1
Sunday, June 13         at St. Louis Lions                                 T, 1-1
Tuesday, June 15     vs. AC St. Louis $                              L, 0-1
Friday, June 18           at Thunder Bay Chill                           L, 2-7
Saturday, June 19      at Thunder Bay Chill                           T, 1-1
Thursday, June 24      at Rochester Thunder                         T, 1-1
Saturday, June 26     vs. Springfield Demize                     W, 3-0
Saturday, July 3        vs. Thunder Bay Chill                      L, 3-1
Saturday, July 10      vs. Minnesota Twinstars **             W, 7-2
Saturday, July 17      vs. Kansas City Brass                      W, 6-0
Saturday, July 24      vs. St. Louis Lions                            T, 2-2
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace, Iowa’s Premier Soccer Team, is the 2009 Organization of the Year for the 67-team Premier Development League (PDL), the highest amateur level of the United Soccer Leagues (USL). The Menace plays its home matches in a fun, family-friendly environment at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines.

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