WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – The Des Moines Menace begins a stretch of five straight home games to close the regular season on Saturday when it battles Springfield (Mo.) at 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium.
The Premier Development League match caps off a triple-header that includes the 2010 Iowa High School All-Star Games. The men’s game is set to start at 3 p.m. and the women’s game is at 5 p.m.
The Menace (4-2-6) has tied six of its last seven PDL matches, including a 1-1 draw Thursday at Rochester (Minn.). The Menace has set a franchise record for ties in a season, with each draw occurring in the month of June.
Des Moines has a golden opportunity Saturday to pick up its first win since May 29. Springfield (1-8-2) is in last place in the Heartland Division with only five points, and the Menace has never lost to the Demize since the team’s inauguration in 2007. These teams met on May 15 in Springfield, Mo., with the Menace coming away with a 3-1 victory.
“We’re going to take it game by game,” Menace head coach Laurie Calloway said. “Not picking up three points (for a win) recently has hurt us.”
After Thursday’s result, the Menace and Thunder (5-2-3) remain tied for second place with 18 points. Real Colorado (5-2-5) took sole possession of first place with 20 points after sweeping a two-game set with St. Louis last weekend. Thunder Bay (5-1-1) has surged into third with 16 points, followed by St. Louis (4-4-2) with 14 points.
Saturday marks the final game of a busy month for Des Moines, but the team will play a home game every Saturday through July 24 to close the regular season.
“The playoff race is very tight; we can make it exciting with five wins,” Calloway said of the final leg of the schedule. “Without five wins, I don’t think we have much of a chance, to be honest.”
The top two teams from the Heartland Division advance to the PDL playoffs.
RECAPPING THURSDAY: The Menace were minutes away from first place, but a Thunder goal in the 88th minute handed Des Moines yet another draw, 1-1.
Lebo Moloto put the visitors on top in the 74th minute, when he received a pass from Jubril Lawal, beat two defenders and slipped a shot past diving goalkeeper Sebastian Narvaez.
Ryan Sappington set up Chris Andre for the equalizer in the Menace’s final road game of the season. A win would have put Des Moines in a tie for first place with Real Colorado, but instead it remains tied with Rochester for second.
The Menace outshot the Thunder 13-4 in the first half and 18-10 for the game. Despite having an advantage in shots in nearly every game, the team has scored more than one goal just twice this month.
SCOUTING SPRINGFIELD: Des Moines holds a 9-0-0 overall record against Springfield, and has outscored the Demize 34-3.
After finishing 2009 at 2-13-1, Springfield is on a similar pace under first-year coach Logan Hoffman.
The Demize is no team to take lightly, however, as it has gained confidence with a four-point outing against Kansas City last weekend. Springfield defeated the Brass last Saturday, 3-2, for its first win of the season.
The Menace defeated the Demize 3-1 in the regular-season opener on May 12 in the teams’ only meeting this year.
Ben Taylor leads Springfield in scoring with four points in two games played. Taylor led the Menace with 13 points in 2009.
UPCOMING PROMOTIONS: The Menace will host the Iowa High School All-Star games on Saturday before it takes on Springfield. The men’s game will start at 3 p.m., and the women’s game will start at 5 p.m.
June 26 also marks the second Cleat Crew game. The Cleat Crew is still open to all children 13 and under. For just $5, members get a T-shirt, ticket to this game and the July 24 game against St. Louis, and a hot dog and drink at each game.
Saturday’s triple-header is presented by Kum and Go.