WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – July 23, 2010 – The Des Moines Menace faces the St. Louis Lions on Fan Appreciation Night at 7:30 tomorrow at Valley Stadium.
Saturday's meeting marks the final Premier Development League match of the season for these Heartland Division rivals, who are on the outside looking in on the playoff picture.
Each team came into the season with high expectations. The Menace (6-3-6) hoped to repeat as division champions, and the Lions (5-7-3) were looking for their first playoff appearance since 2007.
Now both teams look to get a head start on next season and end 2010 on a positive note. Menace head coach Laurie Calloway will continue to look at young players who may help contribute to next year’s squad. If he sees anything like last week’s performance, a 6-0 win over Kansas City, he will be buzzing with excitement for 2011.
The Menace can still finish in the top three of the Heartland Division. Des Moines trails Real Colorado (7-3-6) by three points and by one goal in the goal differential tiebreaker. The Menace takes sole possession of third place with a win by two or more goals.
“It’s very important to end the season on a high note,” Menace goalkeeper Jake Wright said. “We want to beat St. Louis and get third place.”
This will be the third meeting between the teams this season. The Menace scored twice in the second half to win 2-1 at Valley Stadium on “Black-Out Night” on May 22. The Lions rallied for a 1-1 tie at Tony Glavin Soccer Complex in St. Peters, Mo., on June 13.
After last Saturday’s game, Menace captain Clark Bradford leads the pack with 13 points, trailed by Logan McDaniel’s 12 and Lebo Moloto’s 10. Bradford and McDaniel are tied for the team lead in goals with five each, while Moloto has four.
McDaniel said he will approach the game the same as any other.
“Personally, I look to score in every game,” he said. “Most importantly, we want to finish the season with a win.”
RECAPPING SATURDAY: The Menace jumped out to a 4-0 half-time lead and rolled to a 6-0 victory over the Kansas City Brass last Saturday.
Newcomer Stephen Baker scored twice and Lebo Moloto added a goal and two assists to lead the charge.
Husref Jupic, Baker, Logan McDaniel and Sam Morris notched goals in the opening 45 minutes. Baker and Moloto found the back of the net after the break, and the Brass had no chance to catch Des Moines.
The victory was the most lopsided since the Menace defeated Springfield 7-0 in May 2008. It was the second straight week the team scored four times in the first half, following a 7-2 exhibition win against the Minnesota Twinstars on July 10.
Baker became just the second Menace player to score twice in a game this season. He joins Kenan Malicevic, who notched a pair in a 3-0 win over Springfield on June 26.
With the win, the Menace completed a three-game sweep this season over Kansas City. Des Moines is unbeaten in its last 10 matches against the Brass.
MORRIS NAMED TO PDL TEAM OF THE WEEK: Menace defender Sam Morris was named to the PDL Team of the Week for his efforts in Saturday’s win. Morris’ goal in the 28th minute pushed the Des Moines lead to 4-0 over Kansas City and his defensive efforts helped the team secure the shutout.
Morris is the second Menace player to receive the honor this season. Lebo Moloto was named to the team of the week on May 26.
SCOUTING ST. LOUIS: The Lions hovered around the playoff race until about mid-June, but could not come up with enough key wins to stay in the race. With 18 points, the team has clinched fifth place in the Heartland Division.
The Menace is 1-0-1 against St. Louis this season. After conceding a first-half goal on May 22, Des Moines scored twice in the second half to escape with a 2-1 victory. On June 13, Stuart Wark became the first player to score against the Menace in the second half this season, as his 82nd minute goal gave the teams a 1-1 draw.
Since that game, the Lions have struggled. They are 1-5-1 in their last seven, with a tie against Springfield and a win over Kansas City.
These two teams have struck up quite a rivalry in recent seasons, tying seven of their 13 meetings. St. Louis earned the division’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup bid each of the last two years before the Menace broke the streak this season. Des Moines is 3-3-7 all-time against the Lions, who have been a member of the PDL since 2006.
Tony Glavin is in his fifth season as head coach. He holds a 35-27-19 career record.
UPCOMING PROMOTIONS: Saturday is Fan Appreciation Night, presented by Frito Lay. Help us “Paint the Stadium Red” and get $5 admission for wearing a red shirt!
Saturday is also the third and final Cleat Crew game. Members of the kids’ club receive a ticket, T-shirt, hot dog and drink at the game for just $5. The club is still open to new members! Sign up at the gate on game day.