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Fire's 1-0 win forces early Open Cup exit for Menace

Jubril Lawal played all 90 minutes in the Menace's 1-0 Open Cup loss.
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Tuesday, June 14, 2011 – The lighting held off, but the Des Moines Menace was unable to get past the Chicago Fire’s Premier Development League team in tonight’s Lamar Hunt U. S. Open Cup first-round match.

Chris Estridge scored in the 87th minute, helping Chicago march on to the next round with a 1-0 win tonight at Valley Stadium. The Fire meets the Madison 56ers (National Premier Soccer League) on June 21, competing for the chance to face a Major League Soccer team in the tournament’s third round. Madison advances with a 4-0 home victory over the AAC Eagles tonight.

This is the second straight year that a 1-0 loss forces the Menace to make an early exit from the Cup. Pro side AC St. Louis edged Des Moines in the first round last year.

“It’s disappointing, it’s frustrating,” said Menace head coach Laurie Calloway. “A lackluster performance. No energy.”
It looked like another Menace-Fire match might be headed to two 15-minute overtimes and maybe even a shootout.

This is how the teams’ last two meetings – both in the first round of the PDL playoffs – ended. Des Moines won a shootout in 2005, on the way to the league title; Chicago got payback the next year.

Estridge, the team’s leading scorer, broke tonight’s scoreless match when he finished off a solo attack by drilling a low shot past Menace goalkeeper Phil Boerger.

The Menace had chances, including a couple open-net opportunities. Unfortunately, the home team wasn’t able to capitalize, and Des Moines continues to search for its first Open Cup win since 2006.

“The same thing as last year,” said returner Lebogang Moloto. “We were the better team, but we didn’t score. We just gotta put this behind us and focus on the good.”

Des Moines (6-3-0 regular season) can now focus on returning to the top of the PDL’s Heartland Division, with seven league games – including the next six at home – still on tap.

“There’s always positives,” said Calloway. “We don’t have to bother with anything but competing in the league now. We want to finish strong and push to the playoffs.”

The Menace’s overall record in the Open Cup drops to 7-6, with a 5-3 mark at home. The team has made six appearances in the last decade, all on back-to-back qualifications (also 2002-2003 and 2005-2006).

The organization’s sixth trip to the Cup came thanks to the Iowa Menace’s 7-1 win over Kansas on April 30, securing one of eight spots for teams from the United States Adult Soccer Association.

Chicago has gotten past the first round in each of its four Open Cup appearances (2004, 2005 and 2009) and has a 5-3 overall Cup record.

“They’re a great organization,” Calloway said of the Fire. “We saw a lot of great players who are going to play at the next level.”

Calloway’s crew returns to Valley Stadium Saturday at 7:30 p.m. to host Kansas City, trying to break a string of three straight scoreless outings.

MR. B MAN of the MATCH goes to: Goalkeeper
Phil Boerger, who kept the Menace in the match with six saves.

UP NEXT: The team resumes its regular-season schedule on Saturday (June 18) against Kansas City, starting a string of six straight weekends at home. All of the team’s home matches start at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday is the Menace’s annual Father’s Day Celebration, presented by Sheraton West Des Moines. The first 300 fans receive a free koozie from the official hotel of the Menace, and one lucky dad will win a grill, sponsored by the Chicken Coop Bar and Grill.

Match: Des Moines Menace vs. Chicago Fire PDL
Date: Saturday, June 14, 2011
Competition: Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup – First Round
Venue: Valley Stadium in West Des Moines, Iowa
Attendance: 1,559
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Weather: 70’s and rain

Scoring Summary:     1   2   F
MENACE                      0    0    0
CHI                               0   1    1
CHI – Chris Estridge 87:00

Stats Summary: MENACE / CHI
Shots: 8 / 8
Saves: 1 / 6
Corner Kicks: 3 / 3
Fouls: 8 / 6
Offside: 5 / 4

Misconduct Summary: Menace Yellow Cards: Brady Blankenship 24:00; John Sosa 44:00, Kenan Malicevic 90:00 CHI Yellow Cards: Jonny Raj 3:00; Jacob Bushue 58:00
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace competes in the 64-team United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL), the highest amateur level of soccer in North America. The Menace plays its home matches in a fun, family-friendly environment at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines. The organization promotes a healthy lifestyle through its popular youth programs, including the Menace Academy (select soccer for ages 9-19), camps, clinics and tournaments.

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