WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Monday, June 13, 2011 – With another home date on the line, the Des Moines Menace hosts the first round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tomorrow, squaring off against the Chicago Fire’s Premier Development League team at 7:30 p.m.
The Menace makes its third back-to-back appearance in the Cup (2002-2003 and 2005-2006), knowing a win tomorrow would result in a second-round match at Valley Stadium on June 21. A pair of wins means a third-round matchup with a Major League Soccer team.
“Being in the Open Cup is a tremendous accolade for the club,” said head coach Laurie Calloway, whose team is 6-3-0 in the Premier Development League’s Heartland Division. “It’s such a good opportunity for the guys to potentially play against professionals.”
The Open Cup is a 98-year-old national tournament with 40 qualifying teams across five leagues, including Major League Soccer. The 32 non-MLS teams compete in head-to-head matches until the field whittles down to eight, when they are joined by the MLS teams to form a 16-team bracket. Head-to-head play continues until one team is left standing.
“In any other sport you can’t play against a professional team in national competition. These national cups exist all across the world in soccer and it’s great to have one here,” commented Calloway. A win would be in great interest of the fans and club.”
The winner of the match advances to face the Madison 56ers (National Premier Soccer League) or the Chicago-based AAC Eagles (USASA). These two teams face off tomorrow night in Madison, Wis. at 7 p.m.
Calloway and the Menace aren’t ready to look past Chicago (4-1-1), a perennial power from the PDL’s Great Lakes Division. The Fire makes its fourth appearance to the Open Cup (2004, 2005 and 2009), and the team is looking to make it back to the PDL playoffs, something the franchise achieved each of its first nine seasons (2001-2009).
Des Moines returns to Valley Stadium on Saturday to take on the Kansas City Brass, at 7:30 p.m.
FANS’ GUIDE TO THE OPEN CUP: Click here to learn more about the first-round game, including ticket information, team capsules, links and the Menace’s history in the Cup.
RECAPPING LAST WEEK: The Menace completed a week-long tour of Canada, playing four games in five days, against WSA Winnipeg (wins on June 7-8) and Thunder Bay (losses on June 10-11).
Matt LaGrassa and Bryan Perez scored in both WSA Winnipeg matches to contribute to Des Moines’s sweep (2-0 and 4-3). John Sosa and Finn Jor each picked up a goal in the second WSA Winnipeg match.
The Menace was shut out in both matches against the Chill – 2-0 and 3-0.
SCOUTING CHICAGO: Chris Estridge leads the Fire in points with eight as a result of four goals. Josey Portillo ranks second with five points from two goals and one assist. Harrison Shipp, Caleb Suri and Paulo Vaz all hold one goal and one assist each.
The teams’ all-time series is tied 3-3-2, with the last two matchups coming in the first round of the PDL playoffs. The Menace last hosted the Fire in 2009 at Valley Stadium, though the teams did not go head to head. Chicago advanced to the league final, defeating Ocean City and Cary – the team that defeated the Menace in the Elite Eight on the previous night.
Chicago is coached by Mark Spooner.
SATURDAY’S PROMOTIONS: Join us for our Father’s Day celebration during Saturday’s match presented by Sheraton West Des Moines. The first 300 fans receive a free koozie, sponsored by the Menace’s official hotel. One lucky dad will win a grill, sponsored by the Chicken Coop Bar and Grill.
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.