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Preview: Menace hosts doubleheader

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Thursday, June 30, 2011 – Keeping with tradition, the Des Moines Menace’s Independence Day weekend plans involve hosting a Canadian foe and providing a picnic and fireworks for fans.

The Menace (7-3-0) welcomes Premier Development League newcomer WSA Winnipeg for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader at Valley Stadium. Both games start at 7:30 p.m., and tomorrow’s festivities include a picnic before the game (5 o’clock until 6:30) and a fireworks extravaganza to cap off the night.

This is the first time in four years the Menace is hosting a team other than Thunder Bay on the July 4 weekend. The Chill visits Des Moines next week (July 8-9), giving the Menace back-to-back doubleheaders.

Des Moines is in second place in the Heartland Division standings, and a pair of wins this weekend would pull the Menace within a point of idle frontrunner Real Colorado (9-0-1, 28 points). Third-place Thunder Bay (5-1-0) is poised to gain ground, as the defending league finalists play six matches in eight days, concluding with the two in Des Moines. The top two teams from each of the PDL’s nine divisions advance to the playoffs.

WSA Winnipeg (2-7-1) is the only team to put a blemish on the otherwise-perfect records of Real Colorado and Thunder Bay. The Menace knows the expansion team is a tough opponent, after escaping Winnipeg with a pair of close wins on June 7-8. Des Moines won 2-0 and 4-3, thanks in large part to Bryan Perez and Matt LaGrassa scoring in each game.

“WSA is a really good organization,” Perez said. “They have some experienced players and some young players. It’s a good combination. Obviously, we’ll have to face that and be the better team.”

LaGrassa, who is preparing for his freshman season at Cal Poly, saw his first PDL action at Winnipeg Indoor Soccer Complex. He scored the first goal in each of the Menace’s wins over Winnipeg.

“They’re very well organized, hard-working and disciplined,” LaGrassa said of this weekend’s opponent. “We’re going to have to match their work rate if we want to play the we play, which is attractive, passing soccer. If everything goes right, there’s no reason we shouldn’t have six points at the end of the weekend.”

RECAPPING SATURDAY: The Menace notched a 5-0 win over another team from Manitoba’s capital – the Winnipeg Lions – in an exhibition match on June 25. Deshorn Brown’s hat trick led the charge. Otis Williams and Finn Jor also found the back of the net, and Jor picked up two assists.

SCOUTING WSA WINNIPEG:  With all eight of their home matches behind them, the Heartland Division’s newcomers are looking for their first road win. WSA Winnipeg had a rough go on its first roadtrip, falling 5-1 and 6-0 at Real Colorado last weekend, just two weeks after earning a 3-3 draw with the first-place Foxes.

Jonathan Hernandez leads the team with eight points, on two goals and four assists. Amos Ganyea and Kenny Sacramento, each carry seven points, as a result of three goals and one assist.

WSA Winnipeg originates from the World Soccer Academy of Manitoba, Canada, established in 2001. Head coach Eduardo Badescu, also the club’s president, leads the team.

THIS WEEKEND’S PROMOTIONS: Friday night’s festivities, presented by Ball Park Franks, start with a free pre-game picnic and conclude with post-game fireworks. Saturday’s game is presented by Evian Water.

All home matches start at 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
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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