Jubril Lawal, right, scored the only goal the Menace needed.
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Saturday, July 9, 2011 – Just like that, the Des Moines Menace revived its playoff hopes and went from third place to first place in the division standings.
The Menace earned a satisfying 2-0 win over Thunder Bay at Valley Stadium tonight, 24 hours after a 1-0 Chill win put Des Moines’ postseason chances on thin ice.
Second-half goals from Jubril Lawal and John Sosa helped the Menace strike back, snapping a seven-match winless streak against the team’s arch-rivals.
Des Moines outshot the Chill 26-6 tonight and played with a one-man advantage for the final 83 minutes, after Gustavo Oliviera was ejected for striking Sosa across the face.
“We weren’t taking advantage in the first half,” said Menace head coach Laurie Calloway, who at halftime switched formations from a 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2, to create more scoring chances. “We were putting the pressure on, but we played slowly. Second half, they came out and got the necessary result.”
This was a must-win game for the Menace to stay mathematically eligible for one of the Heartland Division’s two spots in the Premier Development League playoffs.
For the moment, Des Moines (10-4-0, 30 points) sits atop the division standings, one point above Real Colorado (9-1-2) and two points above Thunder Bay (9-2-1). The Foxes and the Chill each have four more regular-season matches, compared to only two for the Menace. What makes this race more interesting is that Real Colorado plays two pivotal matches at Thunder Bay the last weekend of the season (July 22-23).
“Now we’ve got to hold our breath for two weeks,” joked Calloway. “Funny things happen. You never know. We’ve got two tough games left. It’s there for us.”
Lawal’s first goal of the season gave the Menace a new outlook, and brought the announced crowd of 3,543 to its feet in the 70th minute. The defender scored from a nearly impossible angle, after dribbling past a succession of Chill defenders.
Sosa converted on a penalty kick in the 82nd minute, improving to two-for-two in this category.
Coming into tonight, Thunder Bay had allowed only four goals – the lowest total among the more than 60 PDL teams. The defending league finalists had outscored the Menace 6-0 in three wins this season.
Jhojan Obando earned the shutout – the Menace’s fourth this season. He made just one save tonight, compared to nine for Thunder Bay goalie Steve Paterson.
MR. B MAN of the MATCH goes to: Jubril Lawal, who scored his first goal of the season. The Nigerian scored a goal for the 2010 Menace, as well. Lawal and team scoring leader Deshorn Brown are teammates at the University of Mobile.
UP NEXT: The Menace closes its home schedule the next couple Saturdays, starting with a July 16 exhibition against Menace Alumni on Blank Children’s Hospital Night, presented by the Principal Financial Group. The team is donating two dollars of each ticket sold to the Blank Children’s Hospital.
The team’s home finale is July 23 against Kansas City on Fan Appreciation Night presented by Frito-Lay. Des Moines closes its regular season the next day at St. Louis.
Match: Des Moines Menace vs. Thunder Bay Chill
Date: Saturday, July 9, 2011
Competition: Premier Development League regular-season match
Venue: Valley Stadium in West Des Moines, Iowa
Attendance: 3, 543
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CDT
Weather: 80s, Sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
MENACE 0 2 2
TB 0 0 0
MENACE: Jubril Lawal 70:00; John Sosa (Penalty Kick) 82:00
Stats Summary: MENACE / TB
Shots: 26 / 6
Saves: 1 / 9
Corner Kicks: 10 / 0
Fouls: 11 / 8
Offsides: 0 / 0
Misconduct Summary: MENACE Yellow Cards: Bryan Perez 45:00 TB Yellow Cards: Wilson Neto 74:00; Felipe Souza 81:00 Red Card: Gustavo Oliveira 7:00
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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