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Menace still in playoff chase

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Tuesday, July 19, 2011 – Three teams, two playoff spots, and one exciting race to the finish.

Coming down the home stretch of the Premier Development League season, the Des Moines Menace and two other Heartland Division contenders jockey for a pair of postseason berths.

To return to the PDL Playoffs, the Menace needs to close the season with a pair of wins, and get some help from the Real Colorado Foxes and the Thunder Bay Chill. These teams battle in Thunder Bay, Ontario, on Friday and Saturday, and you can bet Menace head coach Laurie Calloway and his team will be following these pivotal matches, which start at 6:30 p.m. CDT.

Update (Friday, July 22): Real Colorado and Thunder Bay tied, 1-1, on Friday. You can find the scores

Update (Saturday, July 23): Thunder Bay beat Real Colorado, 5-2, on Saturday. The Menace heads to the playoffs if the team wins tomorrow.
Update (Sunday, July 24): The Menace clinched a playoff spot, winning 1-0 at St. Louis! 

The Menace hosts the Kansas City Brass on Saturday, for a 7:30 p.m. match at Valley Stadium. The team heads to St. Peters, Mo., the next day for a 5 p.m. regular-season finale against the rival St. Louis Lions.

“We’ll just watch how the cookie crumbles,” said Calloway. “We have to focus on the job at hand. It would be nice to build some confidence with two healthy results.”

The top three spots look like this heading into the regular season’s final weekend:
  Points Wins Losses  Ties
1. Real Colorado 35 11 1 2
2. Thunder Bay 34 11 2 1
3. MENACE 30 10 4 0

Teams earn three points for a win, and one point for a tie.

There are four different scenarios that would give a playoff berth to the Menace, so long as Calloway’s crew takes care of business and gets the necessary two wins (six points total):

If Thunder Bay beats Real Colorado twice:
Team Points Wins Losses  Ties
1. Thunder Bay * 40 13 2 1
2. MENACE* 36 12 4 0
3. Real Colorado 35 11 4 1

If Real Colorado beats Thunder Bay twice:
Team Points Wins Losses  Ties
1. Real Colorado* 41 13 1 2
2. MENACE* 36 12 4 0
3. Thunder Bay  34 11 4 1

If Thunder Bay wins one and ties one:
Team Points Wins Losses  Ties
1. Thunder Bay * 38 12 2 2
2. MENACE* 36# 12 4 0
3. Real Colorado 36 11 2 3
# = Menace wins tie-breaker (wins)

If Real Colorado wins one and ties one:
Team Points Wins Losses  Ties
1. Real Colorado* 39 12 1 3
2. MENACE* 36 12 4 0
3. Thunder Bay 35 11 3 2

In other words, the Menace’s playoff hopes are kept alive only if the Foxes and the Chill do not split their two matches. Des Moines’ postseason hopes die if Real Colorado and Thunder Bay each win once, or if the teams battle to a pair of draws.

“Our players are ready to do their part,” said Calloway. “For now, we’re focused only on Kansas City. We’re not even talking about St. Louis until 10 o’clock Saturday night.”

Des Moines seeks its 11th playoff appearance in the franchise’s 18 seasons. Thunder Bay has made the playoffs each of the last four years. The Chill earned the PDL title in 2008 and lost in the title game a year ago. Real Colorado, in just its third season, hopes for a second playoff berth.

The Menace is 1-3-0 against the Chill this season, after avoiding a series sweep with a 2-0 win at Valley Stadium on July 9. Des Moines and Real Colorado did not face each other this season, one year after these teams tied three times in an eight-day period.

PLAYOFF FORMAT: The Heartland Division’s top two teams advance to the Central Conference semifinals on July 29 or 30, with the Heartland’s No. 2 team playing the Great Lakes Division champions, and the Heartland’s No. 1 team playing the winner of a July 26 play-in match between the Great Lakes’ second- and third-place teams. The winners from each of the four conference finals (to be determined by no later than July 31) play in the PDL semifinals on Aug. 5, setting up the championship match on Aug. 7.

SATURDAY’S PROMOTIONS: In the team’s final regular-season home action, the Menace hosts the Kansas City Brass on Saturday, July 23. Fans are encouraged to help the Menace paint Valley Stadium red on Fan Appreciation Night, presented by Frito-Lay. Any fan wearing red gets a $5 ticket for the 7:30 p.m. match.

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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