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Bucks stop Menace in OT

John Sosa, with ball, scored both Menace goals in the season-ending loss.
PONTIAC, Mich. – Friday, July 29, 2011 – The Michigan Bucks overcame two deficits to oust the Des Moines Menace from the Premier Development League Playoffs.

With a 3-2, overtime win tonight inside Ultimate Soccer Arenas, Michigan advances to host Thunder Bay in tomorrow’s PDL Central Conference final, set for 7:30 p.m. EDT.

The underdog Menace went down fighting. With John Sosa delivering both of the team’s goals, Des Moines led 1-0 for nearly the entire second half, and took a 2-1 lead in the first of two extra periods. Michigan came back each time – countering with goals in the 90th minute and the final minute of the first extra period – and came out on top after these PDL powers battled for 120 minutes.

“It’s disappointing to give up goals like we did, and to end the season this way,” said Menace head coach Laurie Calloway. “It was a gutsy performance. The guys played really well. The stats don’t show it, but they played a very good defensive game. At the end of the day, though, we just couldn’t prevail.”

Sosa provided the visitors’ scoring in the 45th and 103rd minutes. Before being sent off late in the first overtime, the Menace’s captain notched the only goals the mighty Bucks have allowed in nine home matches. Michigan, the Great Lakes Division champion (13-2-2) outscored foes 24-0 here during the regular season.

Lebogang Moloto set up Sosa’s first-half header, five days after Sosa set up Moloto’s header in a 1-0 win at St. Louis that sent the Menace to the playoffs. Sosa’s second goal tonight came on a penalty kick set up when Charlie Bales was taken down in the box.

The Bucks got timely goals from Tommy Catalano and Latif Alashe. Catalano, who collected a team-high 10 goals in the regular season, equalized the match in the final minute of regulation, and he scored the game-winner in the 111th minute.

Correction: Scott Caldwell, not Catalano, scored the final goal.

Catalano made the most of a controversial corner kick. In the 105th minute, he set up Alashe, whose first goal of the season made it a 2-2 match heading into the second overtime period.

Des Moines’ coaches and players did not agree the Bucks should have received the corner kick, and Sosa was sent off when he received back-to-back yellow cards from disputing the call. Michigan’s Kafi Opare had been ejected just moments before the Menace lost Sosa.

The Menace’s season ends at 12-5-0. The team finished with the second-most regular-season wins in franchise history, tying the 2003-2005 clubs and trailing only the 2002 team that went 15-0-3.

Heading into the season’s final weeks, the Menace’s playoff picture was uncertain.

Des Moines finished on a high note to earn one of the Heartland Division’s two postseason berths.

“I’m proud of the guys,” Calloway said. “Their character’s shown throughout this last month. They kept fighting.”

This was the Menace’s 11th playoff appearance in the franchise’s 18 seasons. Michigan is the only PDL club with more trips to the playoffs. The Bucks have been to the postseason in 14 of their 16 seasons.

MR. B MAN of the MATCH goes to: Goalkeeper Jhojan Obando, who kept the Menace in the match with nine saves. Obando enters his senior season at Providence.

Match: Des Moines Menace vs. Michigan Bucks
Date: Friday, July 29, 2011
Competition: Premier Development League Central Conference semifinal
Venue: Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, Mich.
Attendance: 944
Kickoff: 8 p.m. EDT

Scoring Summary:     1   2   1OT   2OT  F
MENACE                      1    0    1        0       2
MICH                            0   1    1        1        3

MENACE: John Sosa (Lebogang Moloto) 45:00 ; Sosa PK 103:00
MICH: Tommy Catalano (Tom Mellor) 90:00; Latif Alashe (Catalano) 105:00; Scott Caldwell (Alashe) 111:00

Stats Summary: MENACE / MICH
Shots: 5 / 28
Saves: 9 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 8
Fouls: 15 / 14
Offside: 3 / 1

Misconduct Summary: MENACE Yellow Cards: Lebogang Moloto 23:00; Brandon Fricke 38:00; Anthony Colaizzi 61:00; Jace Peters 62:00; Andrew Duran 93:00; John Sosa 103:00; Sosa (2nd) 105:00 MENACE Red Card: Jubril Lawal 120:00 MICH Yellow Cards: Mitch Hildebrandt 44:00;Simon Omekanda 49:00; Colin Givens 80:00; Sebastian Harris 89:00; MICH Red Card: Kofi Opare 102:00

(12-4-0 regular season; 7-1-0 at home and 5-3-0 on the road)
** = exhibition match
# = U.S. Open Cup qualifying match
^ = U.S. Open Cup first round
% = PDL Central Conference semifinal
Saturday, May 14       vs. St. Louis Lions #                         W, 2-1
Tuesday, May 17         at Springfield Demize#                      W, 3-0
Saturday, May 21       vs. St. Louis Lions #                         W, 5-2
Wednesday, May 25   at Kansas City Brass #                       L, 1-2
Wednesday, June 1    at Kansas City Brass                          W, 5-2
Saturday, June 4       vs. Des Moines International**       W, 14-0
Tuesday, June 7         at WSA Winnipeg                               W, 2-0
Wednesday, June 8    at WSA Winnipeg                               W, 4-3
Friday, June 10           at Thunder Bay Chill                           L, 0-2
Saturday, June 11       at Thunder Bay Chill                           L, 0-3
Tuesday, June 14     vs. Chicago Fire PDL ^                    L, 0-1
Saturday, June 18     vs. Kansas City Brass                      W, 4-2
Saturday, June 25     vs. Winnipeg Lions**                        W, 5-0
Friday, July 1             vs. WSA Winnipeg                            W, 4-0                
Saturday, July 2         vs. WSA Winnipeg                            W, 3-1               
Friday, July 8             vs. Thunder Bay Chill                      L, 0-1               
Saturday, July 9         vs. Thunder Bay Chill                      W, 2-0               
Saturday, July 16       vs. Menace Alumni**                        W, 4-1               
Saturday, July 23       vs. Kansas City Brass                      W, 5-1
Sunday, July 24           at St. Louis Lions                                W, 1-0
Friday, July 29             at Michigan Bucks %                          L, 2-3 in OT
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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