WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Thursday, May 3, 2012 – Opening Weekend brings a Friday-Saturday matchup between the Premier Development League Heartland Division’s representatives in the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The Des Moines Menace hosts the Real Colorado Foxes for a pair of 7:30 p.m. starts at Valley Stadium, one year after the Menace edged the Foxes for the division’s final spot in the PDL playoffs.
The United States Soccer Federation on Tuesday announced the first-round matches and second-round pairings of the U.S. Open Cup. In its 99th year, the national tournament features 64 teams from American soccer’s highest levels, including the top two American teams from each of the PDL’s nine divisions, based on the final 2011 standings.
Appearing in the Open Cup for the seventh – and third-straight – year, the Menace drew a May 15 road match against the Milwaukee Bavarians a National Premier Soccer League team making its first appearance in the cup. A win gives the Menace the chance to host Minnesota Stars FC, the defending North American Soccer League champ, on May 22.
“They’re (Milwaukee) traditionally one of the top amateur teams in the region, if not the country,” said Calloway. “Tough draw, but we will travel in the correct way.”
The last meetings between the Menace and the Foxes came in June 2010, when the teams tied three times in a span of eight days.
“The irony of that is we had seven ties that year, couldn’t put the ball in the net,” said Calloway. “We do know they are competitive, certainly like they were last year, contending for a playoff spot with (the Menace) and Thunder Bay.”
Though the Menace and Real Colorado did not go head to head last year, the teams’ rivalry grew as the 2011 regular season came to a close. On the final day of the season, the Menace’s 1-0 win at St. Louis secured the division’s second playoff spot and left the Foxes on the outside looking in.
With a 12-4-0 record, the Menace finished just behind first-place Thunder Bay (13-0-3), and tied with the Foxes at 36 points. A tie break of most wins gave the Menace the upper-hand against the 11-2-3 Foxes.
While the Foxes come into the weekend with payback on their minds, the Menace approaches Opening Weekend no different than they would any other matchup.
“I’m sure they were disappointed about the tie-breaker, it was rather technical,” said Calloway. “But the Menace has a target on its back anyway. It’s about reputation, everyone in the division particular wants to knock (the Menace) off. Colorado’s no different.”
SCOUTING THE MENACE: “Unbeaten,” is the standard that Calloway has set for his 2012 Menace team.
“We always set goals to be unbeaten,” said Calloway. “If we play 16 games I’d like to think we could score 35-40 goals, concede less than 15. (If) you do that, you’re in the playoffs.”
Utilizing strong returners such as Lebo Moloto and Jubril Lawal and infusing first-year players like Mike Unwin, the team’s first Player Spotlight of 2012, is the key to Menace success this summer.
“Moloto is one of the best players in league, but he needs to step up,” said Calloway. “(He’s an) incredible player to watch, but he needs to produce for me as well.”
“Mike Unwin is a surprise addition,” said Calloway. “He dropped in our laps really, he called us.”
Unwin and Moloto may prove to be players to watch this season, but keeping an eye on Calloway could be equally rewarding.
Calloway is in need of just five wins to become the Menace’s all-time wins leader. Casey Mann, who attained a 48-17-13 mark from 2005-09, is the franchise’s current leader. Calloway holds a 224-155-45 career win-loss record, The native of Birmingham, England has a 44-14-12 record through four years (2001-02 and 2010-present) as the Menace’s skipper.
SCOUTING REAL COLORADO: Second-year head coach Leigh Davies brings back several top performers from last year’s 11-2-3 team.
The Foxes returners include Julian Donaldson, who led the 2011 Foxes with 18 points on eight goals and two assists, and Sterling Copeland, a member of the 2009-10 Menace who last season scored four goals and assisted five more.
Goalkeeper Miguel Rosales is back, after posting a 0.95 Goals Against Average and 7-0-2 mark last season.
PROMOTIONS: The first 300 fans through the gates on Friday will receive magnet schedules sponsored by Frito Lay. Friday’s game is presented by Gatorade; Taylor Industries is the game-title sponsor for Saturday.
UP NEXT: The Menace travels to Missouri for a Wednesday (May 9) match against the Springfield Demize, set for a 7 p.m. start at Cooper Complex. The team returns to Valley Stadium on Saturday, May 12, hosting the St. Louis Lions. All 2012 home matches start at 7:30 p.m.
Des Moines Menace 2012 PDL Schedule
Friday, May 4 Real Colorado Foxes 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Saturday, May 5 Real Colorado Foxes 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Wednesday, May 9 at Springfield Demize 7 p.m. at Cooper Complex
Saturday, May 12 St. Louis Lions 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Tuesday, May 15 Milwaukee Bavarians ^ 7 p.m. at Bavarian Soccer Park
Friday, May 19 Kansas City Brass 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Saturday, May 26 at St. Louis Lions 5 p.m. at Tony Glavin Complex
Friday, June 1 at WSA Winnipeg 7 p.m. at Winnipeg Soccer Complex
Saturday, June 2 at WSA Winnipeg 7 p.m. at Winnipeg Soccer Complex
Saturday, June 9 Kansas City Brass 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Thursday, June 14 at Springfield Demize 7 p.m. at Cooper Complex
Saturday, June 16 Colorado Select # 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Friday, June 22 at Thunder Bay Chill 6:30 p.m. at Chapples Park
Saturday, June 23 at Thunder Bay Chill 6:30 p.m. at Chapples Park
Saturday, June 30 Springfield Demize 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Friday, July 6 Thunder Bay Chill 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Saturday, July 7 Thunder Bay Chill 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Saturday, July 14 Minnesota Stars FC # 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium
Sunday, July 15 at St. Louis Lions 5 p.m. at Tony Glavin Complex
^ = first round of Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
# = exhibition
All times are Central
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. The Menace men’s side competes in the 73-team United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL). The Menace’s women’s team prepares for its inaugural season, as part of the six-team Women’s League Soccer. The Menace teams play their 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, Junior Menace and tournaments.
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