WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Friday, May 18, 2012 – Looking to get back in the race for the Premier Development League’s Heartland Division, the Des Moines Menace (1-2-1, four points) needs a home win Saturday over the Kansas City Brass.
Valley Stadium is the site for the 7:30 p.m. start, which follows the first-ever match for the Menace women, who face FC Indiana at 4:30.
The Menace sits in second place in the division’s early standings, between the first-place Real Colorado Foxes (1-0-3, six points) and the Springfield (Mo.) Demize (1-0-0, three points). The Demize and the Foxes, who have each handed the Menace a 1-0 loss, face off in Missouri the next two nights.
“If the results go for us we (can) capture first place,” said Menace head coach Laurie Calloway.
Also on the docket for the Menace is a Tuesday-night match in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Des Moines hosts the defending North American Soccer League champion Minnesota Stars FC.
“I got to get the guys focusing on the next 48 hours. Not next Tuesday,” said Calloway.
The Brass is the fifth team this season to open with the Menace. With five games under its belt the Menace would seem to have the upper-hand going into the match. Calloway, however, doesn’t see much of an advantage.
“The thing is (the Brass) haven’t been not playing,” said Calloway. “They’ve been scrimmaging, playing exhibitions. We can’t downplay that.”
Though a longer preseason will help the Brass, the early-season losses that humbled the Menace could be beginning to pay off.
The Menace has started finding some rhythm. Back-to-back wins in the last week over the St. Louis Lions (4-1) and the Milwaukee Bavarians (3-1 overtime in the first round of the Open Cup) show the finishing touch the team lacked earlier this season is starting to come together.
“We’ve improved offensively,” said Calloway. “But we’re still nowhere near where I want to be.”
RECAPPING TUESDAY: The Menace is headed to the Open Cup’s second round for the first time since 2006, after overcoming a slow start and a series of delays at Bavarian Soccer Park in Glendale, Wis.
Lightning postponed the opening kickoff and the start of the second half; a sprinkler delay bumped back the start of overtime. Des Moines persevered, thanks to a pair of OT goals from Lebogang Moloto, winning 3-1 over the Milwaukee Bavarians in a match that ended two hours later than expected.
In the 70th minute, PDL Player of the Week Husref Jupic, coming off a hat-trick performance last Saturday, netted the equalizer. Blowing a slew of opportunities including a posted penalty kick coming from Logan McDaniel, the Menace needed 12 minutes of extra time before Moloto finished the go-ahead. Moloto scored an insurance goal in the last of two 15-minute periods of extra time.
“With the chances we had Tuesday, we could have won 10 games,” said Calloway. “We missed glaring opportunities and we’ll be working on that this morning, and tonight and Saturday morning.”
SCOUTING KANSAS CITY: The Brass finished fourth in the 2011 PDL Heartland Division standings posting a record for 4-8-4.
Lincoln Roblee, the Brass’s second-year head coach, has been an assistant in the program since 2002. He returns 16 players from last year’s team.
SATURDAY’S PROMOTIONS: The doubleheader opens with a 4:30 p.m. Women’s League Soccer match between the inaugural Menace women and FC Indiana. The Menace men keep their usual 7:30 time spot, hosting the Kansas City Brass. The games are presented by Jack Links.
Saturday’s game features a halftime Diamond Scavenger Hunt, presented by Charles Ganske and InFocus Partners, giving fans the chance to earn a $1,800 diamond pendant. The game is the season’s first Cleat Crew game. The Menace Cleat Crew is a club for children ages 4-12, who receive admission to three select matches (also June 30 and July 7) and a vuvuzela for only $10.
UP NEXT: The Menace hosts Minnesota Stars FC on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. This is the third Open Cup match Des Moines has hosted at Valley Stadium, following a pair of 1-0 losses in the 2010 and 2011 Cup.
If the Menace bests the Stars, it travels to Utah on Tuesday, May 29 to play the 2009 MLS champion, Real Salt Lake.
Des Moines’ next home action after Tuesday is June 9, when the team welcomes back the Brass on Youth Soccer Night. All youth-soccer players and coaches receive free admission to the June 9 game. The Menace hits the road to play St. Louis (May 26) and WSA Winnipeg (June 1-2).
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 five-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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