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Menace tries to keep pace

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Friday, June 8, 2012 – Heading into the second half of the Premier Development League season, the Des Moines Menace is all business.

After a couple weekends on the road, the Menace hosts the Kansas City Brass tomorrow night at Valley Stadium. The Heartland Division clash – a rematch of a Menace home win on May 19 – starts at 7:30 on Youth Soccer Night.

With 24 points up for grabs in eight remaining matches, Des Moines (3-3-2, 11 points) needs to keep winning, to stay on pace with Springfield (4-2-1, 13 points). The division frontrunner hosts WSA Winnipeg tonight, looking to sweep a doubleheader the home team opened with a 2-1 win last night.

Second-place Real Colorado (3-2-3, 12 points) is idle this weekend, while Thunder Bay (3-1-0) hosts St. Louis (2-2-2) for a Friday-Saturday set. Just two matches into its season, last-place Kansas City is searching for its first points.

“We’ve got to get three points,” said Menace assistant coach Neathan Gibson. “It’s crucial. We’ve got to win. Three points and then to get a shutout – that’s better.”

While the Menace has registered the most goals in the division (15), the team has yielded 11 goals and has yet to hold an opponent scoreless.

Sifting through goalkeepers, the Menace has not determined a true starter. Consistency is something that Gibson feels is important to a strong team, but not something the coaching staff has seen to this point.

”Every day we demand our players to work harder,” said Gibson. “Yeah, we want some consistency. We focus on professionalism – professionalism every day. You got to go out there and get the job done.”

Saturday marks the Menace’s first PDL home action in three weeks, with the last contest resulting in a 3-2 victory over the Brass. Luis Piffer’s second goal of the match silenced the Brass after the visitors erased a two-goal deficit with two late scores.

The Menace is ready to play in front of its home fans, after trips to St. Louis and Winnipeg.

“It’s definitely an advantage,” said Gibson. “Playing on the road, the environment isn’t the same. The moment you are out of your environment it’s different – different preparation. We need to take advantage of that.”

RECAPPING LAST WEEKEND: The Menace ventured to Canada with aspirations of gathering six points in two matches with WSA Winnipeg.

A 4-1 win sparked by Logan McDaniel’s two early assists (fifth and eighth minutes) propelled the Menace on June 1. Brent Kallman and Jack Pearson put the Menace up 2-0, and Jordan Schmoker sealed the win with a couple late goals.

Points weren’t as easy to find the following night, and Des Moines fell behind 2-0. Risto Laetti and Jeff Kyei scored in the 73rd and 75th minutes, salvaging a 2-2 draw.

SCOUTING KANSAS CITY: The Brass opens a stretch of eight matches in June.

Nick McDonald scored two goals in a seven-minute span to pull Kansas City even in the May 19 match at Valley Stadium. Jordan Green scored for the Brass in a 4-1 loss to Springfield on May 25.

The Menace leads the all-time series, 25-11-1, with a 16-4-0 advantage at home.

SATURDAY’S PROMOTIONS: It’s Youth Soccer Night, and all youth-soccer players (wearing their team jerseys) and coaches (wearing team shirts or presenting coaches’ passes) receive free admission. The game is presented by the YMCA.

UP NEXT: The Menace gets a second shot at Springfield (Mo.) on Thursday (June 14) at Cooper Complex. The game is set for a 7 p.m. start.

Des Moines hosts Colorado Select on June 16 on Blackout Night, presented by Chase Suite Hotel. Fans wearing black receive $5 tickets.

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). In its inaugural season, the Menace’s women’s team is 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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