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Menace in the running

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa. – Friday, June 29, 2012 – In an attempt to keep playoff dreams alive, the Des Moines Menace hosts the Springfield Demize for a 7:30 p.m. Premier Development League match tomorrow at Valley Stadium.

With four games remaining, the Menace (5-5-2, 17 points) is two points behind a second-place tie between Real Colorado (5-3-4) and Springfield (5-4-4) in the Heartland Division standings. Thunder Bay (9-1-0) is in the driver’s seat, and the division’s second and final spot in the PDL playoffs is up for grabs.

“Well, we know we got to win and we got to score goals,” said Menace head coach Laurie Calloway. “Another loss virtually rules us out of the playoffs.”

Moving past the Demize would be a step in the right direction, but it is easier said than done. These teams split a pair of 1-0 decisions in Missouri, with Springfield winning on May 9 and the Menace reversing the score on June 14.

Looking to settle the split in front of a home crowd this weekend, Calloway shoots to improve Des Moines’ all-time series lead to 13-1 while gaining three crucial points in the hunt for the a playoff berth.

“We’ve outplayed them in both games,” said Calloway. “We need to continue to dominate, but finish and score goals.”

Calloway believes in only one acceptable way for his team to finish the season.

“Twelve points (four wins) and we need (Real) Colorado to slip up,” said Calloway. “Colorado drops a couple and we can get to second place.”

While Real Colorado closes with four matches with sixth-place Kansas City, the Menace’s road isn’t as favorable.

Home matches with front-runner Thunder Bay next weekend and a final match at St. Louis make for a tough regular-season finish. To add to the pressure, wins aren’t all the Menace need from the remaining matches.

“We need to rack up the goals to build up our goals-for against Colorado and Springfield,” said Calloway.

RECAPPING LAST WEEKEND: Entering last weekend with hopes of knocking off Thunder Bay, the Menace came out of the Canada trip with a pair of losses.

Down two goals early in the second half last Friday (June 22), the Menace sparked a comeback after Jordan Schmoker finished a counter-attack goal that came from the long ball sent from goalkeeper Jhojan Obando in the 66th minute. Unfortunately the charge was silenced when Jordian Farahani connected for the Chill’s third goal in the 87th minute, securing a 3-1 result.

Back for revenge on Saturday, the Menace’s defense held tight for 61 minutes until Juan Velez sunk the first goal for Thunder Bay. Goals from Fernando Alvarez and Jose Altimirano in the 73rd and 89th minutes sent the Menace home with a 3-0 loss.

Unable to obtain any points from the doubleheader weekend in Canada, the Menace fell to fourth place in the division rankings.

SCOUTING SPRINGFIELD: With four goals and three assists, Colin Helmrich leads the way for the second place Demize. Four points behind Helmrich is Jose Esparza. Esparza has connected on three goals and set up one other.

Head coach Armen Tonianse rejoined the team this year after leading the Demize to two sixth place finishes in 2007 and 2008. Tonianse looks to build on the success of this year’s squad in one last three-game push to a playoff berth.

Prior to this season the Demize held a record of 8-64-8. Currently owning five wins with three games remaining in the PDL regular season, Springfield still has the ability to tie its cumulative wins total from the franchise’s five previous seasons.

UP NEXT: The Menace hosts the Thunder Ball Chill for 7:30 p.m. matches on Friday and Saturday (July 6-7) at Valley Stadium. On Saturday, July 14, the Menace hosts Minnesota Stars FC at 7:30 p.m. before taking on the St. Louis Lions on the road to complete the PDL regular season the next day at 5 o’clock.

The Menace women play at home each of the next three Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. Fans have the opportunity to view both the men’s and women’s matches, getting two matches for the price of one.

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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