WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Thursday, July 5, 2012 – Hosting two matches against Premier Development League frontrunner Thunder Bay, the Des Moines Menace tries to find a way to claim the last of the Heartland Division’s two postseason spots.
The arch-rivals battle in a Friday-Saturday doubleheader at Valley Stadium, with the matches starting at 7:30 p.m.
Trailing Real Colorado (7-3-4) by five points, the Menace (6-5-2, 20 points) needs two wins against the Chill (11-1-0) to keep pace in the race for second.
The ball is in Real Colorado’s court as the Foxes finish their season Friday and Saturday at 4-6-1 Kansas City. With a head-to-head tiebreak in favor of the Foxes, the Menace needs a Brass win to stay in the playoff picture. One loss for the Foxes could open a door for the Menace, whose focus is on earning wins.
“We’ve got to hope Kansas City will turn the tables on Colorado,” said Menace head coach Laurie Calloway. “Thunder Bay’s going to be extremely tough, but we’ve got to beat them.”
Only able to control the outcome of its own matches, the Menace is prepared to avenge its 3-1 and 3-0 losses at Thunder Bay on June 22 and 23.
In the first game, a driven ball from Menace goalkeeper Jhojan Obando found the feet of Jordan Schmoker, whose 66th-minute goal sparked a Menace attempt at erasing a two-goal deficit. The Menace’s run was silenced in the 87th minute, when Jordan Farahani tallied the match’s final goal.
“In the second game we played with ten players,” Calloway said referring to the ejection of Jack Pearson in the 57th minute, after the team’s captain received his second yellow card of the contest. “After the penalty I thought we looked to have a chance to win the game.”
Three goals for the Chill following Pearson’s ejection sent the Menace home empty-handed from the two day trip to Canada.
Fueled by revenge and motivated by playoff contention, Calloway thinks his team will be able to knock off the Premier Development League’s points leader (one point ahead of Michigan and Ventura County).
“Obviously they’re a tough team. We expect them to be tough,” said Calloway. “The fact that we’ve got the home advantage we’ll be able to turn the tables.”
Schmoker’s June 22 goal is the only score the Chill has conceded at home, where the defending Central Conference champions have posted an 18-1 goal differential. With the Chill having allowed four goals to road opponents, Calloway sees an opportunity.
“On the road you could arguably say they’re vulnerable,” said Calloway. “It will be decided this weekend. Based on the outcomes of our games and Colorado’s games, we’ll know if we need a win in that last game.”
Des Moines’ last regular-season action comes July 15 at St. Louis, where the Chill won 1-0 and 3-2 last weekend.
RECAPPING LAST SATURDAY: Finding the net 12 minutes into his debut at forward, Charlie Bales gave the Menace an early lead against Springfield – but he wasn’t done.
In the 34th minute of a 4-1 win, Bales handled a ball that Phil Da Silva pinged off the cross bar, and he laid it off for Logan McDaniel’s third goal of the season.
Jonathan Martinez found the end of Jonny Macadam’s looping cross and headed it in for a Menace goal in the 80th minute. Five minutes later, Martinez was unable to clear a cross from Springfield’s Eric Martin, gifting the Demize its only goal of the match.
In stoppage time, Kasy Kiarash became the third player of the match to score his first Menace goal. After collecting his own rebound, newcomer Dakota Collins coolly played a cross for Kiarash to power home.
SCOUTING THUNDER BAY: With four matches left, the Chill has already secured its fifth Heartland Division crown in six seasons. Thunder Bay won the PDL title in 2008 and finished second in 2010.
Sullivan Silva has a team-best 20 points – good for sixth place in the league – with eight goals (two against Des Moines on June 22) and four assists. Juan Velez Rodriguez is keeping pace, registering seven goals and four assists for 18 points.
Stephen Paterson’s 0.500 goals against average is tied for first place among all PDL goalkeepers. The Chill has scored 31 goals in twelve matches while conceding just five.
In its last 10 meetings with the Menace, Thunder Bay has lost just once – a 2-0 loss on July 9, 2011 that allowed the Menace to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot that Des Moines eventually clinched with a win at St. Louis on the final day of the regular season.
Des Moines is 21-17-3 all-time against Thunder Bay, with a 12-6-0 advantage at home.
THIS WEEKEND’S PROMOTIONS: Friday’s match is presented by Kum & Go. Saturday’s match, presented by Mars, is the final Cleat Crew match of the season. Children ages 4-12 can join the club for only $10, receiving admission to Saturday’s match and getting a vuvuzela.
On Saturday, $2 of every ticket sold at the stadium will support Blank Children’s Hospital.
UP NEXT: Fireworks cap off a Fan Appreciation Night doubleheader on July 14. The Menace closes its home season, hosting a 7:30 p.m. exhibition against Minnesota Stars FC. Preceding the match, the Menace women host a 4:30 p.m. kickoff against Ft. Wayne Sport Club for its last home match of the year.
WOMEN’S MATCH RE-SCHEDULED: The Menace women’s match scheduled for Saturday has been moved to July 15 at Teamwork Acres in Waukee. Des Moines hosts FC Indiana (South Bend) for a 4:30 p.m. start on that Sunday, as the Menace men prepare for a 5 p.m. season-closing match at St. Louis.
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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