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One step from MLS showdown

A year ago, Des Moines' Luis Piffer (with ball) battled Menace alum Justin Davis (right) in the Open Cup. Today, Piffer and Davis are teammates with Minnesota United FC, looking to take down their old team.
 
 
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Tuesday, May 21, 2013 – Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., is widely regarded as one of the best soccer venues in the United States. Since opening in 2011, the $200-million facility has gained worldwide acclaim for its unbeatable amenities and its immaculate Kentucky bluegrass field. In July, the 2013 Major League Soccer All-Star Game will be coming to Sporting KC’s impressive confines.
 
And, in one week, the Des Moines Menace could be coming to Sporting Park, too.
 
The winner of tonight’s match between the Menace and host Minnesota United FC moves past the second round of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and into a primetime matchup with reigning champion Sporting KC on the big stage.
 
The Menace has its sights set on the franchise’s first match at a Major League Soccer venue. Des Moines has earned a pair of Open Cup matches with Kansas City’s MLS side, in 2005 and 2006; each time, the Wizards opted to play away from their Arrowhead Stadium home field.
 
Des Moines seeks payback tonight. A year ago, Minnesota (North American Soccer League) knocked the Menace from the tournament’s second round. The pros bested the amateurs, 2-0, at Valley Stadium.
 
This time around, Des Moines secured a rematch by getting past visiting Madison (amateur National Premier Soccer League), 1-0, on May 15.
 
 
2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, second round: Des Moines Menace at Minnesota United FC
Date and Time: Tuesday, May 21 at 7:00 p.m. CDT
Venue: Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium (grass field) in Roseville, Minn.
 
 
 
ABOUT THE MENACE
-       Makes its eighth appearance in the Open Cup – all in the last 12 years.
-       Is 1-0-1 in the Premier Development League, coming off a 1-0 win last Saturday against WSA Winnipeg.
-       Finished 8-5-3 in 2012, missing the Heartland Division’s second and final playoff spot by a single point to Real Colorado (8-4-4).
-       Began 2013 under the direction of a new general manager (Matt Homonoff) and head coach (Mike Jeffries). The last time Des Moines did this, in 2005, the team advanced to the fourth round of the Open Cup and ended the season as PDL champion (GM Alan Oatsvall and coach Casey Mann).
-       The updated roster: www.MenaceSoccer.com/men/roster
 
ABOUT MINNESOTA UNITED FC
-       Has compiled a 2-2-2 record in the North American Soccer League, the top division of professional soccer below the MLS.
-       Was the NASL champion in 2011 and the league’s runner-up in 2012.
-       Is led by offensive stars Simone Bracalello (three goals this season) and Pablo Campos (the NASL MVP in 2012, when he scored 21 goals for San Antonio).
-       Plays its first home Open Cup match since 2010.
-       Advanced to the fourth round of the 2012 Open Cup. After beating the Menace, 2-0, on May 22, the team upset Real Salt Lake (MLS), 3-1, on May 29, and fell to San Jose (MLS), 1-0, one week later.
-       Head coach Manny Lagos, formerly of the Minnesota Thunder and son of Thunder founder Buzz Lagos, played for five MLS teams (1996-2005) and was part of the United States’ 1992 Olympic Soccer team.
 
MINNESOTA: NEW NAME, SAME TEAM
-       In a series of ownership changes, Minnesota’s pro club has carried a different team name in each of the last five seasons.
-       Was formerly known as Minnesota Stars FC (2012), Minnesota Stars (2011), NSC (National Sports Center) Minnesota Stars (2010) and Minnesota Thunder (1990-2009).
 
ALL-TIME SERIES
-       Minnesota removed the Menace from the Open Cup last season, 2-0, at Valley Stadium.
-       Minnesota returned to West Des Moines for a July 14 exhibition and repeated, winning 2-0.
-       Des Moines defeated Minnesota (then the Thunder), in the third round of the 2006 Open Cup 1-0, behind a goal from Menace legend Tomas Boltnar. The Menace gave Kansas City (MLS) a scare in the next round, before falling 3-2.
 
MENACE HAS TIES TO MINNESOTA, NASL
-       Minnesota United FC’s Open Cup roster features three Menace alumni:
o    Justin Davis (2007-08 Menace) is a third-year defender.
o    Luis Piffer (2010-12 Menace), a recent Grand View grad, is a rookie midfielder.
o    Brent Kallman (2012 Menace), a rookie midfielder, plays alongside brother Brian.
-       Menace head coach Mike Jeffries’ pro playing career started with the Minnesota Strikers (1984 NASL and 1984-1987 Major Indoor Soccer League).
-       Menace general manager Matt Homonoff came from FC Edmonton, Minnesota’s closest NASL opponent.
-       Menace forward David Santamaria spent the last two years in the NASL, with Atlanta in 2012 and with Fort Lauderdale in 2011, playing in the NASL Cup against champion Minnesota.
 
LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP
-       Celebrates its 100th year, is the oldest and most storied running soccer tournament in American soccer.
-       Is a single-loss elimination style tournament with 68 teams – the most in the event’s history.
-       Welcomes the country’s 16 Major League Soccer teams in the third round (May 28).
-       The winner receives $250,000 and a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League; runner-up gets $60,000; last amateur team left standing receives $15,000.
-       For the best coverage of the Open Cup, visit http://thecup.us/
 
MENACE IN THE OPEN CUP
-       Making its fourth straight appearance in the U.S. Open Cup and eighth overall.
-       The franchise’s first four cup berths came in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006.
-       Is 9-7 all-time in the national tournament, including a 5-5 mark against pro teams (4-2 versus amateur teams) and a 3-3 road record (6-4 at home).
-       The team has a coach, a front-office member and a player who have each been part of Open Cup championship teams:
o    Head coach Mike Jefferies won the Open Cup as an assistant coach with the Chicago Fire in 1998 and 2000.
o    Menace general manager Matt Homonoff was in the front office of 2008 Open Cup champ D.C. United.
o    Goalkeeper Scott Angevine got a medal as part of Sporting KC, the 2012 champion.
 
UP NEXT: ST. LOUIS BOUND
-       The Menace heads south, facing the St. Louis Lions at 5 p.m. Saturday at Tony Glavin Complex in St. Peters, Mo.
-       Des Moines holds a 6-1-2 record against St. Louis in the teams’ last nine meetings.
 
RECAP FROM SATURDAY
-       The Menace notched three points in the PDL home opener against WSA Winnipeg on May 18 with a 1-0 win at Valley Stadium.
-       Taylor Diem headed in the lone goal of the match on a corner from Jimmy Tulloch late in the first half.
 
CELEBRATING 20 SEASONS
-       The Menace has 11 playoff berths and eight Open Cup appearances in the organization’s storied history, with a 181-106-29 record from 1994-2012.
-       More than 60 Menace alumni have played professionally, with more than 20 suiting up for Major League Soccer teams
-       To commemorate this anniversary season, the Menace will announce its all-time team, chosen by staff members, with input from the fans.
-       The team invites all former players and coaches to return for a Menace Alumni Night on June 15. During halftime of that night’s match with Thunder Bay, the organization will recognize those who have contributed to the team’s success.
 
MENACE HEAD COACH MIKE JEFFRIES
-       Announced by Menace owner Kyle Krause as the team’s new head coach on Jan. 8, 2013.
-       Has more than 20 years’ experience as a professional player and coach.
-       Is assisted by Menace goalkeeping coach Matt Kennedy.
-       His 10-plus years in Major League Soccer include three seasons (2001-03) as head coach of the Dallas Burn and three stints with the Chicago Fire.
-       Was an assistant coach in Chicago from 1998-2000 and from 2008-10; served as the Fire’s director of player personnel from Oct. 2010 until Sept. 2012.
-       Led Dallas to the MLS playoffs in 2001 and 2002 and was nominated for MLS Coach of the Year in 2002.
-       Part of Chicago’s inaugural 1998 team that won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the MLS Cup; The Fire repeated as Open Cup champ in 2000.
-       Served as a scout for the U.S. Men’s National Team during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
-       A former member of the United States Men’s National Team (1984-85) and the 1983 NCAA Player of the Year (Duke).
-       Played in North America’s top pro ranks from 1984-88. The first pick of the 1983 Major Indoor Soccer League Draft, he played in MISL for the Minnesota Strikers (1984-87) and the Dallas Sidekicks (1988). In the final season of the original North America Soccer League, he scored two goals in 10 matches for the 1984 Minnesota Strikers.
 
  
 
ABOUT THE MENACE: The Des Moines Menace provides the highest level of soccer in Iowa. Entering its 20th season, the Menace men’s side competes in the 65-team United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL). The Menace’s women’s team enters the Women’s Premier Soccer League in 2013, after debuting as the Women’s League Soccer 2012 champions. 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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