WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – July 11, 2009 – The Des Moines Menace has secured a spot in the playoffs and a share of the division championship – and the team still has two more regular-season opportunities to take care of unfinished business.
The Menace (9-1-4) did all of its scoring in the second half of tonight’s 4-0 triumph over the Springfield Demize (2-12-1) at Valley Stadium. While it has clinched the franchise’s 10th Premier Development League postseason appearance, Casey Mann’s team is still not satisfied.
“It feels good, but we’re not quite there yet,” Mann said. “We’ve got a lot more to play for. One goal down and several bigger goals left to accomplish.”
Des Moines has its sights on sole possession of the Heartland Division title, which ensures the opportunity to host the first round of the PDL playoffs. If the Menace picks up at least one more point (three points for a win, one for a tie), the team welcomes the loop’s second- and third-place teams to Valley Stadium on July 24-25.
The only other team still in the running for the title is the Thunder Bay Chill. After a scoreless draw with St. Louis tonight, the defending PDL champions (7-3-4, 25 points) need to win their two remaining games to catch up to the 31 points the Menace currently claims.
With a win or tie at Kansas City on Thursday or at home next Saturday against St. Louis, the Menace can dash its arch-rivals’ hopes for a third-straight division crown.
“We just want to guarantee the championship all to ourselves,” Mann said. “We don’t want to have to share it with anyone. Most important, we want to be at home for the playoffs.”
Mann’s crew is 5-1-1 at Valley Stadium, where it has outscored the competition 16-4.
Ben Taylor and a trio of Drake Bulldogs – Garrett Webb, Julien Edwards and Hunter Kennedy – led tonight’s late-game rampage.
Taylor assisted Webb (50th minute) and Edwards (84th) before capping off the night with an unassisted goal in the final minute. With his first points in eight matches, Taylor passes Armin Mujdzic (10 points) as the team’s leading scorer (11 points).
In the 87th minute, Stefan De Las set up birthday boy Kennedy for his second goal in two games. Kennedy scored the game-winner in Wednesday’s victory at Rochester.
COMING UP: The team takes its undefeated road mark (4-0-3) to Liberty, Mo., on Thursday to take on the Kansas City Brass. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. on the William Jewell College campus.
The Menace wraps up the regular-season on Saturday, hosting the St. Louis Lions at Valley Stadium. The match starts at 7:30 on Fan Appreciation Night sponsored by Frito-Lay. Fans get in for $5 by wearing red. Joe’s Photo Booth will provide free photos for fans.