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PDL PLAYOFFS: Menace pull postseason upset of defending PDL North American champion Michigan Bucks

| July 21, 2017 | Comments (0)

BY DAN STICKRADT

SENIOR EDITOR

dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com

Twitter: @LoacalSportsFans

PONTIAC, Mich. — There will be a new North American champion in the Premier Developmental League.

The fourth-seeded Des Moines (Iowa) Menace lived up to their namesake and posted a 2-0 upset Friday of defending PDL champions and top-seeded Michigan Bucks in the Central Conference semifinals at the Ultimate Soccer Arenas.

The Menace (13-9-5, 8-5-2 PDL) advance to the Central Conference finals on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., where they will face second-seeded Thunder Bay (Ont.) Chill for the fourth time this season.

Des Moines is 2-1 against their Heartland Division foe Thunder Bay this season.

“I thought it was a good games — two teams that actually tried to play soccer, which was good to see,” noted Menace coach John Pascarella. “I’s never easy to come into an environment like this, especially an indoor environment. I thought our guys played well, I thought they played hard and I thought the Bucks were a very good team. It went our way today. I thought it was one of those games that could have gone either way.”

The Menace took a 1-0 lead on a brilliant effort by Ramona Howell. Retrieving a ball 40 yards out, Howell raced down the left side of the field, beat two defenders before blasting a shot from an usual angle and beating Bucks netminder Drew Shepherd at the far post at the 68:13 mark.

Des Moines tacked on insurance goal at the 81:36 mark, when Isaiah Madrid blasted home a rebound of his own shot just inside the penalty box.

Kyle Ihn made seven saves for Des Moines ninth shutout of the campaign. The 14-time Great Lakes Division champion Michigan Bucks (14-3-3, 10-2-3).

“This is a pretty mature group defensively,” added Pascarella. “They have a really good idea of how to defend good teams. The problem this season is we haven’t had a lead to defend. We’ve had to play from behind. I think the key for us defensively was we kept it 0-0. And when we went up 1-0, they pushed up more guys and that made it easier for us.”

Shepherd finished with two saves for Michigan, which claimed North American PDL titles in 2006, 2014 and 2016 while finishing as the runner-up in 2007. The Bucks simply could not solve Ihn and the Menace defense.

“We lost to a very good, well-organized team,” said Bucks assistant coach Paul Thomas. “It was avery evenly-matched game. When it was tied, it took one minute of genius (play by Howell) to make a difference. And once to they went up a goal, we had to make some subs and push more guys up to get back into the game, that makes you more vulnerable. The second goal is just one of those things that happen when you takes risks trying to get back into the game.”

Both teams traded off nine shots in the game, with the Bucks holding a slim 7-4 edge on shots directly on frame — with most coming in the final 25 minutes.

Des Moines held a 10-6 advantage on cornerkicks.

CENTRAL CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS — GAME 1

THUNDER BAY (ONT.) CHILL 2, KIRCHENER (ONT.) K-W UNITED 0: Thunder Bay scored a goal in each half and advanced to Saturday’s PDL Central Conference Finals with this shutout.

Abraham Villon scored both goals for the Chill (10-3-2 PDL).

He tallied the eventual game winner at 29:25, redirecting a pass from Adam Abdellaul.

Villon added an insurance tally at the 69:42 mark, converting a cross from Chris Makengo to cap the scoring.

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About Dan Stickradt: DAN STICKRADT | SENIOR EDITOR dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com View author profile.

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