Bavarians ousted in 1st round of US Open Cup
Playing most of the game two men down due to ejections proved too much for the younger Milwaukee Bavarians team as they fell to the Des Moines Menace in the First Round of the 2012 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
The game was delayed in starting by 45 minutes due to inclement weather and delayed again at halftime for more rain and lightning. It also went into overtime and was delayed when the sprinklers came on before the OT period could begin. But the Menace didn’t let more than four hours at the fields deter them from their goal of advancing in the Open Cup.
For the Menace, it was their first win in the Open Cup since 2006, when they won three games in one of the more impressive tournament runs by an amateur club. It was also a rematch of sorts as the Menace lost their opening round game in 2003 to the Bavarians’ USASA club, 3-2 in extra time.
The Bavarians scored first on a brilliant cross from Chris Madsen that Cyril Simmons headed home in the 25th minute. Simmons might not score a goal that pretty again all season. It was textbook.
From there, the Bavarians fell into a more defensive stance and the Menace couldn’t quite seem to put it together.
Bavarians’ goalie Josh Rhode was shaky to start the game. He had trouble with his punts and goal kicks and misplayed a ball played back to him, almost leading to a Menace goal. But give credit to the Bavarians defense, who backed him up and never let Rhode’s unsteadiness shake their play.
Defense is a strength of this Bavarians team. Des Moines failed to put together a credible threat throughout the first sixty minutes of the ball game because the Milwaukee defense stopped them cold before they could get close to the net. The Menace came out of the back or midfield multiple times with threatening-looking plays that would fizzle before they became dangerous. Credit a steady, stout Bavarians defense for that.
The tenor of the game changed just before half. In an already physical game, there was pushing and shoving on the far touchline that ended up with an upset scorer’s table. No foul was called and the Bavarians had a shot on goal. The resulting corner kick was a scramble in front of the net and when the melee cleared, a Menace player was on the ground and Andrew Stone was booked with a red card for elbowing him in the face. Chris Madsen was booked shortly thereafter with a yellow card, presumably for dissent.
And that’s how the half ended.
Madsen had a change just a few minutes into the first half that Bavarian coach Andreas Davi said he thought would have completely changed the game. Madsen came in off the right side and ended up one on one with the keeper, but his shot went wide.
For Davi, making it a 2-0 game would have all-but guaranteed his team a win and he put the missed shot down to his team’s youth and inexperience. As the Bavarian team is made up entirely of college players, they have not spent a lot of time together yet – they had one player still taking final exams today.
“If Madsen makes it 2-0, we don’t even go into OT. This is where the kids have to learn. He has to ask the keeper ‘left, right or nutmeg’ and you put that ball in the corner. And then you play with nine guys in the back and you win that game.”
After the second rain delay, the Menace came out with a new look, moving players around to better maximize the effectiveness of Lebogang Moloto. Moloto’s pace was apparent early in the game, but the Bavarians were able to contain him. Now that Milwaukee was down a man and up a goal, Des Moines coach Laurie Calloway made some adjustments.
“We made a couple of changes strategically with (Lebogang) Moloto and took out (Philip) Da Silva and brought in Luis Piffer who I thought added something to us and sort of a combination of some of those things. At half time I wasn’t really happy with the performance and let them know that and it was just a couple of changes that led us to dominate in the game a little bit more.”
Des Moines received a penalty kick in the 57th minute when Luis Piffer went down in the box, but Logan McDaniel’s shot hit the post. The missed opportunity, however, seemed to drive the Menace. A beautiful cross was headed into the crossbar just a few minutes later. In all, Des Moines’ shots hit the post or crossbar four times in the second half and overtime.
Bavarians David Caban received his second yellow of the game and was sent off in the 66th minute. Down two men, fatigue started to become a factor for the Bavarians as they had more field to cover and the pace of Moloto was becoming more and more apparent in the re-vamped front for Des Moines.
Husref Jubic scored on a cross from Luis Piffer and coach Calloway’s change in strategy paid off just 20 minutes into the second half.
Offensive chances became few and far between for the Bavarians, as they struggled to cover the whole field. Even if a player got the ball in the offensive zone, he didn’t have anyone to support him or to pass to. The Menace defenders swarmed and the threat was over.
The Bavarians did muster one final offensive push and appeared to score in the 72nd minute. Kelmend Islami carried the ball through the midfield, beat his defenders and ended up one on one with the Menace keeper. A perfectly-placed half volley into the net seemed to give the Bavarians the lead, but it was called back for offside
The Bavarians seemed to deflate even more after the goal was waived off and they failed to put together any more credible offensive threats in regulation.
Where Rhode was shaky early in, he kept his team in the game as the second half wore on. He made more than one remarkable save, including one in the final minutes that looked to be a sure Menace goal.
The ball was pinballing around the six-yard box and Rhode made a save near the far post. As the ball fell to the Menace on the near post, Rhode came diving across to make the save on the goal line. The play was so close that some Menace players were calling that the ball had gone in.
The half ended much like the first, as Des Moines Jubril Lawal was sent off with a red card for a dirty slide tackle. More yelling and pushing and shoving ensued, but the game headed to overtime tied at one.
The start of the overtime period was delayed about eight minutes as the automatic sprinklers made an appearance on the field and the Bavarians’ grounds crew had to figure out how to turn them off and have the sprinkler heads retreat back into the ground.
It was probably only a matter of time before the pace of Moloto became too much for the fatigued Bavarian defense. That breakthrough came in the 102nd minute when Moloto just out-ran the tired Bavarians back line, taking it one-on-one to the box and beating Rhode. The Menace were up 2-1 with about 18 minutes left of overtime play.
Des Moines put the game away for good with another Moloto goal in the 108th minute, this time on a pass from McDaniel. Moloto was unmarked in front of the net and McDaniel placed a cross perfectly at his feet.
Up next for Des Moines is more league play, that Calloway stressed as important as his team had stumbled early in the season. They will then face the Minnesota Stars of the North American Soccer League in the Second Round of the US Open Cup next Tuesday.
Davi said that while a victory would have been nice, a game like this one will do a lot to bond his team together as they start their NPSL league play this weekend. He also stressed that this was likely the biggest game any of his players had ever played in. And while they’re thankful for the chance to play in the Open Cup, they’re an NPSL team and they earned their place in the Cup because they won the Midwest Region – and that’s their goal again.