CEDAR RAPIDS — No team in the Major Arena Soccer League has scored more goals this season than the Cedar Rapids Rampage.
With 44 scores in six games and three wins in a row, the Rampage have established themselves as an elite offensive unit.
That status has only been elevated with the acquisition of midfielder Victor France.
“He’s got a great work rate, he’s got a great motor,” said first-year Rampage Coach Jonathan Greenfield, who leads Cedar Rapids (3-3) into a Central Division contest against the Kansas City Comets (1-3) Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Center. “He’s very, very busy and he’s not a guy that shies away from getting into contact and challenges.”
France, 25, was acquired in a Dec. 1 trade with the winless St. Louis Ambush in exchange for midfielders Pablo Da Silva and Tony Aguilar. The 5-foot-8, 145-pound native of Brazil recorded a rousing Rampage debut two days later with three goals in an 8-7 overtime victory at Kansas City.
“I felt really honored, to be fair, especially with the players involved in the trade,” said France, who has nine goals and three assists in five games between St. Louis and Cedar Rapids. “It was a good start. ... I was actually looking forward to a win and that is what happened. I’m just happy we have a good group of guys and we have another game against Kansas City. Try to get another win and just keep going, keep going, keep winning. That is what I’m here for. To win.”
The departure of Da Silva, 37, creates a bit of a void as the second-year captain also served as assistant coach. Going forward, Greenfield will handle all coaching duties as the team plays for a second win against the Comets in six days and fourth overall.
“Great that we’re 3-3,” Greenfield said. “Good to be back home, but also I could turn around and say we could easily be 0-6. It’s how crazy the games have been and margins of error. Obviously happy that we’re 3-3 but we just haven’t played a complete game from start to finish and control games as well as we have. Defensively, I’m a little concerned.”
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Offensive prowess has been able to mask some defensive deficiencies. Only two teams have allowed more goals than the Rampage (45). Cedar Rapids allowed 25 goals during its 0-3 start, then 20 more during the current three-game win streak.
A win Saturday in the home debut for France would keep the Rampage undefeated this season at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“I think we’re a young team, very energetic,” France said. “It’s a learning lesson every day. ... It’s great to have a group like that; that believes. We have a bunch of young guys that believe we can do it, no matter who we play.”
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