Rampage United score heady win over previously-unbeaten Bavarians

Headers by Kenan Malicevic and Jacob Johnson pulls Cedar Rapids even with Milwaukee for first place in Premier League of America West Division

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CEDAR RAPIDS — With all the progress made by the first-year Cedar Rapids Rampage United, players and coaches knew validation could only come against the league heavyweight.

Former Metro preps Kenan Malicevic and Jacob Johnson both scored first-half headers as Cedar Rapids dealt the Milwaukee Bavarians their first defeat, 2-0, in a Premier League of America soccer game Sunday at Clark Field.

“For the past three weeks we’ve been talking about we want to go to the playoffs in first place,” Rampage United Coach Hewerton Moreira said. “We are working hard for that and I’m extremely proud of these guys.”

The victory avenges the only defeat the season for Cedar Rapids (4-1-3, 15 points) and pulls the Rampage United into a first-place tie with the Bavarians (4-1-3, 15) in the PLA West Division. The top two teams in each division advance to the PLA Tournament in Dayton, Ohio on July 30-31.

The Rampage United applied early pressure to the veteran Bavarians in the 4th minute as Malicevic – who prepped at Cedar Rapids Washington and Cedar Valley Christian – fielded a corner kick from John Pachar and headed the ball past the Bavarian keeper.

“As a game plan, we talked about in the locker room to start and get these guys off right off the bat,” Malicevic said. “We knew if we could get the goal and go up early, that would be a mental challenge for them as well as physical.”

Another former Washington player, Jacob Johnson, extended the Cedar Rapids lead to 2-0 when a perfectly-placed free kick by Bobby Hurwitz grazed his head just enough to divert the ball into the net in the 25th minute.

“We practice it every day,” Hurwitz said. “Coach tells me to hit it hard at the goal, make sure it’s about six yards out from the goal. We’ve got runners on there and he had a great flick on and there was nothing the goalie could do about it.”

Goalkeeper Patrizio Paradiso played all 90 minutes for the shutout.

Cedar Rapids closes the PLA regular season with road games at Minneapolis City SC and Minnesota United Reserves.

AT CLARK FIELD

Cedar Rapids Rampage United 2, Milwaukee Bavarians 0

Goals — Kenan Malicevic, Jacob Johnson. Assists — John Pachar, Bobby Hurwitz.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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