Goal by former Washington prep Jacob Bjornsen helps C.R. Rampage United salvage 1-1 tie

Tie against Croatian Eagles helps Cedar Rapids (2-1-3, 9 standings points) to second place in PLA West Division

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CEDAR RAPIDS — In the end, a fortuitous 60-yard shot nearly proved to be the undoing of the Cedar Rapids Rampage United.

Former Cedar Rapids Washington prep Jacob Bjornsen delivered a tying goal in the 83rd minute as the Cedar Rapids Rampage United salvaged a 1-1 tie against the Croatian Eagles in in a Premier League of America game before an estimated 550 fans Saturday night at Clark Field.

“We gradually moved the ball down the left side and I just gradually made my way up the field and they (Rampage United forward Gordy Gurson) delivered a perfect ball and I was in the right place at the right time,” Bjornsen said.

Bjornsen was a member of the 2014 Washington team that placed third at state and will be a junior this fall at Western Illinois.

The tie was the third this season for Cedar Rapids (2-1-3, 9 standings points), which ties the Rampage United for second in the PLA West Division with the Milwaukee Bavarians. Minneapolis City SC stands alone in first place after a 3-2 victory over the Madison 56ers.

“The guys stepped on the field like it was 1-0 and that is unacceptable,” Rampage United Coach Hewerton Moreira said. “At that level, you have to respect the opponent. They’re a great team. These guys have been playing together for a while.”

Two minutes before halftime, Boubacar Sylla of the Croatian Eagles caught Cedar Rapids goalkeeper Patrizio Paradiso too far up the field and launched a perfectly-placed strike from the middle of the Kohawk logo for the opening score.

The Rampage United had several good scoring chances, especially in the first half. Midway through the opening stanza, forward Kenan Malicevic fielded a pass in the Croatian box but could not quite get a good foot on it. In the 23rd minute, forward Gordy Gurson hit the crossbar.

The Eagles featured a pair of players that competed for the Cedar Rapids Rampage indoor team in the Major Arena Soccer League this past winter. Defender Alex Tozer and forward Diego Bobadilla both saw action Saturday and are coaching soccer with the Croatian Milwaukee-area youth teams.

“It was a good time, great to see my indoor friends,” said Tozer, who has re-signed with the Rampage indoor team. “It’s great to be representing my hometown.”

The teams play again Sunday at 4 p.m. in Franklin, Wis.

“The guys are starting to learn that this league is not a joke,” Moreira said. “You cannot afford to come flat.”

The Rampage United return home against Milwaukee July 10.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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