CEDAR RAPIDS — The first half was just about as strong a performance as possible.
Lucky for the Cedar Rapids Rampage, it was good enough to secure victory.
Cedar Rapids midfielder Gordy Gurson notched his first hat trick of the season with three goals as the Rampage held off St. Louis, 9-7, in a Major Arena Soccer League match in front of 1,543 fans Sunday at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“I thought the first half we dictated, we dominated,” Rampage Coach Jonathan Greenfield said. “We played really good soccer. … In the second half, they put a little bit more pressure on us and we didn’t deal with the pressure. We need to execute.”
Cedar Rapids (2-3) jumped on the visiting Ambush early with the first four goals of the first quarter from Mohamed Kenaway, Pablo Da Silva, Gurson and Tony Walls. Walls and Gurson both added second-quarter scores, and a 70-foot strike from defender Joshio Sandoval gave the Rampage a 7-1 halftime lead.
“I think as a team, we put good pressure on them,” said Walls, who finished with two goals and an assist. “It led to good opportunities for us. I thought we were hungry and we took advantage of our opportunities. That is something we have been working on.”
Former Cedar Rapids player-coach Hewerton Moreira, who is in his first season with St. Louis in the same capacity, opened the second-half scoring with a goal, then assisted another former Rampage player (Corey Adamson) for a score that brought the Ambush within 7-3 midway through the third quarter.
Gurson’s third goal, plus a second from Kenaway, extended the Cedar Rapids advantage to 9-4 with 10:33 left in the match.
St. Louis closed the match with three unanswered goals, the last a second score from Adamson with 21 seconds left and a sixth attacker in action.
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“Being at home, I feel we are a lot more comfortable in front of our fans,” Gurson said. “It’s starting to show with the results that we are getting. Defensively we fell apart kind of at the end, but we scored enough to hold onto our lead. At the end, a win is a win.”
Osvaldo Rojas — an offseason free agent signee from the Chicago Mustangs — distributed three assists, while defender Alex Bradley added two in his MASL debut after playing for the Rampage United outdoor team last summer.
“I feel a lot more ready now than I did in the preseason games,” said Bradley, a Loras alum.
Moreira finished with a goal and two assists for St. Louis (0-4).
Cedar Rapids visits Kansas City (1-1) on Dec. 3.
AT U.S. CELLULAR CENTER
Cedar Rapids Rampage 9, St. Louis Ambush 7
St. Louis 1 0 3 3—7
Cedar Rapids 4 3 1 1—9
Scoring — 1. Cedar Rapids: Mohamed Kenawy (Osvaldo Rojas), 14:29; 2. Cedar Rapids: Pablo Da Silva (Alex Bradley), 8:18; 3. Cedar Rapids: Gordy Gurson (Osvaldo Rojas), 7:32; 4. Cedar Rapids: Tony Walls (Alex Bradley), 1:01; 5. St. Louis: Jerjer Gibson (Robert Acosta), 0:21.
Scoring — 6. Cedar Rapids: Tony Walls (Phibo Arriaga), 13:22; 7. Cedar Rapids: Gordy Gurson (Osvaldo Rojas), 3:48; 8. Cedar Rapids: Joshio Sandoval, 0:10.
Scoring — 9. St. Louis: Hewerton Moreira (Stefan St. Louis), 11:16; 10. St. Louis: Corey Adamson (Hewerton Moreira), 8:12; 11. Cedar Rapids: Gordy Gurson (Tony Walls), 6:00; 12. St. Louis: Victor France, 4:56.
Scoring — 13. Cedar Rapids: Mohamed Kenaway (Joshio Sandoval), 10:33; 14. St. Louis: Stefan St. Louis (Axel Duarte), 9:27; 15. St. Louis: Paulo Nascimento, 6:45; 16. St. Louis: Corey Adamson (Hewerton Moreira), 0:21.
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