116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids Rampage were on the cusp of a playoff berth last year.
A promising 10-4 start to their second Major Arena Soccer League season ended with four losses in six games, which left them on the outside of the playoff field.
One offseason signing has the club feeling ready to crash the postseason party.
'I'm thinking championship already, not to get ahead of myself,' said free-agent signee Taylor Bond, who will try to help the Rampage win their MASL season opener Saturday at the Milwaukee Wave.
'Playoffs are a must for us, and I think we're definitely going to get there.'
Bond, 29, is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound forward who scored 71 goals and tallied 20 assists in three seasons with the Chicago Mustangs, including 40 scores last season.
'Taylor proved last year that he is a very powerhouse forward right now in our league,' first-year Rampage Coach Jonathan Greenfield said. 'He's an athlete. … He's a transition player. From that point, it is very exciting. In open space, he's dangerous. Extremely dangerous.'
Bond is expected to form a powerful offensive quartet with midfielder Gordy Gurson (23 goals, 10 assists last season), forward Tony Walls (17 goals, two assists) and rookie Kenan Malicevic, who makes his MASL debut after two productive seasons with the Rampage United outdoor team.
Having ready-made chemistry with fellow Illinois natives on the squad like Gurson, forward Derek Huffman, midfielder Bobby Hurwitz, defender Joshio Sandoval and goalkeeper Brett Petricek made Cedar Rapids an attractive landing spot for Bond.
'It helps a lot because we grew up together,' Bond said. 'For the last seven years we've played together, if not more.'
Saturday marks the MASL coaching debut for Greenfield, who replaced player-coach Hewerton Moreira after he accepted the same position with St. Louis.
Like Moreira, Greenfield could suit up and play — he scored two goals and collected seven assists in 15 games with the Rampage last season — and will likely be called into action Saturday with the absence of defender Pablo Da Silva — who will sit out one game due to excessive yellow cards assessed last season — and injuries to Jon Pachar and another free-agent signee from Chicago, defender Mario Alvarez.
The Rampage will jostle all season with teams like Kansas City and Milwaukee for one of two playoff spots from the Central Division. A win Saturday against the Wave — a franchise with six championships in its 33-year history — would be a significant step.
'We've got to stick to what we're good at,' Greenfield said. 'We're going to have to have a very, very good defensive effort from everyone. … They're also a very, very good team with good effort and a lot of special players that can change a game on a dime by themselves.'
The Rampage will also play road games at Baltimore and Florida next weekend before the Nov. 18 regular-season home opener against Harrisburg at the U.S. Cellular Center.
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