Minor League Sports

2 late goals by Gordy Gurson give Cedar Rapids Rampage much-needed win over Milwaukee

Rampage (7-8) snap 4-game skid with win over division leader

Cedar Rapids Rampage’s Gordy Gurson (3) celebrates a Rampage goal against Harrisburg Heat in their arena soccer game at US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Rampage’s Gordy Gurson (3) celebrates a Rampage goal against Harrisburg Heat in their arena soccer game at US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Well, things are suddenly interesting again for the Cedar Rapids Rampage.

Mired in a four-game losing streak and facing the division leader for the third time in four games, prospects looked rather dim.

An inspired defensive effort and a clutch performance from team captain Gordy Gurson have the Rampage talking playoffs again.

Gurson scored two goals in the final six minutes as the Rampage defeated the Milwaukee Wave, 5-3, in a Major Arena Soccer League game Thursday night at the U.S. Cellular Center.

“We just kept pushing and pushing and pressing them,” Gurson said. “It finally paid off at the end.”

Cedar Rapids (7-8) dropped a pair of 11-5 contests to Milwaukee on Jan. 5-6. This time, five Rampage goals held up thanks to a relentless effort from Rampage defenders like Joshio Sandoval and Charlie Bales, plus some stout goalkeeping from Rainer Hauss.

“We need to be ready for everything,” said Hauss, who registered 17 saves. “We were ready this week. We worked really hard every day. We knew Milwaukee was coming. … They were coming hungry. We were ready for them.”

Following the Tuesday trade of forward Taylor Bond to the Tacoma Stars in exchange for cash considerations, Mount Vernon native Drew Russell was called on to make his first appearance with the Rampage this season. He wasted no time making an impact with a goal late in the first quarter that tied the game at 1-1.

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“It’s just fun getting back out here and playing again,” said Russell, who played with the Rampage United outdoor team last summer. “They just wanted me to go out there and do my thing.”

Thirty seconds later, Sandoval stole a pass off a Milwaukee restart, raced down the left sideline and passed to forward Osvaldo Rojas for a 2-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Former Loras player Alex Bradley scored his seventh goal of the season early in the third quarter that gave the Rampage a 3-2 lead.

With the game tied at 3-3, Gurson scored twice in three minutes. The first strike came on a remarkable bicycle kick off an assist by Bobby Hurwitz in front of the Milwaukee goal.

“I was just trying to get it towards goal and I knew we needed as many opportunities as we can,” Gurson said. “I know that if we just shoot it on the goal, good things happen.”

Gurson leads the team with 16 goals. Thursday night was his first multi-score game since Dec. 17 at St. Louis.

Ian Bennett scored his 35th goal of the season for Milwaukee (12-3), losers of three games in a row.

The victory was the first in five games for Rampage Coach Ante Cop. Cedar Rapids is now a game and a half ahead of Kansas City (4-8) for the second playoff spot in the Central Division. The Rampage visit the Comets Jan. 28 with a chance to sweep the four-game season series.

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“We have a full week of training in front of us,” Cop said. “It gives us a full week to prepare for K.C. … If we get that win, I think that solidifies our playoff spot and it’s fantastic.”

AT U.S. CELLULAR CENTER

Cedar Rapids Rampage 5, Milwaukee Wave 3

Milwaukee 1 1 1 0—3

Cedar Rapids 2 0 1 2—5

Shots on goal — Milwaukee 20, Cedar Rapids 16.

First period

Scoring — 1. Milwaukee: Ian Bennett (Daniel Chamale), 3:10; 2. Cedar Rapids: Drew Russell, 1:06; 3. Cedar Rapids: Osvaldo Rojas (Joshio Sandoval), 0:36.

Second period

Scoring — 4. Milwaukee: Josh Lemos, 8:13.

Third period

Scoring — 5. Cedar Rapids: Alex Bradley, 11:14; 6. Milwaukee: Guilherme Veiga, 1:42.

Fourth period

Scoring — 7. Gordy Gurson (Bobby Hurwitz), 6:21; 8. Gordy Gurson (Tony Walls), 3:27.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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