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February 5, 2018 - Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) - Syracuse Silver Knights News Release

Syracuse Silver Knights extend its winning streak to three games following a 6-4 win over the Cedar Rapids Rampage on February 2. Both teams entered the War Memorial Arena riding a two-game winning streak. This was the first matchup between these two teams this season.

The Silver Knights were wearing red jerseys for Go Red For Women's Day to benefit American Heart Association and support women's health.

"To help generate money for these organizations is an awesome and incredible job," Syracuse Silver Knights midfielder Ben Ramin said.

There were few opportunities for either team to begin the game, as both teams looked to unlock the opposing defense. The first goal came for the Silver Knights. Forward Joey Tavernese spent the opening ten minutes forcing the Rampage defense into mistakes in their own half. Pressure from Tavernese led to him winning the ball eight yards out, where he struck the ball past Cedar Rapids Rampage goalkeeper Rainer Hauss.

The next goal came three minutes later through midfielder Nate Bourdeau. The midfielder grabbed a free ball twelve yards out, and shot it into the roof of the net. Midfielder Kenardo Forbes, returning from a one-game suspension, was the third goalscorer for the Silver Knights. Early in the second quarter, he received a pass from Tavernese and was wide open. With only Hauss to beat, he placed the ball in the bottom right corner to further increase the lead.

The goals kept on coming for the Silver Knights. Midfielder Ben Ramin received a pass from off a free kick from Forbes, who powered it past the goalkeeper. The defense for the Silver Knights was strong during the first half. Syracuse goalkeeper Andrew Coughlin made three saves in the first half, and Syracuse head coach Ryan Hall credited a strong defense.

"A lot of it came from luck. We made a lot of goal line saves. We had a lot of team defense, some defenders knocked the ball off the line," Coach Hall said.

Despite leading 4-0 at half-time, Coach Hall urged his team to not get complacent as the Rampage are still into this game.

"We knew they were going to come out in the second half," Hall said.

The Silver Knights started out flat, and it cost them. The Rampage scored two goals in the opening five minutes of the third quarter via Bobby Hurtiwz and Osvaldo Rojas. Up three, the Silver Knights saw its lead decrease.

But the Silver Knights came back. Ramin scored his second goal of the night after receiving the ball across from goal and scored. As he turned around and headed towards his teammates, he heard a louder cheer from the stands. He jumped in and ran up to see his high school friends and former teammates, leading 5-2.

"I was like, I have to do it. I have to get the crowd into it. It was good," Ramin said.

The Rampage still weren't finished, though. Forward Victor France scored off a rebound from a high Mario Alvarez shot. Twenty-five seconds later, Alex Bradley's shot was saved by Coughlin, but an ensuing rebound was put in the goal by Rojas. This made it a one-goal game, 5-4 in favor of the Silver Knights.

Ramin knew from Coach's half time talk that the Rampage run may come, however didn't anticipate they'd conceded four goals in the quarter.

"At moments we didn't deal with it that well but as a team, we stayed together. We didn't let it get to us and we finished the job," Ramin said.

The final goal of the game came from Syracuse midfielder Patrick Thompson. Rampage forward Derek Huffman misplaced his pass to Hauss, and Thompson pounced on the opportunity. With his first touch, his left shot flew past the goalkeeper to give the Silver Knights a 6-4 lead.

The three-game winning streak is something the team are proud of, but know there's a lot more to come.

"We have to keep the mentality strong, keep working for one another. That's really been our 'MO' all season, and it's time to start making moves and bigger waves in the league for us," Ramin said.

Coach Hall echoed his player's mindset, and praised the Baldwinsville player.

"He's been around the game, he's trained with us for years and years and never really broke into the lineup and the system. But now he's making the best of it. Sometimes all you need is the opportunity and he's actually doing a great job," Coach Hall said.

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