Jeremy Aldrich scored from a free kick in overtime Friday afternoon to give the Milwaukee Rampage a 3-2 victory in their 2002 season opener against the Indiana Blast, with whom the defender spent last season.
The native of Kalamazoo, Mich. struck a left-footed shot from 18 yards out on the right side through the Blast wall and a deflection sent the ball past goalkeeper Mark Spears in the 103rd minute.
Milwaukee continues its season-opening road trip Saturday night in Cincinnati at 6:30 p.m. in a game that can be heard live on AM-1250, WEMP.
The Rampage needed to come from behind after Rodrigo Costa's second goal of the game put the Blast on top in the 73rd minute. Godfrey Tenoff found Costa alone on the left side with a long ball from midfield and the Blast's leading scorer outraced Rampage defender Matt Bobo into the penalty box before launching a low right-footed shot past Milwaukee goalkeeper Dan Popik into the far side netting.
Just four minutes later, however, the Rampage answered when Digital Takawira set up John Wolyniec on a similar play. Wolyniec ran onto Takawira's pass and dribbled in on goal against Indiana defender Eric Descombes. As he stepped into the box, Wolyniec took a touch to the right and ripped a shot into the top right corner.
Steve Bernal opened the scoring in the 41st minute when he sent a right-footed shot just inside the far post after receiving a pass from Takawira. Wolyniec started the play with a cross into the box from the right side. A deflection sent the ball toward the top of the penalty box, where Milwaukee native Miguel Saavedra, on loan from the Chicago Fire, struck a low shot at goal. Takawira stepped in front of the blast at the edge of the goal box, then spotted Bernal on the left side to set up the goal.
Indiana was able to tie the game just before the halftime whistle on a wild scramble in front of the Rampage goal after a free kick from 35 yards. Mark Allen's free kick bounced dangerously toward the goal and several players from both teams attempted to chase it down before Costa knocked it in from close range.
Milwaukee's historic home opener is Friday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. at the Milwaukee Rampage Sports Complex against long-time rival Minnesota.
1 2 OT F
RAMPAGE 1 1 1 3
INDIANA 1 1 0 2
Milwaukee Steve Bernal (Digital Takawira) 41
Indiana Rodrigo Costa (Mark Allen) 45
Indiana Rodrigo Costa (Godfrey Tenoff) 73
Milwaukee John Wolyniec (Digital Takawira) 77
Milwaukee Jeremy Aldrich 103
RAMPAGE - Dan Popik; Destin Makumbu, Jeremy Aldrich, Matt Bobo; Steve Bernal, Bato Ra-doncic (Sean Reti 46), Jason Russell, Jeff Bilyk, Miguel Saavedra (Craig Charlton 73, Dennis Fadeski 91); Digital Takawira, John Wolyniec. SHOTS: 14; SAVES: 3; FOULS: 13;
OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 5; CAUTIONS: 1 (Bilyk 97);
INDIANA - Mark Spears; Mark Allen, Ezzy Ihekoronye, Vorgen Less, Eric Descombes; Dustin Ottesen, Paul Dolinsky (Jeff Dresser 68), Jeremy Sweet, Gino Diguardi; Godfrey Tenoff, Rod-rigo Costa. SHOTS: 7; SAVES: 5; FOULS: 14; OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 6; CAUTIONS: 1 (Sweet 13).
About the Milwaukee Rampage
The Milwaukee Rampage were founded in 1993 and began their first season of play one year later. In its 8-year existence, the team has qualified for the playoffs in every season but one, and captured Milwaukee's first-ever professional soccer title in 1997. The 1997 A-League National Championship marked the first pro sports title for a Milwaukee-based team since the 1971 Milwaukee Bucks. The Rampage have compiled an incredible 122-69-3 record through their first 8 seasons, and have also appeared in the league's "Final Four" 3 times. A new chapter in team history began on May 1, 2001, when Rampage President & Owner Nick Schimpf signed a long-term deal with Milwaukee County to take over operation of the 118-acre Milwaukee Rampage Sports Complex (formerly Milwaukee County Sports Complex). The complex features the Rampage stadium, several outdoor fields and a 55,000-square-foot multi-purpose indoor facility. In January of 2002, the team announced it will sponsor the new Milwaukee Ram-page Youth Soccer Club for male and female players ages 3 to 19.
About United Soccer Leagues (USL)
Founded in 1986, USL is a youthful, authentic soccer entertainment experience celebrated at the grassroots level. Providing access for personal interaction and family entertainment, USL is dedicated to developing the game of soccer in every community across North America. USL consists of two men's professional leagues (A-League and D3 Pro League), a men's amateur league (Premier Development League), a women's "open" league (W-League), a national youth league (Super Y-League) and national summer camps. Its official Web site, www.USLsoccer.com, provides visitors with the latest news, league standings, statistics and merchandising along with numerous interactive features to create a thriving community for its millions of fans. Soccer giant UMBRO holds a majority share in USL.
Contact: Scott Creighton (C) 859-992-7137