SEWARD, Neb. – For the first time this season, the Concordia University men’s soccer team found itself playing from behind. The Bulldogs never flinched while up against a MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.) program with plenty of street cred. Two second half goals propelled Concordia to a 2-1 victory over the Pioneers inside Bulldog Stadium on Saturday (Sept. 7) afternoon.
Twelfth-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad had waited 10 days without a game before resuming the 2019 season. The Bulldogs are now 3-0 with two of the victories having come at home.
“It was a really good response,” Weides said of the adversity Concordia faced early on. “We talked about it at halftime. Certainly when you lose a player (to injury) five minutes into a game or less, it’s kind of a weird situation. We kind of had to scramble to adapt, but we had guys step up and respond to that well. You could see that they were resilient and there was belief the whole time.”
The game winner came in the 78th minute as a result of a mad scramble in the box. A line shot off the foot of Renzo Bozzo drilled the cross bar with the ball then bounding to Carlos Orquiz. His header was deflected and fell at the feet of Moises Jacobo, who deposited the ball into the back of the net for his second goal of the season. It capped a stretch of less than 10 minutes that involved two Concordia goal celebrations.
In the 69th minute, the Bulldogs got loose for a breakaway in the box. Daniel Campbell played a touch to David Carrasco, who blasted the ball into the back of the net. Carrasco became the sixth different Concordia player to score a goal this season.
Not only did the Bulldogs have to bounce back from an early deficit, they also had to adjust on the fly when senior center back Evan Hayden was forced to leave the contest early in the opening half. Bozzo helped fill the need. The freshman from Santiago, Chile, saved a ball just before it crossed the goal about midway through the first half.
“When Evan got hurt we knew we had to put more effort in,” Jacobo said. “At halftime we talked about it. We just have to go out there and fight – and that’s what we did.”
Concordia did enough to take advantage of a MidAmerica Nazarene (2-3) squad that was coming off a surprisingly one-sided 8-0 loss to Oklahoma Wesleyan. However, the Pioneers have played in an NAIA national championship game as recently as 2015. MNU also played a tight game with Hastings in its season opener. That result was a 1-0 loss in double overtime for the Pioneers.
In the process of moving to 3-0, the Bulldogs outshot MNU, 17-11. To this point, Concordia is about where Weides was hoping it would be.
“I think it’s about where we want to be,” Weides said. “We wanted to play three games and have three wins. Today was against a really good program that shows we can compete with anybody. I also know they have some guys out right now. We need to stand up to good teams like that and get results.”
The Bulldogs will be back in action on Wednesday with a road trip to McPherson College (Kan.) (2-1) for a 7:30 p.m. CT kickoff. The two programs met in Seward last year with the result being a 3-2 Concordia win in overtime.