SEWARD, Neb. – After conceding a fifth-minute goal, Concordia men’s soccer roared back for a 4-2 homecoming victory over visiting Nebraska Wesleyan on Saturday night under the lights at Bulldog Stadium. Four different Bulldogs collected a goal apiece to chalk up a fifth win in the past six matches. Halfway through the conference season, Concordia sits in the thick of the GPAC title race with a 4-1 league mark to go along with an 8-5 overall record.
“We had a really good response from our guys,” Weides said. “We gave up an early goal – it was really their first attempt on goal and they took it well and scored. You didn’t see our guys deflated. They just knew we needed to stick to our game plan and do what we needed to do.”
Concordia fell behind early but as Weides said, it never panicked. The Bulldogs eventually took a 2-1 lead in the 24th minute with yet another tally from senior Nathan Douglas. The Winnipeg, Canada, native skillfully played the ball around a drawn-out-keeper and showed great patience in waiting for the right moment to scoot the ball into the goal.
The Concordia equalizer came in the eighth minute, less than two-and-a-half minutes after Kyle Jisa scored for Wesleyan, when freshman midfielder Carlos Acosta nailed his second goal of the season, knotting the score at 1-1.
“I thought the ref was going to call a handball,” Acosta said through teammate Donal Landrum, who served as a translator. “When I thought that, I kicked the ball in. When I saw it go in and the ref didn’t call it, I just celebrated.”
The Bulldogs’ took further control of the game by capitalizing on penalty kicks. Junior Chris DeFeyter extended his career high goal count to six by drilling a PK in the 63rd minute. Fellow junior Rajan Kooner also put away a penalty kick goal, giving him his first career goal in the 75th minute. Kooner just did get it past goalkeeper Turner Mead, who got a hand on the ball as he dove to his right.
With just a single conference loss in which Concordia outshot Dordt 24-4, Weides feels good about his team entering the back half of the conference season.
“Definitely pleased,” Weides said. “We’ve played pretty well in all of our GPAC games overall. We’re close to being undefeated in GPAC play, but we’re just trying to take one game at a time and really focus on the next game. It doesn’t matter if we’re first right now, it’s where we’re at towards the end of the year.”
Douglas’ goal on Saturday gave him 11 on the season, tying a career high he set as both a sophomore and junior. He now has 40 goals in his standout career.
Concordia dominated the shot statistics, totaling 18 shots compared to three for Nebraska Wesleyan. The Bulldogs put 10 shots on frame and limited the Prairie Wolves to three shots on goal. Individually, Douglas and sophomore Dean Stevens both fired five shots apiece to lead Concordia.
The Bulldogs take a week off from game action before returning to the pitch next Saturday to take on Northwestern (8-5-1, 4-1-1 GPAC) in Orange, City, Iowa, at 5 p.m. Last season the Red Raiders picked up a 2-0 win over Concordia on senior day in Seward in the regular-season finale.