SALEM, Ore. – Following a travel day on Wednesday out to the Pacific Northwest, the Concordia University Men’s Soccer team rang in the 2022 season on Thursday (Aug. 25) in hot and muggy weather in Salem, Ore. The Bulldogs showed no signs of jetlag while holding off Cascade Collegiate Conference opponent Northwest University (Wash.), 1-0, as part of the Corban Jamboree. Concordia used 18 different players to help combat the heat and got a 70th-minute goal from Ryan Wokutch.
This was the first time in his 15 seasons as head coach that Jason Weides had ever taken the program out to Oregon. The victory will only enhance the unique experience.
“Northwest is a good team that returned a lot from last season, so we knew we were going to be up for a challenge,” Weides said. “It was certainly a tough game. We walked away with a win after a long day of travel. Our guys showed really good energy and effort. They weren’t going to let travel be an excuse. Overall I was really pleased. Most of that first half, we were all over them. They came out in the second half and were much better than us in the opening minutes before we settled into the game. It was about grinding out a 1-0 game. It wasn’t pretty at times, but we did enough to squeak by. We’ll find ways to improve heading into our next game.”
A nice contingent of Bulldog fans witnessed the win in Salem, Ore., where a four-team event is taking place. A major moment on Thursday came in the 15th minute when the Northwest goalkeeper was issued a red card for for recklessness that resulted in a Bulldog being leveled to the ground. Despite the man advantage, Concordia waited until the 70th minute to find the back of the net.
For Wokutch, a native of Paola, Kan., it was the continuation of a strong run during preseason. His strike (ninth career goal) was assisted by Dominic Abdel-Ahad. The latter was one of four players to make their Bulldog debuts. Wokutch was active on the attack in putting three shots on frame over the 90 minutes.
As a team, Concordia held an overall advantage of 12-4 in the shot category. Federico Simonetti emerged from the battle at goalkeeper to start the match. He collected three saves on his way to a clean sheet. One of those saves came in the 89th minute as the Eagles made a late push for a draw. Dangerous Northwest striker Elliot Misic (15 goals in 2021) managed just one shot. In other words, it was a nice first outing for a backline that includes captain and Second Team All-GPAC honoree Iker Casanova.
Said Weides, “We played well overall. They have a really good striker. I thought our guys did a good job to hold him in check throughout the game. Certainly it was harder for them to create shots once that red card came, but our guys did a good job to limit quality opportunities.”
With an off day on Friday, the Bulldogs will recover while also taking in some sights. The team plans to head to Silver Falls State Park and also hangout on the beach. Said Weides, “We want to enjoy the experience while we’re here and have some fun.”
Action from Salem will resume on Saturday as the Bulldogs will take on host Corban University at 1 p.m. PT / 3 p.m. CT. The Warriors began their season on Thursday with a 3-0 shutout of GPAC foe and 25th-ranked Northwestern. Since 2013, the Corban program has reached the national tournament seven times. Links to live coverage are included below.