SEWARD, Neb. – This will be a week that helps separate the pretenders from the contenders when it comes to the race for the GPAC regular season title. The Concordia University Men’s Soccer team picked up three much-needed standings points this past Saturday with its comeback win over Northwestern. The Bulldogs now hope to clean up some of the mistakes they made last week as they look forward to playing at Midland on Wednesday before coming back home to host Dakota Wesleyan on Saturday. Head Coach Jason Weides’ squad enters the week with an overall record of 7-2 (2-1 GPAC).
Wednesday, Sept. 28 at Midland (5-1-2, 1-1-1 GPAC), 7:15 p.m.
--Live Webcast | Live Stats
Saturday, Oct. 1 vs. Dakota Wesleyan (1-6-1, 0-2 GPAC), 3:30 p.m.
By the numbers
· Concordia entered last week ranked second in the official GPAC rating posted on the NAIA website. That rating may change a bit after last week’s results. The Bulldogs were uncharacteristically sloppy in their 4-3 loss at Dordt on Sept. 21. Concordia ended the week on a high note when it scored two goals in the span of less than three minutes to erase a 1-0 deficit, sending Northwestern home in disappointment. With six points towards the GPAC standings, the Bulldogs sit fourth in the league behind Hastings (3-0), Dordt (2-0-1) and Morningside (2-0-1) in the early going.
· Seemingly every Bulldog game so far in 2022 has been tense down to the very last seconds. Seven of the team’s first nine games have been decided by one-goal margins with the only exceptions being 2-0 Concordia victories over both York College and Bethany College (Kan.). An encouraging sign has been the ability of the Bulldogs to emerge victorious in the close ones. They are 5-2 in the seven matches decided by a single goal. Eventually, Concordia expects a larger goal outburst. Its season high of three goals has been attained twice.
· Eighty-three minutes into the contest with Northwestern, which shared the 2022 GPAC regular season title, the Bulldogs appeared to be headed for an 0-2 week within the conference. That’s when Ryan Wokutch emerged as the hero. First, in the 84th minute, Orquiz volleyed a free kick into the box that Wokutch managed to redirect past goalkeeper Ezekiel Foltz. Roughly two-and-a-half minutes later, the native of Paola, Kan., showed off his track speed in outrunning a pair of Northwestern defenders for a ball led into the box by Max Bisinger. Wokutch then slid the ball to the right of a flat-footed Foltz. Concordia saw out the 2-1 lead from there.
· Through nine games, Concordia has outscored its opponents by a combined total of 16-9. Orquiz paces the team with four goals (three on penalty kicks). He’s followed by Dominic Abdel-Ahad (three), Wokutch (three) and Miguel Navarro (two). The following Bulldogs have scored one goal this season: Martin Herrera, Jarrod Henson, Carter Hinman and Matt Schultz. While Isaiah Shaddick is still looking for his first goal of 2022, he leads the team with three assists. Abdel-Ahad has been the team’s most active attacker with 18 total shots (eight on goal). As for the keepers, Callum Goldsmith, Gabriel Mendoza and Federico Simonetti have each made at least two starts.
· Concordia and Midland have engaged in many memorable battles since Weides began his head coaching tenure in 2008. Back in 2015, the Bulldogs got past the Warriors in the GPAC semifinals via a penalty kick shootout. The ’15 squad went on to win the GPAC tournament title and qualify for nationals. Concordia also bounced Midland from the 2018 GPAC tournament in another PK shootout that occurred in the quarterfinals. Weides owns a career record of 9-8-3 versus Midland. Meanwhile, he is 9-5 against Dakota Wesleyan. The Bulldogs have won eight of the last 10 over the Tigers.
Midland is poised to outperform its 2021 overall record of 8-10 (5-6 GPAC). Through eight games, the Warriors have outscored their opponents by a combined total of 11-6. Patrick Long and Pietro Musso pace the team with three goals apiece. Head Coach Josh Nakayama’s squad ranks 31st nationally in terms of goals against average (0.77). In conference play, Midland drew with Jamestown, 0-0, defeated Presentation, 1-0, and lost to Dordt, 1-0.
Coming off a 4-13-1 (3-7-1 GPAC) record in 2021, Dakota Wesleyan is looking to shake off GPAC losses this season to Hastings, 6-0, and Briar Cliff, 3-0. The Tigers have been outscored through their first eight games, 27-4. Isias Pio has notched two of the team’s four goals. Head Coach Nicolas Reinhard is in his first season leading the program.
The slate will follow an away-home pattern again next week with the Bulldogs playing at Morningside on Oct. 5 and then hosting Jamestown on Oct. 8.