De la Villa's golden goal supplies much needed victory

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 13, 2018 in Men's Soccer

SEWARD, Neb. – After the draw at Doane on Wednesday, the Concordia University men’s soccer team knew the importance of protecting its home turf on Saturday (Oct. 13). For the fifth time in seven conference games, the Bulldogs conceded the contest’s first goal and again had to dig out of a hole. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, they were able to celebrate when Roger de la Villa ended the game, 2-1, with a golden goal to beat Dakota Wesleyan in the 93rd minute.

It had to be a bit of a sigh of relief for 11th-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad, which has shown capable of competing with the top teams in the GPAC. Concordia is now 7-4-2 overall and 3-2-2 in conference play (fifth place).

“It was a little bit of the same story of conceding the first goal,” Weides said. “I think it was a little bit unfortunate in that their goal was off a free kick that came out on a deflection. Those things are going to happen. Were able to overcome it. I told the team that some days you’re not able to do exactly what you want. There’s an opponent trying to stop you from doing that. Dakota Wesleyan did a good job of doing that today.”

If nothing else, the Bulldogs have gotten solid results in games that have gone to overtime. They’re now 2-0-2 in those instances. The other victory also came at home – a 3-2 decision over McPherson College (Kan.) on Sept. 12. Jack Arra played the role of hero then. This time it was de la Villa, who played a nice ball from Carlos Ferrer to the left of the keeper while tucking it inside the left post.

“We’re kind of used to it,” de la Villa said of overtime. “We like to start quick and fast (in overtime) and finish the game as soon as we can. That was what happened today. The biggest thing is to be able to help the team win.”

It wasn’t always pretty, but they got it done. Statistically, the Bulldogs were the better team. They outshot Dakota Wesleyan, 20-7, and had a 9-2 advantage in corner kicks. Concordia came up dangerously close to taking a lead at halftime. On a play that occurred around the 38-minute mark, A Tiger defender cleared the ball off the goal line. Just seconds later, de la Villa’s well-struck shot was denied.

Dakota Wesleyan (4-8-1, 1-5-1 GPAC) certainly put a score into the Bulldogs. Julian Mole’s goal in the 59th minute gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Seven minutes later, Jack Arra chased down a rebound off a missed shot by Konrad Sinu and tapped in for the equalizer.

If Concordia learned anything over the past week, it’s that nothing can be taken for granted within conference play.

“Every game is going to be tough,” Weides said. “There are no slouches in the GPAC. Anybody is capable of forcing you into errors and making you have to play your best. I think when we’re at our best we can play with anybody. When we’re not at our best, anybody can compete with us. It’s disappointing that we didn’t walk away with six points this week, but there is nothing we can do to change that. We can only look forward.”

Callum Goldsmith got the start at keeper once again. He made a pair of saves. On the other side, Gaston Miteff collected six saves.

The Bulldogs now enter a stretch of three road games in a row. Up next is a clash at Mount Marty (2-5-2, 0-3-2 GPAC) at 3:15 p.m. CT on Tuesday. The Lancers were in action Saturday evening versus Midland. Last year’s meeting between Concordia and Mount Marty resulted in a 6-0 Bulldog victory.