Dominant first half keys road victory

By Jacob Knabel on Sep. 12, 2020 in Men's Soccer

OLATHE, Kan. – Unlike its season opener, the Concordia University Men’s Soccer Team jumped its opponent early on and dominated first-half action while venturing on the road for the first time this 2020 season. The Bulldogs ruled the shot count (17-8) and coasted to a 2-1 win over MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kan., on Saturday (Sept. 12) afternoon. It was a nice rebound from the 3-1 home loss to Bellevue University three days earlier.

Thirteenth-year Head Coach Jason Weides saw a squad that looks much more like the one he believes can contend for a spot near the top of the GPAC standings. Concordia is 1-1 with one nonconference game left on the slate.

“We really did start better,” Weides said. “Top to bottom it was a much better performance. We made some great improvements from the first game and made them fairly quickly. We were much more organized defensively and that really helped us keep possession. We created some good chances in that first half.”

New starters on Saturday included Michael Lindberg, Victor Meneses, Carlos Orquiz and Andrea Simonetti (first career start at keeper). The first 11 did the job on Saturday. By halftime the Bulldogs held a 2-0 lead and a 13-2 shot advantage. A goal apiece came courtesy of sophomore Isaiah Shaddick (13’) and freshman Ryan Wokutch (42’). Assists were credited by Moises Jacobo and Yessine Bessaies. The Bulldogs also had a goal wiped out by an offside call.

There were plenty of other contributors for a team with considerable depth. Weides called upon a total of 16 players on Saturday.

“We really feel like we have some good competition – not just 11 guys,” Weides said. “There are a lot of guys fighting for spots. A few guys over the last couple practices really stood out and shined. They got their opportunity and some of them really took that opportunity.”

The Pioneers (0-1) are historically a strong program having finished as the 2015 NAIA national runner up. A member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference, MNU went 6-10-2 overall last season. The lone Pioneer goal came in the 87th minute (Winder Pessoa PK) and made for a more nervous final few minutes.

Weides will want to clean up some of the team’s defensive play in the box. The Bulldogs have already conceded three penalty kick goals in two games. The PK was the only thing that prevented Andrea Simonetti from a clean sheet. He made three saves in his Bulldog debut.

The Bulldogs will return home to welcome Kansas Wesleyan University (0-0) to town on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. CT matchup. This will mark the fourth-straight season that the two programs have gone head-to-head. Concordia has won two of the past three meetings (last two decided by a one-goal margin). The Coyotes have yet to play in 2020 due to postponements of games scheduled for Sept. 5 and 12.