SEWARD, Neb. – This week will go a long ways in regards to deciding how big of a factor the Concordia University men’s soccer team will be in the race for the GPAC regular-season title. The Bulldogs will be taking on two perennially strong GPAC programs this week while hosting Midland on Wednesday before hitting the road to play No. 5 Hastings on Saturday. Midland and Hastings are a combined 7-1 in GPAC play.
Wednesday, Oct. 9 vs. Midland (7-3-1, 3-1 GPAC), 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 12 at (5) Hastings (8-0-1, 4-0 GPAC), 8 p.m.
Head coach Jason Weides’ squad remains perfect in GPAC play at 4-0 (9-1 overall). After a week between games, Concordia returned to action this past Saturday and earned a 2-0 home win over Mount Marty. The contest was scoreless for nearly 80 minutes before Carlos Orquiz and Garrett Perry struck for highlight reel worthy goals to help sink an improving Lancer squad. The Bulldogs have now won nine meetings in a row over Mount Marty, which played Hastings wire-to-wire in a 1-0 double overtime loss for the Lancers on Sept. 21.
Concordia will have to make its championship push without the services of senior Roger de la Villa, who suffered in an injury prior to the 5-0 win at Dordt on Sept. 28. Thankfully for the Bulldogs, their depth has helped cover for injuries to a number of starters. All-conference performer Carlos Ferrer has also missed the past four games. Despite some of that misfortune, Concordia has outscored its opponents by a combined total of 33-7 while seeing 16 different players find the back of the net. Moises Jacobo leads the way with six goals this season. Meanwhile, freshman goalkeeper Eduardo Alba and his teammates rank second in the GPAC in terms of fewest goals allowed per game (0.70).
Midland has gotten on a role of its own three-straight GPAC wins: 2-0 over Mount Marty, 6-1 over Morningside and 5-1 over Dakota Wesleyan. The blowout of Morningside was particularly eye opening considering the Mustangs had received votes in the NAIA national poll. The Warriors have outscored their opponents, 36-12, with the help of seven goals by Robert Wiseman. Concordia is 3-0-1 in its last four matchups with Midland. The tie occurred last season in the GPAC tournament quarterfinals. The Bulldogs advanced by winning the PK shootout.
A yearly favorite in the GPAC, Hastings ended Concordia’s 2018 season in the GPAC semifinals. The Bulldogs have not beaten the Broncos since the upset that came in the 2015 GPAC tournament championship game. Head coach Tim Bohnenkamp’s program remains formidable despite graduating Daniel Whitehall, who scored 93 goals in his collegiate career. The 2019 Hastings team has been especially tough to crack from a defensive standpoint. The Broncos have only allowed their foes three goals through nine games. It’s been a key to Hastings winning five times by one-goal margins.
After leaving Hastings on Saturday night, Concordia will shift focus next week to games versus Morningside on Wednesday, Oct. 16 and at Briar Cliff on Saturday, Oct. 19.