ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Considering how last season ended in heartbreak in Orange City, Iowa, it wasn’t hard for Concordia University Men’s Soccer to get hyped for Saturday (Sept. 25)’s matchup at Northwestern. However, the Bulldogs were unable to earn any measure of revenge as the Red Raiders eked out the latest matchup, 1-0, on the strength of a goal in the 65th minute. For most of the afternoon, Northwestern stymied Concordia’s attacking efforts.
Head Coach Jason Weides’ squad has actually moved past the halfway point of the regular season and stands at 4-4-1 overall (2-1 GPAC). Each of the last three defeats have been decided by one-goal margins.
“It was a game that could have gone either way,” Weides said. “Despite a decent amount of shots and corners there weren’t a lot of clear-cut good chances. It was kind of a box-to-box scrum, a pretty physical and direct game overall. We knew it was going to be a bit more of a direct game. It was one of those frustrating ones where we just couldn’t find the back of the net. The first 10 minutes of the second half I thought we were really dictating the game. We pushed them all the way to the end.”
The physicality was evident in the fouls and yellow card counts. In the face of that type of contest, Concordia hung tough and fended off a number of dangerous services in the box. Finally, the Red Raiders broke through with Niklas Fitter’s goal in the 65th minute. It was one of eight shots put on goal by Northwestern. The other seven were saved by Gabriel Mendoza, who has made back-to-back starts at keeper.
The Bulldogs were outshot, 13-7 (8-5 in shots on goal), for the game. The Red Raiders also had an 11-1 advantage in corner kicks. Concordia had one last attempt in the final few seconds, but a potential equalizer was sailed over the goal. Yessine Bessaïes put two shots on frame as one of the more active attacking Bulldogs. Ezekiel Foltz (five saves) earned credit for the shutout in goal for the victors.
Said Weides, “I thought the guys had a good mentality and fought hard. We just came up a little short. We had a lot of guys playing at a really solid, consistent level.”
Northwestern (7-1-1, 3-0 GPAC) has a chance to for a special season. Three days earlier, the Red Raiders defeated No. 23 Morningside, 2-1, in overtime. They also knocked off another of the GPAC’s top teams in Briar Cliff, 2-0, on Sept. 18. Northwestern received votes in this week’s NAIA Coaches’ Poll.
Concordia will close the month of September on Wednesday when it hosts Midland (4-4, 1-2 GPAC). Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. CT from Bulldog Stadium. The two sides played each other this past spring with the result being a 4-2 win for the Bulldogs.