SIOUX CITY, Iowa – It’s difficult to get on the topic of Concordia University men’s soccer these days without discussing injuries. An already wounded squad played without starting goalkeeper Eduardo Alba on Saturday (Oct. 19) while attempting to get by with a ‘next man in’ mantra. The Bulldogs hung with Briar Cliff in a game that went scoreless for the first 75 minutes before the host Chargers struck twice and won, 2-0, in Sioux City, Iowa.
The injuries have mounted at an inopportune time for 12th-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad, which just finished up a daunting stretch of conference play that put Concordia up against all of the GPAC’s top title contenders.
“I think our guys adjusted really well to all the changes we had to make,” Weides said of the lineup and formation shuffling. “We played really differently than we normally do. For a large majority of the game we executed the game plan really well. We probably only allowed them one good scoring chance in the first half. The chances were pretty even in the first half. Our guys defended pretty well and we knew that was going to be the name of the game today. Though the result is disappointing, there are certainly some positives to take away.”
Sophomore Callum Goldsmith got the start in goal and was credited with eight saves. The final shot count showed Briar Cliff (9-4-1, 7-1 GPAC) with a 23-5 advantage. Statistically, the Chargers had their way during a second half that saw them outshoot the Bulldogs, 15-3. Eventually Briar Cliff cracked the scoreboard with a goal from Rodrigo Oliveira in the 76th minute. Ben Jefferies added some breathing room with a goal in the 83rd minute.
In order to maximize its chances, Concordia went with more a defensive approach on Saturday. The hope was to hold down the Chargers and capitalize on a counter attack. There were not many opportunities for the Bulldogs, who put three shots on goal. Mauro Figueroa jumped into the starting lineup for Concordia and fired off two shots.
Plagued by injuries and a tough run through the GPAC, Concordia is now 0-3-1 over its past four games. Despite the rough patch, the Bulldogs have three very meaningful games remaining in the regular season.
“We showed we can execute a game plan effectively today,” Weides said. “We were able to compete with a top team in the conference down seven (injured) guys. We can compete with anybody. The disappointing thing is we felt like we could have won this game. We were right there most of the way.”
The Bulldogs will have a mid-week bye that could perhaps allow for time to heal up. Concordia will return to action next Saturday (Oct. 26) when it is slated to host Jamestown (6-7, 3-4 GPAC) at 3:30 p.m. CT.