ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Eighteen days after falling 2-0 at Northwestern in regular-season action, Concordia men’s soccer returned to Orange City, Iowa, for the GPAC quarterfinals – with a similar result. The fifth-seeded Bulldogs led 1-0 at halftime, but No. 4 seed Northwestern (12-6-1) controlled the second half for a 3-2 win on Wednesday evening. Concordia ends its season at 10-9 overall.
“I thought we came out and played well in the first half,” Bulldog head coach Jason Weides said. “It was a good combo play with Jake Sells and Gideon Soenksen to score the first goal. We were in good position at half. We wanted to just change a couple things and get that second goal.
“We played with a championship heart. We just fell a little short.”
Down 3-1, senior Nathan Douglas tried to lead a comeback to extend his career. The Winnipeg, Canada, native tucked the ball inside the right post from left of the goal with the keeper out of position. The goal pushed Douglas’ career high count to 14 with roughly 12 minutes to play.
“We worked hard to fight back into the game. Credit to our guys,” Weides said. “We were able to get one back and really fought to try to equalize.”
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs would not score again despite a couple of quality chances, including one close call on a Donal Landrum attack. Northwestern and goalkeeper Aaron Bosch staved off a hard-charging Concordia attack in the final minutes.
A blanket of snow surrounded the field after Orange City saw three inches of snow fall overnight. It made for a treacherous playing surface that both teams had to adjust to.
“It was sloppy as you would expect,” Weides said. “They had three inches of snow that they had to scoop off. It was slippery and muddy. That kind of field makes the game a war. You’re not going to see a pretty game in those conditions.”
Northwestern, which outshot Concordia 25-13 on the night, built a 3-1 advantage with three straight goals – two coming from leading goal scorer Ryan Johnson. His second put the Red Raiders in front 2-1 with 35:47 remaining.
The Red Raiders added the breathing room they would need with Gabriel Goncalves’ line drive into the upper right corner of the net in the 69th minute.
Concordia got on top early when Soenksen found the back of the net at the 12-minute mark with a goal that he scooted across the ground from the left side of the box. That gave the Lincoln native his second goal in as many games.
Making his second-straight start in goal for the injured Brendan Buchanan, freshman Mark Horsburgh played solid most of the way. He came under heavy fire early in the second half with Concordia still leading 1-0. The Edinburgh, Scotland, native made a beautiful save by punching a header attempt over the cross bar to preserve the lead at the time.
Concordia missed out on great opportunity to go up 2-0 when junior Chris DeFeyter just missed on a wide open shot in the box after receiving a well-played cross from junior Rajan Kooner late in the opening half.
Under Weides, Concordia has won 10 or more games in three-consecutive seasons. The Bulldogs won 11 games apiece in 2011 and 2012.
The Bulldogs will have plenty of experience back in 2014 with the lone seniors on this year’s squad being Douglas and goalkeeper Skylar Lewis.