SEWARD, Neb. – Both Bulldog goals scored on Saturday (Sept. 18) were worthy of the highlight reel as part of a day when visiting Mount Marty made the Concordia University Men’s Soccer team earn it. There were chances to put away a third goal, but the Bulldogs made the exploits of Garrett Perry and Yessine Bessaïes hold up in a 2-0 win. The Lancers played Concordia to a 0-0 stalemate through the opening 50 minutes inside Bulldog Stadium.
This was the result Head Coach Jason Weides and his side were seeking after having gone 0-3-1 over the previous four games against strong competition, including No. 10 Bellevue University. The Bulldogs moved to 3-3-1 overall (1-0 GPAC).
“I think we took a step closer to where we need to be,” Weides said. “We had closer to the mentality we’re looking for each and every day. It was a game we felt frustrated in the first half because we had some good chances. We weren’t able to get on that front foot in the first half. There were some good things that happened in the first half, but we had nothing to show for it. Mount Marty made it tough on us for sure. I was glad to see us come out in the second half with some good intensity and good mentality.”
The Lancers (3-2-1, 1-1 GPAC), who opened conference play with a 3-1 win over Doane, have improved considerably in recent seasons. Mount Marty earned a draw with Concordia last season and threatened to accomplish a similar result on Saturday. The Lancers held the Bulldogs off the scoreboard in the first half despite being outshot, 7-3.
Mount Marty really did not appear to be in any danger on the game’s first goal, a laser of a strike from Perry, who unleashed a left-footed shot inside the left post. The shot left goalkeeper Jose Quinonez with little chance of making a save. Concordia had barely finished celebrating when Bessaïes’ hustle led to a two-goal advantage. After his own free kick was deflected to the far left of the 18-yard box, Bessaïes chased the ball down and tucked a shot inside the right post.
In goal, keeper Federico Simonetti recorded the clean sheet while making four saves. The Bulldog back line made up for the absence of captain João Pedro Veríssimo while earning a shutout for the first time since the 4-0 win over Tabor College (Kan.) on Aug. 28.
The results may not have been as expected lately, but Concordia remains confident. Said Perry, “The boys are pushing and fighting. There’s a confidence in this team. Everyone knows that we can do it.”
Added Weides, “The record isn’t where we want it. It’s really unusual for us to go four games without a win. We also didn’t really panic. We didn’t feel like it was a situation where we had to restart or start from scratch. We have to trust the process and know we’ll get there. In terms of us accomplishing our goals and being successful this season, it’s a grind. Though we don’t have anyone in the top 10 in the nation in our conference, there’s still good teams. The competitive nature of our conference continues to get better.”
Quinonez did come through with a save of a Bulldog penalty kick in the 62nd minute. Concordia finished with a 12-6 advantage in shots and a slight edge, 5-4, in corner kicks.
Up next, the Bulldogs will host Dordt (1-5-2, 0-1 GPAC) at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday. Concordia hopes to duplicate the 4-1 decision it took over the Defenders last season.