SEWARD, Neb. – The result that had eluded the Concordia University men’s soccer team of late surfaced once again on a bone chilling Wednesday (Oct. 30) night inside Bulldog Stadium. Three different Concordia players found the back of the net in dispatching of Doane, 3-0, in the team’s 2019 home regular-season finale. The Bulldogs gained the advantage in the 23rd minute and controlled the action the rest of the way.
The fairly comfortable victory put an end to a run of five-straight games without a win (0-3-2 during that stretch). At 5-3-2 in GPAC play (10-4-2 overall), head coach Jason Weides’ squad can finish as high as fifth in the conference standings.
“Beyond the first five-to-10 minutes of the game, I thought we did some good things moving forward and creating some good chances,” Weides said. “It was a good response to the last couple of weeks. We haven’t gotten the results we wanted, but we have to keep on grinding and keep on fighting. Top to bottom it was a good performance. Everyone who came on the field made an impact.”
At this point in the season, Concordia has had to accept that certain players will be out of the lineup with injury. Fortunately, depth has allowed the Bulldogs to remain a strong challenger to anyone in the GPAC. The lineup Weides employed on Wednesday certainly made life challenging for the Tiger attack, which managed only five shots. Two of which were saved by goalkeeper Callum Goldsmith, who made his third start in a row.
Despite an obvious advantage in possession, Concordia held a modest 1-0 lead for much of the arctic night. Isaiah Shaddick found the back of the net in the 23rd minute and the score remained 1-0 until the 79th minute. That’s when Ryan LeTourneau struck for his fourth goal of 2019. Some pretty passing inside the box then led to Matthew Ho’s score in the 84th minute. Assists were credited to Decker Mattimoe and Moises Jacobo.
The Bulldogs certainly would relish the chance to play again on their home turf, but that won’t happen unless some mayhem breaks out in the GPAC tournament. One senior in four-year starter Carlos Ferrer is just happy to be able to play out the closing stretches of his career after battling back from his own injury problems.
“No one wants their senior season to be ended early,” Ferrer said. “Unfortunately this year we’ve had a couple of guys who have gone through that. I didn’t want to be in that position. I wanted to represent them really well.”
Doane (3-12-1, 2-6-1 GPAC) had been coming off a 3-1 home win over Dakota Wesleyan. The Tigers (currently in ninth place in the GPAC) desperately needed another victory to enhance their chances of reaching the GPAC tournament. Regardless of where Concordia and Doane reside in the standings, their matchups frequently end with overtimes. Last year’s meeting resulted in a 2-2 tie.
The Bulldogs will close out the regular season on Saturday in Mitchell, S.D. Kickoff between Concordia and Dakota Wesleyan (2-10-3, 1-8-1 GPAC) is slated for 6:30 p.m. CT from Pepsi-Cola Soccer Complex. Last season’s matchup in Seward resulted in a 1-0 Bulldog victory via a golden goal from Roger de la Villa.
Said Weides, “We feel like we can be a pretty dangerous postseason team. We felt all season we could have been one of those (GPAC championship) contenders.”