SEWARD, Neb. – Chalk this one up as another workmanlike effort for a Concordia University men’s soccer team that just finds ways to win. Down a starter who scored two goals in the victory four days earlier? Next man in! Evan Hayden, Moises Jacobo and Roger de la Villa turned in a goal apiece as the Bulldogs defeated Northwestern, 3-1, inside Bulldog Stadium on Saturday (Sept. 21).
With the victory, 12th-year head coach Jason Weides surpassed Dr. Jack Kinworthy for the most coaching wins in program history. Weides notched No. 114 as Concordia moved to 7-0 overall (2-0 GPAC) on the season.
“We feel like we’ve got some good quality depth,” Weides said. “The reality is that we have some guys who didn’t play who have the ability to step on the field for us. I’m really pleased that whether it’s because of an injury, someone’s not playing great or because of a skillset someone brings off the bench – every single time someone’s stepping on and making an impact. That was certainly the case today. Those things are really helpful.”
While senior standout Carlos Ferrer was sidelined on Saturday, the Bulldogs returned senior center back Evan Hayden to the lineup. After missing the previous three games, Hayden wasted little time in making a big impact. He put home his first goal of the season to provide a 1-0 advantage in the third minute. Less than four minutes later, Concordia celebrated Jacobo’s team leading fifth goal of the season.
Starting fast was a key this week. The Bulldogs also blitzed Bellevue on Tuesday with three first half goals. The thing is, you never know where they’re coming from.
“I think (our depth) is what sets us apart from a lot of teams,” Hayden said. “We’re 7-0 right now. Maybe in years past if we have key players go down we don’t continue to fight through and continue to get the results we want. Nothing better you can ask for than a 7-0 start. We just have to keep going.”
In terms of the shot count, this game was actually dead even (nine total shots and six shots on goal apiece). Northwestern (3-5, 0-1 GPAC) settled in after Concordia’s early onslaught and made a game of it. Matthew Roll scored in the 17th minute and it was a one-goal margin until de la Villa’s answer in the 62nd minute. The Red Raiders tested Bulldog keeper Eduardo Alba with a dangerous free kick strike around the 55th minute. Alba made the save to preserve what was then a 2-1 lead.
The seven wins in a row equals the longest streak put together by the 2017 Concordia team that won a school record 16 games. The ’17 group did not suffer a defeat until game No. 12 (started 10-0-1) of that campaign. The consistency shown by the current squad keeps coming back to depth.
“I think the biggest factor for us honestly is depth,” Weides said. “We’ve actually had a large amount of injuries. We’ve come up against some teams that have had injuries, but our depth has helped carry us through some of the tough things we’ve dealt with, really since game two. This group has lofty ambitions for what they want to accomplish this year.”
Next up, the Bulldogs will take on a Kansas Wesleyan University (0-5) team that was ranked in the preseason but has struggled so far. Concordia edged the Coyotes, 3-2, last season in a matchup played in Salina, Kan.