SEWARD, Neb. – This was a feisty one between two longtime rivals separated by 30 short miles across highway 34. A year after seeing a long series win streak put to an end, the Concordia University men’s soccer team earned a measure of revenge by sending York College out of town, tagged with a 3-0 defeat. Roger de la Villa, Isaiah Shaddick and Miguel Munoz notched a goal apiece in Tuesday (Aug. 27) night’s Bulldog victory.
Twelfth-year head coach Jason Weides’ squad has begun the season with a pair of shutout wins. It also defeated Oklahoma City University by a 2-0 final in last week’s season opener.
“Our goal wasn’t to avenge a loss, it was to win this game,” Weides said. “We’re about the here and now and we tried to focus on that. It certainly was chippy early on, but ultimately it was a good learning lesson for our guys. We got caught up in that early on and got a couple silly yellow cards. At halftime we had an opportunity to address that and I think we’ll learn from it and get better from it. I think you saw us respond better in the second half.”
The shutouts are a welcome sight after Concordia posted just one the entire 2018 season. To this point, freshman goalkeeper Eduardo Alba and a back line with a new look has held up their end of the bargain. Alba made a couple of nifty saves, including one roughly midway through the second half that forced him to make a diving denial to his right. Alba made eight saves on the night.
The native of Katy, Texas, won the starting keeper role in a job that was up for grabs in the preseason. He seems to possess the type of passion that becomes infectious within a team atmosphere. He and the back line, which features Evan Hayden and Decker Mattimoe at center back, want to become a strength.
“I think it was determination – it’s a ball-hawk (mentality),” Alba said of his highlight reel saves. “I know a save is more about me. It’s for the team. It goes further than that. After that save we got a goal and it changed the game around.”
Another solid defensive effort meant that the two first-half goals would have been sufficient. They were delivered by one veteran goal scorer in de la Villa and another in Shaddick who is just getting started. De la Villa’s was last season’s leading goal scorer while Shaddick hopes to carry over his prolific striking from his exploits at Lincoln Southwest High School, where he earned a treasure trove of awards.
Then in the 79th minute – in one of the most beautifully executed plays of the night – Hayden found Munoz just outside the six-yard box in the center of the frame. Munoz proceeded to head the ball into the back of the net for an exclamation mark. Through two games, it’s been five unique goal scorer’s for Weides’ club.
“I think we’ll have more guys getting on the scoresheet,” Weides said. “It’s really nice, that way teams can’t just focus on one guy and really try and shut down one guy. We are really going to try and do it as a team.”
The Panthers had hoped to emerge with another road victory over a Nebraska GPAC foe. Five days earlier, York had cruised to a 3-0 win at Doane behind a pair of goals from Otavio Avila. Jorge Alencar took five of the team’s 12 shots on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs will wait until Saturday, Sept. 7 to resume the 2019 season. On that date Concordia will welcome MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.) to Bulldog Stadium for a 1 p.m. CT kickoff. The Pioneers of Olathe, Kan., received votes in the NAIA preseason coaches’ poll.