OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – If the opener is any indication, the Concordia University men’s soccer program will continue to be a tough squad to contend with in 2019. In the season opener on Saturday (Aug. 24) afternoon, the Bulldogs earned a quality road victory by taking a 2-0 decision at Oklahoma City University. A pair of freshmen got on the board with their first career goals and Concordia showcased a new keeper.
This is the beginning of year 12 for Jason Weides as head coach. His latest victory spoiled a day in which Oklahoma City named its field after longtime coach Brian Harvey.
“Overall it was a really good performance,” Weides said. “Oklahoma City is a good team and they’ve had a long history of success. We knew we had a tough opening test. The thing that’s most pleasing beyond the win is that it was a big step forward from our scrimmage game we had a week ago. I thought collectively we were so much better in so many areas of the game. The other takeaway is we played a fair amount of subs and every single one of them made an impact.”
Preseason training gave Weides an indication that this squad would have the potential for many offensive contributors. The leading returning goal scorers are seniors Carlos Ferrer and Roger de la Villa, but on this day it was the rookies who emerged. Freshman Renzo Bozzo of Santiago, Chile, was credited with the game winner that broke a scoreless draw in the 53rd minute. Fellow freshman Moises Jacobo of Grand Island, Neb., supplied some breathing room with a goal in the 76th minute. Junior Joao Pedro Verissimo assisted on both goals.
Weides appreciated the havoc his team created, generating 19 shots, including nine on goal. There will be plenty more opportunities for others to fill the goal scoring role moving forward.
“I was impressed with our box play,” Weides said. “We did well on set plays. Ultimately we got two goals and had a shutout and we created a lot of chances. Even in the first half when it was 0-0 we created enough chances to score. I think that was a real positive takeaway. It was just a good team performance.”
From a defensive standpoint, Concordia was able to limit the Stars (0-1) to four shots on goal (12 shots total). Freshman goalkeeper Eduardo Alba denied each one of those shots on frame in picking up the shutout. Alba won the keeper position, which has regularly been filled with all-conference performers in recent years.
Alba, Bozzo and Jacob were the three newcomers to get the call in the starting lineup. Sophomore Decker Mattimoe also made the first start of his career. Ferrer is the most experienced player on the roster. Saturday marked the 60th game Ferrer has played in as a Bulldog.
Harvey has led the Oklahoma City men’s team to 10 Sooner Athletic Conference titles and more than 400 victories during his tenure that began in 1986. Harvey also serves as the head women’s soccer coach. The Stars men’s team is coming off an 11-5 record during a 2018 campaign in which it ranked 11th nationally in goals scored per game. They were shut down on this particular day.
“It was a good defensive performance and it wasn’t just the keeper and back four,” Weides said. “I thought we pressed pretty well. That was an area of significant improvement from a week ago.”
The Bulldogs will return to Seward to host their home opener on Tuesday (Aug. 27) when rival York College (1-0) pays a visit. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CT from Bulldog Stadium.