The fourth-ranked Cougars earned their fifth straight win in a 2-1 contest against Concordia
Azusa Pacific men’s soccer has high expectations game in and game out. The Cougars are currently ranked fourth overall in NCAA DII. There is little room for error as championship aspirations are front and center before, during and after each match.
The mentality was no different on Saturday night as the Cougars went into their game against Concordia looking to continue their hopes for a championship season. The Concordia Eagles came into this match an even 2-2, while the Cougars came in undefeated at 4-0. The Cougars were expected to come out strong against Concordia and didn’t disappoint in the first half.
Establishing the tempo quickly and offensive-minded has been the bread and butter for this Cougars squad this year. The Cougars have only allowed two goals in the first half so far this season, with both coming against Cal Poly Pomona in a 4-3 comeback win on Sept. 12. In contrast, APU has tallied seven goals in the first half this season, establishing themselves early in contests.
In this match, it was no different as APU struck first in the 14th minute, with a goal from sophomore midfielder Grégoire Diep. This was Diep’s first goal of the season. Scoring contributions continue to come from across the roster. Part of what has made this Cougars team so dangerous this season has been their depth offensively. The Cougars have a plethora of weapons at their disposal and it is evident that their ability to attack any time can be overwhelming for opposing defenses.
APU didn’t stop there, adding a second goal at the end of the first half, which would also be their last of the game, on a shot from junior David Kwinn, his fourth goal in five games. Going into halftime with a 2-0 lead, the Cougars put their emphasis on defense in the second half.
As the next 45 minutes played out, the tempo of the game slowed down considerably, and APU found themselves protecting their two-goal lead in order to ensure another victory. There were only a total of five shots taken by both teams in the second half, compared to ten shots in the first half.
Although the offense slowed down, Concordia eventually broke through in the 62nd minute of the match making it a 2-1 game heading into the final minutes. However, the two goals scored in the first half proved to be enough for the Cougars to grab a fifth straight win and continue their undefeated season.
The Cougars will continue their 2019 campaign on the road against Western Washington on Thursday.