The Bluejays were vaulted over crosstown rival University Nebraska Omaha on Monday night in a 2-1 victory at Morrison Stadium following an 88th minute goal from senior forward Luke Haakenson.
Senior midfielder Ziyad Fares broke free down the left side for a one-on-one opportunity against the Maverick goalkeeper, but a leaping save by the Jeremy Pollard kept the match scoreless in the 22nd minute.
UNO opened the scoring in the 26th minute of the contest as Marcos Bautista sent a free kick across the box to the back post where Seth Rinderknecht headed the ball past the end line to give UNO a 1-0 lead in what has been dubbed the Dodge Street Derby.
The Bluejays evened the score in the 38th minute as a corner kick from Charles Auguste bounced of multiple players in the box before finding the foot of senior Tor Trosten who volleyed it past Pollard and into the back of the net to tie the game 1-1.
Tensions flared in the crosstown rivalry late in the second half as Omaha’s Miguel Gomez received a straight red card in the 39th minute forcing the Mavericks to play down one man for the remainder of the game. This was part of a game in which a total of 27 fouls, four yellow card and two red cards were called.
On the heated exchanges, Haakenson said, “It’s a rivalry. That’s what it is.”
Despite the one-man advantage, Creighton head coach Johnny Torres wanted his team to remain patient in the second half and not try to break the tie early.
“Even though they were a man down… They’re all backed up in their 18 (yard-box) which makes it very, very difficult to try and break down a team,” said Torres after the game.
With the game knotted at one and heading to the final five minutes, the game looked destined for a tie, or at least overtime.
Instead, Haakenson scored the game-winning goal off an assist from junior defender Musa Qongo in the closing minutes to propel the Bluejays to a hard fought 2-1 lead.
Torres said, “he definitely is a player that has a lot of talent,” of the Johannesburg native Qongo. Qongo is in his first year at Creighton after two years at Tyler Junior College in Texas, where he was named United Soccer Coaches NJCAA All-America First Team in 2018 and aided the Apaches to a 42-5 record in his two years there.
Haakenson spoke on what it takes to stay focused and capitalize on opportunities, such as Creighton’s one-man advantage throughout the second half that aided his late goal.
“For me, it’s just always staying hungry. It’s always the next play, it’s always the next goal that can come, and it’s just staying focused wanting to make sure that when my opportunity does come, that I’m focused in there… In the course of 90 minutes, I’m going to get my opportunities.”
Creighton outshot the Mavericks 13-2.
The Bluejays improved to 3-2-1 on the year, while the Mavericks fell to 0-4-2 overall. Creighton heads to Milwaukee for a matchup against conference foe Marquette on Sept. 20.