May 11, 2021
Missouri Valley College

The No. 4 Missouri Valley College men’s soccer team played No. 2 Oklahoma Wesleyan in the 2020 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship Final Monday evening at Blanchard Woods Park, north of Augusta, Ga.  The Vikings took the lead late in the first half, then used a late goal to seal a 2-0 victory, and claim the program’s first National championship.

Both teams created chances early in the first half, with the first shot on goal coming with nearly nine minutes played, resulting in the first save of the contest for Sophomore Goalkeeper Dusan Milosevic (Belgrade, Serbia).  The first shot on goal for Missouri Valley came two minutes later, but the attempt from Junior Forward Ruben Jimenez (Barcelona, Spain) was saved.  Just over one minute later, Senior Midfielder Luka Gluscevic (Belgrade, Serbia) added another shot on goal, which was saved.  Both teams traded possession over the next stretch of play, and Milosevic came up with another save midway through the half.  Sophomore Midfielder Kainan Dos Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil) added a shot on goal just over one minute later, but his attempt was also saved.  With six minutes remaining in the half, Dos Santos produced another chance, and put a rebound attempt past the Oklahoma Wesleyan keeper and into goal to put MVC in front, 1-0.  Freshman Midfielder Aleksa Cobanovic (Belgrade, Serbia) and Sophomore Forward Paulo Alves (Curitiba, Brazil) nearly increased the lead with three minutes to play before the break, but Missouri Valley went into halftime with a 1-0 lead.

Missouri Valley created the first shot on goal in the second half, coming with nearly 14 minutes played, but the chance from Steven Milosevic was saved.  Midway through the half, Junior Forward Aleksandar Trujic (Brcko, Bosnia & Herzegovina) and Cobanovic each had shots saved.  Oklahoma Wesleyan followed with pressure, and eventually forced Milosevic into another save.  Moments later, the Eagles had a shot hit off the post.  Oklahoma Wesleyan held the better of possession over the next several minutes, but Missouri Valley earned a penalty kick with 14-minutes remaining in the game.  The PK from Gluscevic was saved, and the MVC lead stayed at 1-0.  The Eagles could not produce another quality chance until just after the 83-minute mark.  Milosevic earned another pair of saves, but the Vikings had one more chance to seal the victory.  Alves and Trujic set up Dos Santos from 12-yards out from goal, and gave the team a 2-0 lead with four minutes remaining in the contest.  Milosevic made one more save in the closing moments, and Missouri Valley earned a 2-0 win, securing the program’s first National championship.

Dos Santos led with two goals, and finished the season with 18 goals and 43 total points.  Dos Santos scored five goals and added four assists in the National postseason tournament.  Alves added his seventh assist, and Trujic assist No. 11 on the season.  Milosevic made seven saves in goal and secured his sixth shutout of the season, and second of the National tournament.

Four Vikings were named to the All-Tournament Team.  Gluscevic, Dos Santos, Trujic and Senior Defender Gianmarco Donnini (Florence, Italy).  Donnini was named the Most Outstanding Defender of the Tournament, Dos Santos was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the Tournament, and Gluscevic was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament.

The win finishes puts the Vikings at 18-4-2 to end the season, and Oklahoma Wesleyan falls to 21-3-1 with the loss.

The Missouri Valley men’s soccer team secures the program’s first National championship, and is now 1-2 all-time in the National championship match.  Head Coach Vladimir Simic wins his first National championship, and now has a 20-8-2 overall record in the National tournament in 10 appearances.

The soccer program becomes the fourth program in school-history to win a National championship, joining men’s wrestling (1996-97, 2003), cheer (2001, 2013, 2018), women’s wrestling (2001) and football (1947).