Concordia, KS-Making the long trip to Concordia was enough of a challenge. Once the Broncbusters arrived, their journey was the least of their concerns.
Enter Aleksandar Pumpalovic, a redshirt freshman from Winterthur, Switzerland, who not only won the day, but did it in somewhat, dramatic fashion.
Pumpaloic scored twice in the final 19 minutes of the match, helping Cloud County push past Garden City 3-1 on Thursday afternoon.
"It was a really good match," Broncbuster Coach Charles Long said. "We made plays; we just couldn't finish."
Sophomore Felipe Andrade even got Garden City off and rolling early, scoring in the 7th minute for a 1-0 lead.
"We scored first, and we thought we had all the momentum," Long said. "But it was still early."
The Broncbusters took that lead into the half.
But this match was decided late in the second half by a player that's travelemed more miles than most.
First, Ryan Medilah headed in the equalizer 15 minutes into the second frame off a beatiful assist by Rafael Santos. Then it was Pumpalovic, giving the Thunderbirds the lead for good with a goal off a penalty kick with 19 minutes remaining. Five minutes after that, he broke the Broncbusters back by drilling home another penalty kick for a 3-1 advantage.
"They missed some calls, but at the end of the day, we had two penalty kicks called against us," Long said. "It was very unfortunate. They ejected one of my players, so we were a man down a good portion of the second half."
It's the second time this season that the Broncbusters were done in in the final minutes against Cloud County. In their first meeting back on September 1, Santos's goal in the 84th minute sealed a 2-1 victory. 15 days later, Santos's assists led to the equalizer before Pumpalovic provided the heroics.
The loss drops Garden City to 6-4 overall and 1-2 in conference play. Cloud County, who's receiving votes in the national poll, improved to 4-0-1.
Next up: Garden City vs. Hesston-Saturday 7 p.m. at Broncbuster Stadium