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From left: A.J. Correa, Dyaln Tiepelman-Albregts, Matthew McLaughlin and Riley Dulaney at practice earlier in August. Photos by Nick Skoda

Troy Buchanan boy’s soccer team played Pattonville, De Smet and Fort Zumwalt West in a pre-season jamboree over the weekend, tying all three of the 25-minute scrimmages.

“I told the kids, the results I am not too worried about. If we win three to nothing or lose three to nothing, I just want to see and kind of get a feel for who I can play in what positions, who looks good in different spots that I’ve been thinking and kind of gauge what the starting line-up is going to look like,” head soccer coach Zachary Kos said.

He said that these games give the coaching staff a pretty solid idea of some things that they need to focus on in training.

Kos said that he and his coaching staff targeted three things to work on based on their performance in the jamboree: keeping possession, defensive shape and being more clinical in front of the goal.

“We did a decent job of keeping possession, but sometimes we didn’t put a high enough priority on keeping the ball,” Kos said. “That’s a problem we’ve been working on.

“Another thing was our defensive shape at times: sometimes it was okay, sometimes it wasn’t great. We just want to be a little more consistent with that so we are going to work on that later this week.”

The last thing he pointed out was the lack of goals scored over the weekend. The games against De Smet and Fort Zumwalt West finished goalless and the game against Pattonville finished one all.

Kos pointed out that one goal in 75 minutes of soccer, especially when other teams are figuring out their back lines as well, might not be good enough.

“Usually you are going to have to get at least two or three goals to win games, especially against teams in our conference,” Kos said. “We want to work with our offensive players to be a little more dynamic going forward, be a little bit more dangerous and just work with them to make the correct runs.”

As far as these three points go, they are all issues that can stem from early season unfamiliarity. 

Defensive shape and possession are two facets of the game that require players to understand what teammates are doing or going to do. 

Kos recognizes that, and said that he will continue to work on cultivating that understanding and trust in the team through practice.

Some positives Kos and his coaching staff took from the jamboree were the fact that the team is miles ahead of where they were at this time last year and that the players are exhibiting an obvious increase in self-confidence.

“I think we lost all three games last year and gave up multiple goals, which, if you look at the results, it’s a big step up this year,” Kos said. “Here in Troy, we won I think one conference game over the past five years. I think we get a little timid. When we are practicing against each other everyday we are going hard and competing but sometimes we get into those conference games and get timid. But we didn’t look scared, we didn’t back down. We were really competitive and the intensity level was there for beating teams in our conference.”

Kos attributed that raised level of confidence to the fact that this is a more experienced team than he’s had in the past.

He also highlighted the team’s fitness level as a big plus. He said that his team didn’t show any signs of tiring by the end of the 75 minutes, which he said was hugely important, seeing as how games stretch over 80 minutes – longer if there is extra time.

The Trojans’ first home game is Monday, Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. against Francis Howell.

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