By Thomas Sellers Jr.
March 24 was a busy day for Head Coach Larry Dagen’s Millington Trojan Soccer team.
First he had to get his junior varsity and varsity teams together. The young men had to join forces with the coaching staff to get a new field ready in Centennial Park south of the old location.
After painting lines on the 110-yard field, the players had to gather near midfield for the 2015 team picture. All this was done as Westminster Academy players arrived to Centennial Park for the 5 p.m. match up.
By the time the game was over, the final score was 3-3 and the Trojans left their new field disappointed.
“Maybe we tried doing too much today,” Dagen asked rhetorically. “Our team played embarrassingly bad today. They didn’t play to their potential. We may have strung together two, maybe three strings of passing possessing the ball. Everything else was kick, kick, kick. We played rec ball today. And we would play around with the ball too much.”
The Trojans going through the motions still held the lead at halftime at 3-2. Millington’s Ethan Dupree scored on a penalty kick to give the Trojans the advantage after 40 minutes.
Westminster got its turn at a PK in the second half connecting to deadlock the game at 3-3. As time ticked away, both squads had a couple of opportunities at breaking the tie. Both goalies came up with clutch stops.
“We were in slow motion today,” Dagen said of his Trojans. “And that was one of the things I was worried about today. I told them, come into the game like you did against Kingsbury, ‘Come out with a bunch of nitric oxide I want you flying around after every ball.’ We did that against Kingsbury and was competitive against one of the best teams in the area.”
The Trojans opened the 2015 season on the road in Orange Mound taking on the Falcons. Kingbury was able to earn a 2-0 win over Millington. Despite the defeat, Dagen was impressed by his team’s effort, physical play and ball control against a team that reached State last year.
But against Westminster the Trojans seem to lack that intensity. Dagen said he will get his guys to regroup and channel that focus they had against Kingsbury.
“We have to have more discipline,” he said. “In the Kingsbury match, we played to the level of the competition. We knew Kingsbury was going to be a good team, so we came out hard. This team right here, and that’s the danger of a team like that, they looked at them and assessed they’re not very good.
We’re going to beat those guys.
“Those guys proved they can play,” Dagen concluded. “We only beat them 2-1 last year. We basically let them dictate play today.”