Boys’ soccer optimistic despite tough start to season

MILFORD — This season, Milford high school’s boys’ varsity soccer squad has had a hard time starting games off strong.

The Buccaneers’ 5-1 loss against Indian River on Thursday night is no exception.

Milford put themselves in a quick 4-0 hole, including back-to-back goals from IR just two minutes into the game.

Down by four goals at halftime Thursday night, Head Coach Todd French’s squad came back out and played a much closer and intense second half.

Though they didn’t mount a comeback and even fell into a 5-0 hole early in the second half, his Buccaneer squad didn’t just lay down.

Matt Mitzel scored a goal at the 72:10 mark, avoiding the shutout. The team didn’t slow down intensity- wise, either.

Rough start to the season Milford kicked off the 2016 season with a 6-3 loss in the DAAD Upstate/ Downstate Challenge at Dover Sept. 10 following the loss up with back-toback 1-0 victories over Sussex Tech and Seaford.

Since the 2-1 start, however, Milford has struggled putting the ball in the net and has been plagued by slow starts in the first half of play.

A 1-0 loss to Polytech last Tuesday, and the 5-1 loss at the hands of IR backs that claim up.

Following the team’s most recent loss, Coach French was disappointed but is still optimistic and happy with the way his team finished the game.

“The thing with this team is we don’t quit,” Coach French said. “My guys will continue to play. Unfortunately, again, we’re just not starting the game the way we want to. We’ve been a second half team for the past two years now. But it shows they have heart, and it’s going to be a positive for us going forward this season.”

Second half adjustments were made by Coach French, which led to a 1-1 tie in the last 40 minutes of play.

“It was really just about our intensity,” Coach French said regarding the team’s second half adjustments. “We got a couple of different guys out there to just put some pressure on them. I let the team know that the guys on the field had to just play with some heart. That helped change their mentality. They put in a good second half, which is unfortunately what we’ve been doing this year.”

Through the first five games of the season and currently sitting at 2-3 after dropping two straight games, you would think there would be a bit of a panic. But Coach French is excited to get into the team’s next 10 games and feels good about where this team is at compared to last season.

“I just told these guys that our first third of the season is over now,” Coach French said. “And it was the tougher part, and we came out with a better record than we did last year at this point. We’re in a better place than we were last year, even though we’ve lost a few games.

“So for the next two-thirds of the season, we should be able to put up some goals on some of the teams we play in the next two to three weeks.”

Defensively, Coach French expects his team to continue to be sound and get back to what they were able to do in the three 1-0 games they’ve played so far this season.

His team’s focus will be on improving on the offensive side of the ball.

Milford had an away game Tuesday in Dover (results unavailable at time of printing) and will play at Lake Forest on Thursday, Sept. 29.

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