TRI CITY — There was a fundamental shift of attitude for the Douglas Trojans Thursday night, and a focus on playing possession-style soccer.
Having opened the Far West League with back-to-back losses to No. 17 North Bend and No. 4 Brookings-Harbor, the Trojans needed to turn things around quick.
“We had a mentality like Brookings is better than us and we came into it expecting to lose,” said junior midfielder Max Jung. “After that game we had a talk and decided we can’t just go into games with a losing mentality. This game, we went in — while they’re not the same level as Brookings — we had the mentality that we were going to win.
“We plan to do that for any game throughout the season from now on.”
Fernando Valle scored off a deflection of a corner kick in the third minute Thursday and the Trojans dominated play against an outmanned South Umpqua squad en route to a 4-0 FWL victory.
Jung added a goal on a penalty kick after he was undercut in the box on a breakaway in the 22nd minute, then he delivered a golden pass to Cameron Daniels in the 35th minute for a 3-0 lead at the break.
“Max is great. Max is a key player for us and he really helps out his teammates with his passing,” Daniels said.
“I’d rather have a pass like that than a goal,” Jung said. “It was right where I wanted it and Cam did a great job of deflecting it into the goal. That’s how we want it.”
Quinden Parson added a goal in the 45th minute, and the Trojans (2-4-1, 1-2 FWL) freely substituted their bench the rest of the match.
South Umpqua has been playing with a short — or non-existent — bench lately. Two athletes are out with concussions and another is sidelined by grades and a leg injury, leaving the Lancers (0-6, 0-3) with just 10 healthy players.
“It makes it really difficult,” S.U. coach Eric Payne said. “We played North Bend the other day and they had 25, 26 guys on the bench and we didn’t have a single sub out there. They kept their starters in there and put us down 17-0. We’re having to battle through and keep our focus up.”
Douglas coach Axel Jung, Max’s father, chose to get his younger players on the field once the game was in hand. The Trojans also focused on developing their overall game, but particularly their possession and passing skills.
“It’s what we’ve been talking about doing,” Axel Jung said. “Even against the big-time teams like North Bend and Brookings, it’s probably not going to work because they have big-time pressure on you and it’s just hard to accomplish if you aren’t at that level yet, but against teams not at that level, it makes it easier to control the game.
“We’ve been trying to utilize that side of the game better. We knew we could go over the top and (get chances) like that, but this really made it better for us.”
While Douglas has better numbers than the Lancers, who operate in a co-op with Riddle, the Trojans do not have enough players to scrimmage in a full 11-on-11 manner during practice.
“Our first two games were pretty difficult, like team-wise those are the two best teams in the league,” Daniels said, “so it’s nice to have a game where we can just play and practice our passing and scoring techniques.”
“It’s nice to work on our ball movement and control that we don’t get to do in practice,” Max Jung said. “We all need to do our possessions better, be sure we focus on getting to our spots and that created the better ball movement.”
Douglas will play at Coquille on Tuesday, while S.U. hosts Marshfield the same day.