By Caleb Odom
After a 2-1 loss to Texas State on Sunday, Sept. 29, the Troy soccer team (4-7-0) looks to take down Arkansas State (6-3-2) for its first conference win a home today, Oct. 3, at 3 p.m.
For Trojan head coach Chris Bentley, this short week was about breaking down the film from the Texas State loss to show his team what it needed to improve on come Thursday.
“I think after watching the video in particular, we identified that we just had some miscues,” Bentley said. “We just weren’t performing at our level that we needed to in the back, specifically in the back four. I think if we can shore up some of those things, and we’ll be fine.”
Bentley also said that Texas State had done a good job in pressing Troy’s defenders when the Bobcats attacked with three forwards and a midfielder, a style of play that caused problems for the Trojans on Sunday.
“We hadn’t seen that yet this year,” Bentley said. “We have a tendency to do that to teams, but they hadn’t done that to us.”
One question mark for Troy is if the team will be fresh with only three days off before the next match.
The Trojan coach pointed out that Arkansas State had also played on Sunday so the lack of rest is equal.
“We are going to do our best to make sure they are recovered and they are ready to go,” Bentley said.
To Bentley, the Red Wolves stack up similar to the challenge that Texas State gave Troy in the home conference opener.
“You are going to have an athletic team,” Bentley said. “They are going to play a mix of direct and indirect soccer.”
Despite the type of play that Arkansas State brings into the Thursday match, Bentley feels good about his team’s ability to go out and compete.
After today’s match, the Trojans have a Sunday road game against UALR on Oct. 6, at 1 p.m. that will test Troy’s skill on an artificial surface.
“It’s different,” Bentley said. “They are on turf so that is a different thing that we have to deal with and they have a new coach so they have a different spirit about them. They are not a team to take lightly, last year they were. This year they are not at all. They are competing.”
The Trojan coach admitted that the turf will alter what ball does during the game compared to typical grass fields that Troy is accustomed to.
“Speed of play changes,” Bentley said. “Ultimately you are going to have a more true bounce and a more fluidity of the way the ball rolls on turf. Speed of play increases and that is the difference.”