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Newport Central Catholic 1 Cooper 1

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The Breds have started off their season in outstanding fashion, with wins over Simon Kenton, Walton Verona, and GRC, and then a road draw at the Jags.  Maybe that 36th District won't be The Birds to win without at least a little challenge.

For Cooper, since beating SK 4-1, they have drawn two teams that, quite frankly, they'd have expected to beat, in Brossart and NewCath.  Cooper was the easy 2nd choice in the 9th pre-season, and I believe this year is their best chance to win the 9th for the next few, but they haven't gotten out of the gate on all cylinders.  After Beechwood on Thursday, one they absolutely should win, they get a gauntlet of Collegiate, Dixie, Highlands, Boone County, and then CovCath.  Coach Flesch has a lot to sort out before diving head-long into the meat of their schedule.

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This Cooper v NCC game was the first regular season game I watched this year (attended Cooper vs CovCath exhibition). Coach Flesch loves to switch the point of attack as soon as he crosses midfield. That seemed to be the theme of his offense last night. Cooper's holding midfielder (5 or 6) was their best player IMO. It is clear the majority of Cooper's talent is in the attack and midfield. Cooper was slow at the start but generated more chances in the second half. I don't think it is a secret they have the best GK group in the region.

NCC has a more talented team than I thought. The first half was theirs - they had a shot inside the 6 and hit the crossbar both within the first fifteen minutes. I think Cooper was caught off guard by their talent just as I was. NCC had a pretty shallow bench that was not utilized as much as Cooper's was. (Maybe having 200 boys at the school impacts this). I will also note NCC did a great job of connecting passes and "playing soccer". How long have they had their coaching staff? I know NCC's current baseball coach used to coach their soccer team.

My biggest take away, 9th region soccer deserves more love. Cooper, who I know most, has a physically strong team with a brand of soccer to match it. NCC did not have the size but play a clever style of soccer. If they were not mentioned on 9th region preseason rankings, then the 9th region has some serious depth.

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