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Lakers hold off OC in league opener

by: VERN UYETAKE, 
Lake Oswego’s Mady Johnson collides with Oregon City’s goalie during Tuesday’s 1-0 victory. The Lakers scored in the first 10 minutes and had to hold on to earn the victory. Lake Oswego played the final 15 minute of the game one player down after a red card was issued.

A number of things went wrong in Lake Oswego's league-opening game against Oregon City so, all things considered, the Lakers were more than happy to walk off the field with a 1-0 victory.

Oregon City has long been one of the most physical teams in the league and that style was on display again on Tuesday. The Pioneers knocked the Lakers out of rhythm for the first 20 minutes of play.

Oregon City earned the first two decent scoring chances of the game in the opening minute of play and was the more aggressive team early on.

'We are a team of finesse and possession and when a team comes out with an aggressive attitude I think it shocks us a little. It affected the tempo of the game and it was tough for us to adjust to the physicality,' coach Dominic Yambasu said.

Lake Oswego struggled with its organization in the early going but was fortunate to weather the Pioneers' storm without giving up a goal.

On offense, the Lakers' first good chance came when Cali Reis hit a terrific cross in front of the face of the goal that went unanswered.

Just a few minutes later, Lake Oswego caught its first break. A slight defensive miscue by the Pioneers allowed Jacqui Wallis to get the ball behind the back line.

She took one dribble and then beat the quickly approaching goalie with a shot to the far post, making it 1-0 nine minutes into the contest.

Oregon City continued to play well for the next few minute but then Lake Oswego settled into a rhythm and dominated the remainder of the half.

The Lakers had a pair of shots miss over the top of the crossbar and were content to hold the one-goal advantage at the half.

It was more of the same early in the second half. The Lakers dominated the time of possession thoroughly and Mady Johnson sent a pair of shots just a few feet wide of the net.

Melinda Madden also had a terrific chance that missed wide.

'We definitely need to do a little bit better in the (scoring) area but, also, it's good that we're up there so much,' Yambasu said.

But just over midway through the second half, the momentum shifted. After Madden and an Oregon City defender collided near the top of the goal box there was some jawing between the players and Madden was pushed in the back.

A moment later the referee blew the whistle and issued a controversial red card to Madden.

That meant that Lake Oswego was forced to play the final 15 minutes of the game down one player against a dangerous Oregon City team.

The Lakers focused their efforts on defense but still managed to keep the ball on Oregon City's side of the field for much of that time.

'I was very pleased that, with one player down, we didn't miss a beat at all and the game still seemed even,' Yambasu said.

Shortly after the red card was issued, the Pioneers got one of their best chances of the night on a dangerous ball in the goal box, but sophomore goalie Ashleigh Anderson came out and made a terrific sliding save.

Oregon City had only three shots in the second half but all of them came in the final 15 minutes. Anderson stopped another good shot with just over three minutes to play as Lake Oswego held on for the victory.

It was a solid win for the Lakers who could ill-afford to get off to a slow start in a competitive league. An even bigger test comes tonight (Thursday) as the team takes on Clackamas.

The win also came on the heels of a pair of very impressive non-league victories.

Lake Oswego knocked off last year's runners up, Central Catholic 2-1 with Wallis and Reis scoring the goals and the team also beat perennial powerhouse Tualatin 2-0 with Mimi Granlund and Reis providing the scoring for the team.

Recap

1 2 Final

Oregon City 0 0 0

Lake Oswego 1 0 1

Scoring:

Jacqui Wallis: One goal, unassisted

Next: Lake Oswego at Clackamas. Thursday Sept 11 at 7:30 p.m.

Lake Oswego at Lakeridge. Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m.