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LO boys salvage tie vs. Cavs

The Lake Oswego boys soccer team had a great chance Tuesday night to take over sole possession of second place in the Three Rivers League.

Instead, the Lakers had to settle for a 3-3 tie with Clackamas, and both teams remained tied in the standings. Unfortunately, that tie allowed victorious Putnam to move from fourth to second in the standings. The Lakers and Cavs wound up slipping to a tie for third.

And Lake Oswego had to rally from a two-goal deficit just to get the tie. But Laker coach Fraser Morrison felt his team never should have been in that position.

'With the greatest level of respect to (Clackamas) … we gave two points away,' Morrison said.

Actually, the Lakers were fortunate they didn't give up three points in the league standings.

Morrison felt he had the superior team, and the Lakers seemed to validate the coach's claim when they took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Jackson Ray at the 18-minute mark of the first half.

Not long after that, though, the momentum turned in Clackamas' favor. The turnaround started when Matt Drake scored on a 55-yard free kick with 14:51 left in the first half.

Getting the ball in the net required a bit of luck, however. Drake's kick landed well in front of the goal, but the ball bounced high and arched perfectly into the goal.

The tie only lasted about two and a half minutes. Clackamas got its first lead (at 2-1) when Lake Oswego had a slight breakdown in the backfield and Drake slipped free after receiving a pass from Ben Kistler. With only the goalie to beat, Drake made a nice move to his left and fired a shot into a vacant net.

Clackamas pushed its lead to 3-1 at the 3:24 mark when Drake struck again to give himself a hat trick. This goal, too, was a bit of a fluke. Initially it appeared as though the Lake Oswego goalkeeper would beat Drake to a long ball that played to the front of the penalty box. But Drake got there a fraction ahead of the keeper and flicked the ball over the goalie's head. After getting caught out of position, the goalie had no chance to make the save.

It's hard for any team to rebound from a two-goal deficit, but the Lakers still had plenty of time.

The Lakers needed only 90 seconds to start their comeback. It began with a goal by Ray at the 1:50 mark of the first half. Ray, who looked unstoppable at times, split Clackamas' defense down the middle. He then beat the goalie with a shot to the far post to trim Clackamas' lead to 3-2.

At that point, it only seemed a matter of time before Lake Oswego would score again. The Lakers tried hard to do just that through most of the second half, but they didn't have much luck on their side.

The Lakers had a good opportunity at the 12:40 mark when Thomas Iwasaki lofted a shot that appeared to be for the net, but Clackamas goalie Nick Powell made a nice leaping save.

A few minutes later, Erik McAdams had a close-range header that barely slid over the top of the crossbar.

The Lakers finally got the equalizer at the 4:06 mark when Troy Hall broke free in front of the net, and he drilled a near-side shot that the Clackamas goalie had no chance of stopping.

The Lakers then followed with a flurry of chances, some of which the Clackamas defense was fortunate to turn away. Morrison wishes his team had played the entire game the way it did down the stretch.

'We can show up and play for 80 minutes against Lakeridge … but against other teams, we don't really don't have that killer mentality,' the coach said.

'But it showed some character coming back like we did,' Morrison added.

The Lakers have proved this season that they can score goals. When things are going right, they can even score in bunches.

'We've got quality players … when they play hard, they can be really dangerous,' Morrison said of his team.

But when things start breaking down, anything can happen.

'When we attack … and give the ball away, we've shown that we're susceptible to the other team's transition,' the coach added.

'But at least we fought to get back into it … Now we need to step up and turn these ties into wins.'