But an own-goal, followed by a couple Laker strikes in the last 10 minutes, lifted Lake Oswego to a 3-2 comeback win on Sept. 7 at Centennial High School.
Lake Oswego senior Grant Donaldson scored the game-winner with just more than seven minutes remaining, burying a penalty kick after senior teammate Ryan Seaman was fouled in the Eagles' penalty box.
"I always hit the same corner," Donaldson said. "I knew where I was going to go with the shot."
The Eagles were understandably disappointed with the loss, but also saw reasons for optimism.
"We didn't get the goals or the win, but at least we were creating opportunities," Centennial coach Todd Saks said. "We were playing well and dictating the pace against one of the better teams in the state, then something freaky happens and we have to regroup."
With the win, the Lakers improved to 2-0 in non-league play, while Centennial fell to 1-1 in early-season play.
Despite the own-goal, Centennial was clinging to a 2-1 lead when Lake Oswego saw a free kick from close range sail over the top as the clock ticked under 15 minutes in the second half. Then the Eagles flipped the field and created a series of chances in an attempt to try and stretch the lead back out.
Nathan Feltner played a header forward to Jair Diaz-Navarro, who made a long run down the center of the field before playing the ball across to Aye Doh Chan. His blast from about 12 yards out sent the Lakers' goalie to the ground to make the stop at the near post.
A few minutes later, Centennial's Angel Santiago-Garcia won a header off a Lake Oswego corner kick and the ball came to Navarro for another long run through the middle. He crossed midfield and played the ball ahead to Chino Ixchop-Larias, but his shot strayed wide of the target.
The Lakers pulled even when Tyler Voelzke sent a throw-in to the front of the goal and Sidharth Daga made a leaping header past the near post from about 10 yards out.
"I started at the top of the box and made my run. The ball came right to me and no one was there to challenge so I headed it right in," Daga said. "It was really nice to put one in after all the chances we had."
Lake Oswego nearly struck again less than a minute later when the Centennial goalie came out to play the ball only to have it squirt away to the top of the box where Donaldson got off a shot at the open net. But Centennial defender Jose Chan-Villafania crashed the scene and twisted his body to block the blast in mid-air.
A few minutes later, Seaman went down face-first in the box after contact with a Centennial player. No whistle sounded and he gathered himself back up, arms outstretched asking for a foul call. Centennial's backline was still working to clear the ball from the penalty box when Seaman was tackled again. This time, the foul was called, putting the ball on the penalty mark for Donaldson.
Donaldson made his shot count, burying it in the upper right side, out of the keeper's reach, for the winning goal.
"I don't take too many of those, so there was some pressure," he said.
After playing with the lead most of the night, Centennial found itself in desperation mode searching for the equalizer over the final seven minutes.
Much as he had done throughout the night, Navarro slipped through the defense and crossed a ball for Chan, who hit a shot toward the far post only to see the ball go wide.
Centennial created another chance when Fernando Monroy sent a deep throw-in to the front of the goal. The ball deflected out of a crowd to Feltner at the top of the box, but his shot went over the crossbar.
Feltner would send two more free kicks into the box in the remaining minutes, but Centennial was unable to get a shot out of either chance. Seaman cleared one ball out toward the sideline, and Daga secured the victory with a deep ball that bounced past the midfield line as the final ticks came off the clock.