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Balanced Laker boys team should be TRL threat

Lake Oswego returns a solid mix of youth and experience

Photo Credit: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Shaheen Safari will be one of the anchors on the back line for the Lake Oswego boys soccer team this season. The Lake Oswego boys soccer team features a solid mix of youth and experience this year on a squad that hopes to develop into a strong contender in the new-look Three Rivers League.

The Lakers return a strong core on defense and through the midfield and, if its retooled offense can take advantage of its chances, the team could be primed for a very successful season.

“It will be a matter of, when we get those opportunities, are we able to finish them?” coach Fraser Morrison said.

Lake Oswego graduated two of its top goal scorers last season, including four-year varsity player Kyle Gazzigli.

Clay Dirkse now takes over as the offense's primary point man and his quickness should make him a dangerous threat.

“Losing Kyle was obviously big but Clay has similar abilities with his pace and touch on the ball,” coach Morrison said.

David Falson and Joe Seaman should also provide some scoring pop up front.

In the midfield, Ethan Elliott will also be looked on as a goal-scorer this year and as someone who can help set up the offense.

Reed Sandblast is another returner in the midfield and will be an anchor at that position alongside Zach Willihnganz and freshman Kaiyo Shi.

Defensively Lake Osewgo returns Shaheen Safari and Ward Kirschbaum as its center backs while Casey Iwasaki and Kyle Marshall play on the outside. Freshman Grant Donaldson should also see plenty of minutes as a promising defender.

In goal for the Lakers this year will be senior Owen Van Lehman.

The defense should be a key for the Lakers this season. In two games this year, the team has beaten Glencoe 3-1 and lost a tough 1-0 game at Gresham.

Against Gresham on Tuesday, Lake Oswego fell behind 1-0 in the opening minutes after a corner kick wasn't cleared properly.

The Lakers had plenty of chances to knot the score but couldn't come up with the equalizer.

With a talented midfield, Lake Oswego hopes to play a more possessive style of soccer this year and will look to create its chances moving the ball forward.

“That's the way the game's meant to be played and I think we have the players to go that route,” Morrison said.

Early in the season, Morrison figures to tinker with his line-up and figure out the best rotations leading up to league play.

“Early on it's about getting all of the kids some minutes and an opportunity to play before we tighten things up,” Morrison said.

Next up for the Lakers will be South Eugene today (Thursday).

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