The Pioneers improve to 5-4-0 and second place in a competitive league

Last week was a huge week for Oregon City High School’s boys soccer team.

With wins over Lakeridge (2-0) and Clackamas (3-1), the unheralded Pioneers improved their league record to 5-4-0 and they moved into second place in the Three Rivers League standings.

They trailed only third-ranked West Linn (9-0-0) in the TRL with but one league game remaining. They finish the league season tonight, when they play eighth-ranked Lake Oswego (4-3-2) on the road.

The five wins is the most league wins recorded by an Oregon City High School varsity boys soccer team since 2001, when the Pioneers went 6-1-1 and tied West Linn for the TRL title.

“It’s been absolutely fantastic to be a part of this,” said Oregon City coach Myque Obiero. “These guys have worked so hard, and to see this happen to them makes me so happy. They deserve it.”

Obiero noted that few people had expected much of his Pioneers this fall, because Oregon City had lost so many players from last year — to graduation and to the Timbers Academy.

“[My players] believed in our system,” Obiero said. “One-two touch passing, keeping it simple. Playing hard, and everyone doing their job.”

The Pioneers were at the top of their game in their 2-0 Oct. 15 win over then 15th-ranked Lakeridge, a team that had beaten them 1-0 earlier in the season.

“It was our best team game of the year,” Obiero said. “Everybody worked hard. We did the fundamentals well and we defended as a unit. Everybody was under control. It was a complete team win.”

The Pioneers scored the game’s first goal with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. Senior Tony Flores sent the ball ahead to sophomore Alvin Salazar, and Salazar left-footed it home, off the hands of a diving keeper and into the net.

The goal stood up until Oregon City sophomore Andrew Curtis found the net again with just 1:25 to play.

“It was a counter attack and a great team goal,” said Obiero. They were pressuring, trying to tie the score. Blake Coomes won the ball and sent it ahead.... five kids touched the ball.”

Curtis took a cross from Salazar and passed to Fransisco Ferreyra, who passed it back to Curtis, who rocketed the ball home from the top of the 18.

“We moved the ball a lot better [than the last time we played them],” Obiero said. “We were more disciplined. The boys were fighting really hard.”

Pablo Armenta was in-goal for Oregon City, and he recorded his second shutout of the season.

Obiero said of the Pioneers’ unanticipated success this season: “It speaks to the hard work the boys have put in. And their working as a team, rather than as individuals.”

Last Thursday’s game at Clackamas was a game that could have just as easily gone the other way. The Cavaliers started the game like a house on fire, making assault after assault on Oregon City’s goal.

But most of the shots flew off the mark or they were stopped by Armenta. And the first half ended in a 1-1 standoff.

“They came out really strong,” said Obiero. “It was their senior night and they were really pumped up. We were lucky. They could have scored four or five goals in the first half. It took 25 minutes for us to get a breath.... If it hadn’t been for Pablo, it would have been a really, really ugly game for us. [In the first half] he was making save-after-save, some of them impossible saves.”

Oregon City’s first goal came against the run of play, on a counter attack, with 10 minutes left in the first half. The ball went from Flores to Salazar to Curtis, who slotted it into the net.

Braydon Simmons answered for Clackamas a short time later.

Obiero said his charges passed the ball better, played more composed and possessed the ball better in the second half.

Ferreyra touched the ball in off a corner kick from Flores near the midpoint of the second half for the game-winner.

Curtis scored with just two minutes left to ice the win. Salazar crossed the ball in between two defenders. Curtis chested it to the ground 18 yards out, and put it away.

Cavaliers upset

No. 5 Lakers

The Clackamas Cavaliers got back on the win track on Oct. 15, rallying from a 3-0 halftime deficit to beat then fifth-ranked Lake Oswego 4-3. The win broke a five-game losing skid that began with a 2-1 loss at Lake Oswego on Sept. 24.

It was an amazing second-half comeback, especially considering that the Lakers had allowed 11 previous opponents a combined total of just eight goals.

“The biggest difference in the second half was the boys just starting play for each other and having fun again,” said Clackamas coach Anthony Trejo. “I feel we put a lot of pressure on ourselves trying to live up to last season’s success. We were pressing too hard to try and be perfect in every aspect of the game. With only one game [the previous week], we got back to having fun as a program — enjoying playing the game, being creative, and playing for each other were the main factors of the second half. It was nice to see a smile on the faces of the boys after a much deserved win.”

Sophomore Sam Toops got things started for the Cavaliers in the second half, putting forth extra effort to pick up a loose ball in the box and put it away.

The score remained 3-1 until senior Ian Tarnovsky scored on a penalty kick following a hand ball in the box, with just 12 minutes remaining.

“That was the momentum changer if you ask me,” said Trejo. “The boys started playing with confidence and some swagger.”

Sophomore Evan Lawrie received a cross from senior Sean Martz and put the tying goal in the net.

The game-winner was scored by junior Noah Klassen with five minutes remaining.

“Noah was on the receiving end of a pass,” said Trejo. “He headed the ball down to his feet, and then finished a one-on-one attempt past the keeper.”

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