The two local teams are tied for third place in the nine-team NWOC at the midpoint of the 2015 league season

Milwaukie and Putnam boys soccer teams last week continued on track for a successful season as they finished the week tied for third place in the highly competitive Northwest Oregon Conference, with the first half of the league season complete.

Both teams sported 2-1-1 records in league play heading into this week’s games. Wilsonville (9-0-1, 4-0-0) was atop the NWOC standings and La Salle (5-3-2, 3-1-0) was in second place.

Milwaukie (4-1-5 overall) had league games remaining at St. Helens (5-5-0, 0-3-0), at Liberty (2-6-1, 1-2-0), at home with La Salle on Thursday, Oct. 22, and at home with second-ranked and undefeated Wilsonville (9-0-1, 4-0-0) on Oct. 27.JOHN LARIVIERE - Pressured by Putnam junior Emilio Rogers (11), Milwaukie senior sweeper Seth Atkerson (5) clears the ball out during last weeks game between the cross-town rivals.

Putnam got shutout by Wilsonville 2-0 on Oct. 5.

Putnam (3-4-3 overall) had league games remaining at Parkrose (3-6-0, 1-3-0), at home with Sandy (1-7-1, 0-3-0) on Thursday, Oct. 15, at St. Helens next Tuesday (Oct. 20), and at home with third-ranked Hillsboro (6-1-2, 2-1-0) on Oct. 27.

Milwaukie lost to Hillsboro 5-2 on Sept. 29.

Putnam and Milwaukie met on Friday, Oct. 9, at Milwaukie and the result was a scoreless tie.

“Putnam had better possession,” said Milwaukie coach Roberto Aguilar. “They strung passes together and had more chances. But just like they’ve done all season, my kids battled to the end. They don’t quit, and we had our chances to pull out the win.”

Aguilar had the Kingsmen with a 12-8 advantage in shots and an 8-6 advantage in shots on-frame.

Aguilar singled out senior sweeper Seth Atkerson for his role in holding the Kingsmen at bay.

“Seth doesn’t get a lot of recognition, because he’s so steady and consistent,” Aguilar said. “[In the Putnam game] he was consistent, just like he has been all season. He stops a threat before it gets started, before it turns into a one-v-one. And rather than just kicking the ball long, he takes his time to distribute the ball and get things going the other way. We not only have a phenomenal goalkeeper in Juan De Dios Inzunza, but we’ve got an excellent defender in Seth.”

It was the second shutout in three games for the Mustangs, who won 1-0 at Sandy on Oct. 1. It was the second shutout of the season for Putnam and Kingsmen junior keeper Farit Farias, who earned a scoreless tie with eighth-ranked Woodburn way back on Sept. 3.

Senior Marckus Alvarado and sophomore Juan Gudino led the way, as Milwaukie’s boys soccer team picked up a key win from Parkrose on Oct. 5, winning 2-1 at Parkrose.JOHN LARIVIERE - Putnam defender Drew Urben (15) leaps high to head the ball away from Milwaukies Jose Barajas (10) during last weeks scoreless tie.

After a scoreless first half, Gudino worked his magic and scored unassisted 10 minutes into the second half.

Twelve minutes later, Alvarado took a pass from Daniel Betancourt Padilla, fought off a defender, and crushed the ball just inside the far post from 10 yards out. It was the first goal of his varsity career.

Parkrose got a goal back with just four minutes to play, and then the Mustangs got a little frazzled as the Broncs pushed everyone forward.

But the Mustang defense and Milwaukie keeper Juan De Dios Inzunza held the Broncos off, and the Mustangs celebrated the hard fought victory.

Aguilar said his Mustangs had better than 50 percent of the play until the final four minutes. He had De Dios Inzunza with 10 saves, but he said most of Parkrose’s shots were right at his senior keeper.

“It was a total team effort,” Aguilar said. “The kids did a great job staying focussed to get the win.”

Commenting on his charges’ prospects as the regular season winds down, Aguilar said, “We still have a chance at second place and I hope we get it, because second place doesn’t have a play-in game. The top two teams from our league go straight to the playoffs, and they get to play at home.”

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