A little bit of swagger helps Lions start off well

As the West Linn Boys’ soccer team nears the end of its season, a win over Lake Oswego tonight on the West Linn’s home turf can help secure first place in the Three Rivers League. The Lions are 4-1-2 in the league, and 5-3-2 overall, which yields the team a 22nd rank in state. Meanwhile, the 28th ranked Lakers have yet to fall in a league match.

West Linn is riding into tonight’s match with a four game unbeaten streak. Lake Oswego has not fallen in its last ten matches, and come into the face off with West Linn with a record 3-0-4 against the TRL. A win for either team would be a big step in catching Clackamas, the team currently residing atop the TRL. The Lions defeated the Cavaliers 3-0 to give them their only loss of the year to a league opponent.

“We’re playing really well, and in my opinion, we’re letting our league know that we’re the team to beat,” Nour Alharithi, senior midfielder, said.

West Linn started the season with a tough non-league schedule in which they faced two teams, Southridge and Sunset, from the notoriously tough Metro League. The tough schedule seems to have paid off for the team, as it has begun a successful campaign against the TRL. The Lions’ only slip up was a 2-3 defeat handed to them by the Lakers. Other than Lake Oswego, West Linn has not been taken down by a league opponent. Alharithi thinks he knows what has led to the success.

“What has led us to our success I think is our chemistry, our ability to put balls in the back in the net, our explosiveness, and how we’re enjoying the game this season, playing relaxed and with a little bit of swagger,” he said.

With three games left of the season, the team need a strong finish to hold on to a top spot in the league. After their Lake Oswego match, West Linn will host Clackamas on Oct. 20 in a game that should come with many implications regarding the chase for the TRL title. West Linn will end the season on the road against Oregon City on Oct. 26. For the final matches, the Lions have a few areas to improve.

“We look to improve on our consistency, and holding a lead,” Alharithi said. “We’ve had a couple games where we’ve scored and let our guard down, so we’re looking to do better in that.”