Packers shake off Falcons

Published 11:23 pm Thursday, September 22, 2011

Austin's Francisco Torres, left, and Tyler Stevens try to play the ball in front of Faribault's Joshua Malecha during the first half Thursday night at Art Hass Stadium. - Eric Johnson/

What looked like a routine victory turned into a fight for survival as the Packers had to hang on to beat Faribault 3-2 in Art Hass Stadium Thursday.

Austin (3-2-3 overall, 2-1-2 Big Nine) led 3-0 after Nick Brehmer hammered a shot home off a Jake Hagen-Erickson miss in the 72nd minute, but the Falcons (1-7-1 overall, 0-4-1) Big Nine had a quick response.

Austin's Barush Terrazas reaches out for the ball during the first half against Faribault Thursday night at Art Hass Stadium. - Eric Johnson/

Nathaniel Vanloon drilled a free kick to make it 3-1 and Jacob Krohl knocked in a penalty kick in the 75th minute. Austin keeper Collin Weisert initially stopped a PK by Vanloon, but both teams were off-side and Faribault got another chance. Weisert initially stopped Krohl’s kick, but it slipped between his legs to make it a one-goal game with five minutes left.

Email newsletter signup

The Falcons never got off a good shot in those five minutes as the Packer defense stepped up.

The victory snaps a five-game winless streak for Austin.

“It was intense and they were coming at us hard. We kept our cool and played good defense as a team,” Austin midfielder Francisco Torres, who had a goal and an assist, said. “We haven’t won a game for awhile and we came out hard for a win. It was Collin’s game today, he made some awesome saves.”

Weisert said Austin’s troubles started when they started to lose their focus on the game.

“We always have a problem with keeping our heads in it after one bad call,” said Weisert, who had 10 saves. “We’ve just got to play as a team and pass it around.”

Austin's Dylan Hoium tries dumping the ball back behind Faribualt's Abdi Abdullahi during the first half Thursday night at Art Hass Stadium. - Eric Johnson/

The distractions were plenty for both teams as Austin head coach Jens Levisen received a yellow card due to crowd noises and the Falcons received multiple yellow cards, including one where a defender wrapped up Torres and took him to the ground.

At one point the game was stalled by the officials to calm the crowd down.

Still, Levisen wasn’t about to make excuses.

“We were playing well and then we started to slip mentally,” he said. “I don’t know if it had to do with the fans or the officials. I wouldn’t place the blame on anything, but for whatever reason things slipped. We let some things get to us that shouldn’t have gotten to us.”

Austin got on the board in the 23rd minute when Torres took a pass from his younger brother, Roel, a freshman, and booted it into the left corner of the net.

“He played really good and we all played as a team,” Francisco Torres, a junior, said of his younger brother. “I help him out in practice.”

Hagen-Erickson went to the ground to kick around the keeper on a breakaway off a lob pass from Francisco Torres to make it 2-0 in the 31st minute.

The Packers will now focus on Rochester Lourdes (7-2 overall), who they host on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Art Hass Stadium.

“That’s one that we’ve got to be hungry for,” Levisen said. “We played the way we’re capable of playing tonight and they’re a big section opponent. It’s so good to have them on the schedule and we want to come out and show them what Austin soccer looks like.”