Boys soccer: Packers rally past Scarlets
Published 12:12 am Friday, September 9, 2016
Austin senior Abel Gebrekiros may be a little soft spoken, but if you put a soccer ball in front of him, he can make a lot of noise.
Gebrekiros, who moved to Austin from Ethiopia last year, scored his second game-winning goal of the year as he helped lift the Packers to a 2-1 win over Mankato West in a battle of previously unbeaten teams in Art Hass Stadium Thursday.
The Scarlets (4-1 overall, 1-1 Big Nine) tied the game at 1-1 when Jacob Makela connected on a penalty kick with 21:25 left in the first half and the Packers dominated possession the rest of the way. Austin (5-0 overall, 3-0 Big Nine) finally broke through when Gebrekiros went coast-to-coast as he beat the Scarlets down the field and scored with just over five minutes left in the contest. Gebrekiros said he’s enjoyed playing soccer for the Packers, but he wasn’t about to steal the spotlight by bragging his two game-winners this year.
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“We’re excited to win,” he said.
Austin senior Matias Parada gave the Packers a 1-0 lead when he scored on a 10-yard shot seven minutes into the game and he created plenty of scoring chances the rest of the way. Parada said that Gebrekiros, who spent last year on the Austin JV team, has given the Packers a huge lift this year.
“He’s a man of few words. He talks with his play on the field,” Parada said.
Austin had 15 shots on goal in the win and Chris Kirchgatter had to make just three saves. Austin head coach Jens Levisen said the team’s depth up front helped to keep pushing the pace.
“We have a number of gentlemen that are very confident and they’re able to make a difference,” Levisen said. “That’s how we kept up the pressure. If you just have one guy who can do that, it starts to slow down.”
Parada credited junior Ojulu Cham for giving the team a big lift in the midfield and he was glad to pick up a win over the Scarlets.
“They’re a good team this year and we could tell from the beginning that they were a strong opponent. To beat them is the best feeling,” Parada said. “We came together as a team and honestly I think we played one of our best games of the season.”