Sending it home: Austin’s Wah scores game-winner to beat his former team

Published 4:44 pm Saturday, September 22, 2018

Austin’s Kevin Ortiz and Worthington’s Chris Cerda get tangled during the first half Saturday afternoon at Art Hass Stadium.

Austin senior Mooday Wah had the perfect ending to his homecoming win when he scored the game-winning goal against his hometown in a 1-0 win over previously unbeaten Worthington in Art Hass Stadium Saturday.

Wah, who moved to Austin from Worthington, still plays summer soccer in Worthington and he speaks to players on that team daily. He had a good look at the net mid-way through the second half that sailed wide of the goal, but Wah, a senior, was able to get a second chance with 11:41 left in the game, when he blasted a shot past the keeper into the left side of the goal for the game’s lone score.

Austin’s Henry Tolbert battles his way to the ball during the first half against Worthington Saturday at Art Hass Stadium.

“I really wanted it. Last year we played them and I didn’t score and I felt some type of way. This year I’m glad I scored and I feel happy,” Wah said. “Since I moved here, their program has been getting better and better every year and Austin has been the same way. Today was a good game and we both have good programs.”

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Austin head coach Jens Levisen said he still remembers the day since Wah showed up to practice and immediately captured his attention. Wah initially wanted to play on defense, but Levisen said he wasn’t going to let that happen after he saw Wah’s goal numbers from his freshman year in Worthington.

Wah’s presence has helped bring the Packers (8-2 overall) and Trojans (8-1 overall) together as the teams took a photo together after the game.

Austin’s Victor Velazquez advances the ball forward during the first half against Worthington Saturday at Art Hass Stadium.

“There’s a lot of mutual respect going into games like this. It’s the way soccer should be,” Levisen said. “You want to play as hard as you can and at the end of it, you realize that it was a game. At the end of it, we’d like to see them do well and they’d like to see us do well. It’s fun.”

Austin senior captain Victor Velazquez said the Worthington game has been one he’s looked forward to over the past few years.

“Ever since Mooday came [to Austin] I feel like it’s a big family reunion. There’s no bad blood and it’s just good soccer,” Velazquez said.

Austin’s Julio Hernandez heads the ball backward during the first half Saturday afternoon at Art Hass Stadium.

Velazquez, a defender, helped anchor the defense for Austin on Saturday as the Packers picked up their seventh shutout of the year. Velazquez played keeper for the Austin U18 team this past summer and he’s helped Austin sophomore Casey Berg, who had six saves Saturday, adjust to playing the position on varsity.

“Casey and I kind of have a close bond right now and he’s always asking me for advice and I just tell him to start speaking out and develop as a leader,” Velazquez said. “If I can get him to become someone who can be a leader, that will keep leaving the legacy for later years. Overall, he’s doing a really great job and he’s had remarkable improvement since the beginning of the season.”

The Packers fired off eight shots in the win.

Austin’s Juan Vera goes high for the ball during the first half against Worthington Saturday afternoon at Art Hass Stadium.