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Boys soccer: Revenge on the Rockets

Farmington senior forward Justen Thelen takes the ball around the Faribault goalkeeper before scoring a goal in last Thursday's season-opening 6-0 win at Tiger Stadium.1 / 2
The Farmington boys soccer team has started strong this year.2 / 2

Three-hundred and twenty days later, the Farmington boys soccer team finally got its revenge against Rochester John Marshall.

The Rockets cut the Tigers' season short last fall with a 2-1 decision in the section tournament that was their first victory after an 0-14-1 regular season. That night game at Tiger Stadium was on the minds of the Farmington players Saturday afternoon as they played to a 4-1 win in Rochester.

"I think that our boys did a good job being mentally prepared for this rematch with Rochester John Marshall," Farmington second-year head coach Julian Buss said.

The Tigers came out playing aggressively on the narrow field in Rochester. Less than four minutes in, Christian Thao found an open Justen Thelen for a goal to give the visitors a 1-0 advantage.

Another Thelen goal at the 23:52 mark of the first half made it 2-0 Farmington and Cole Landwehr's second goal of the young season at 15:55 made it 3-0.

John Marshall (0-2) got on the board with a shot past keeper Chad Stivers 18 seconds before halftime, but Landwehr upped the Tiger advantage back to three goals with an unassisted goal in the final 10 minutes.

"Chad Stivers had another great game in net, making some pretty great saves during the few times our defense let JM through," Buss said. "Junior captain Sam Leske was solid, as always, in the sweeper position and our forwards came away with two goals each -- with a little help from Christian Thao and the midfielders feeding them good passes to work with."

The Tiger offense ran just as efficiently in Thursday's season-opening 6-0 shutout of Faribault at Tiger Stadium. Five players scored and Stivers recorded his first career shutout in his first varsity start.

The game remained deadlocked at 0-0 until Thao broke the ice with a hooking shot into the upper right corner of the goal at 18:22. Nine minutes later, Landwehr scored on a pass from Thelen to make it 2-0. Thelen scored a goal of his own on a pass from Landwehr just 41 seconds later and Thao capped off a 4-0 first half with an unassisted goal at 6:53.

"Farmington controlled the pace of the game and we were able to create scoring opportunities throughout the game," Buss said. "It took a while for that first elusive goal to be scored, but once senior captain Christian Thao punched the first one in, the rest seemed to follow a lot easier."

The Tigers padded their lead in the second half with goals from Leske and freshman Blake Smith.

"I think that all of the time the boys spent during the winter playing indoor soccer, summer leagues, summer practices captains practices, team practices and pre-season scrimmages has paid off," Buss said. "They are ready for the season."

The Tigers hosted Apple Valley for a non-conference game Tuesday and are back in action at 5 p.m. tonight against Winona at Tiger Stadium. The Winhawks beat the Tigers 8-0 in the 2009 season opener.