Jul 5, 2024

Minnesota Aurora FC’s Season Ends with 2-1 Loss in Central Conference Semifinals


DETROIT, Mich. – Despite nine shots, Minnesota Aurora FC fell to Indy Eleven 2-1 on Friday afternoon, bowing out of the 2024 USL W Playoffs.

With the loss, Minnesota wraps up its third season at 10-1-2.

‘The Girls in Blue’ jumped out to a quick lead. After an Addy Chester shot was deflected out off an Aurora defender, Indy Eleven earned the match’s first corner. Defender Karsyn Cherry scored on the set piece in the third minute, giving the Valley Division champions the 1-0 lead.

Following the opening goal, Indy’s defense stymied the Aurora attack.

Minnesota was held without a shot until the 25th minute, when Saige Wimes took a Mariah Nguyen feed and took a shot from 20 yards out into the gloves of the Indy Eleven keeper. Aurora ripped off two more shots in a three-minute span, but none found the target.

Just before the half, Indy Eleven’s Katie Soderstrom fired a shot from 25 yards out on a set piece that struck the crossbar before bouncing back into play.

Aurora cleared the loose ball away from danger just as the official whistled for half time, and the Heartland Division champions went into the break trailing, 1-0.

Minnesota came out of the intermission with a renewed sense of urgency.

After being held to just three shots in the first half, Aurora took three chances in the first 15 minutes of second half action. Despite the shifted tone of the match, Aurora still sought the equalizer an hour deep into the match.

That search would not last long after the 60th minute. Following an Indy Eleven foul for a handball on the edge of the 18-yard box, Aurora were awarded a free kick. Midfielder Katie Duong stepped up, striking from 22 yards out to put the match on level terms.

It marked the eighth straight match with a goal for Duong, tying her with Morgan Stone for sixth all time in club history.

The two sides would play even for the next 16 minutes.

In the 82nd minute, Indy’s Addy Chester again put ‘The Girls in Blue’ into scoring position, slipping a ball around Nicole Norfolk before playing a ball laterally inside the penalty area to Nicole Mitchell, who slotted it past Taylor Kane for Indy’s second lead of the match.

Aurora would get one more opportunity to pull level before full time.

In the match’s waning minutes, Cat Rapp called her own number, carrying it into the 18-yard box before being tackled from behind, drawing a penalty in the process.

Aurora’s captain Addy Weichers stepped to the spot in the 88th minute. The third-year midfielder fired a right footed shot toward goal but was stonewalled by Indy’s Kathleen Phillips, keeping the reigning USL W champions out in front.