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Minnesota Aurora has ‘unfinished business’ ahead of USL playoffs – Twin Cities

Minnesota Aurora players dispersed after Wednesday’s training session for individual interviews with reporters ahead of Friday’s USL W League playoff game.

A common refrain heard and overheard from the team was that Aurora had “unfinished business” this postseason. The amateur women’s soccer team just completed its third consecutive undefeated regular season, but its first two playoff appearances ended just short of a league title.

After a record of 11-0-1 in 2022, Aurora won two playoff games before losing to Tormenta FC in the championship game. After a record of 12-0-0 in 2023, Aurora won one playoff game before losing to Indy Eleven in the quarterfinals.

This year, top-seeded Aurora (10-0-2) will face Indy Eleven (7-1-2) in a first-round match at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck, Michigan. The winner will play in the quarterfinals on Sunday against Detroit City or River Light.

“The returning players really brought that kind of unfinished business perspective, and I think that drives the team as a whole,” said Colette Montgomery, who is in her first year as head coach. “We know we’re grateful for what’s been accomplished, and we’re not content to leave it at that. So we’re going to do our best to put on the best performance this weekend.”

Midfielder Addy Weichers, a team captain in each of Aurora’s three seasons, was part of Aurora’s 2022 quarterfinal victory over Indy, which they lost 1-0 to a team a year ago. Indy went on to win the 2023 USL W championship.

“Last year, it was a game that I felt like we definitely could have won,” Weichers said. “You know how it goes in soccer; it can go either way. But I think we walked away with goals on the field that we definitely should have scored. That motivated us to come back this year with more firepower than before. So we’re really excited.”

Weichers said this year’s Aurora team is made up of players with bigger goals.

“I think it’s a mix of returning players, but also these new players we’ve brought in,” Weichers said. “Everyone has such high aspirations. Everyone on this team wants to get ahead, and I think that makes the difference. Some of the best college players and ones that have done well. Players who are out of college want to go pro. It’s just such a competitive environment that makes it great.”

Aurora’s level in practice was higher than in some games. Aurora had a plus-55 goal differential in its 12 regular season games and won the regular season finale 14-0.

As the playoffs bring the best forward, Montgomery is trying to get the message across that both Minnesota and Indy are no longer the same teams they were a year ago.

“The historical context is not in the present,” Montgomery said. “We’ve watched them and we know what they do well. We’re focused on what needs to be done and bringing them our game. Hopefully we can finish up those unfinished business.”

If Aurora wins two games this weekend, the club can bid to host subsequent games at TCO Stadium in Eagan. The USL W semifinals will be held July 12-14, with the finals July 19-21.

Minnesota Aurora FC