In Aurora’s first ever road game, it was clear players wanted to erase the taste of a draw from their home opener just days before. Minnesota took a few minutes to settle in and then quickly took control of the match, getting numbers forward and keeping pressure on Kaw Valley throughout the match.
Aurora had its first true chance of the game in the 7th minute as Cha attempted a freekick from 30 yards out, but the on-target chance was grabbed by Kaw Valley keeper Anna Mayer. Then, just minutes later, Aurora fired a shot that was ruled to bounce off the post by on-field referees, but broadcast video seemed to show the ball hitting the Kaw Valley net. Still, the game did not stay scoreless for much longer.
Aurora spent the majority of the first half in the attacking third. Midfielder Mariah Nguyen dominated the left side of the pitch, with left-back Elizabeth Rapp and center-mid Sangmin Cha aiding the pressure on the left side. Nguyen broke through the Kaw Valley defense and found Jelena Zbilijic on the back post for a tap-in goal in the 40’ to give Aurora a 1-0 lead going into halftime.
The assist and burst of energy Nguyen gave the attack earned her the Star Tribune Star of the Game. “We had a lot of scoring opportunities in this game and it definitely felt good to take advantage of two of them and put them away,” said head coach Nicole Lukic.
As Minnesota pressed forward in the second half forward Maya Hansen got loose in the final third in the 54th minute off an Aurora throw-in and slotted a ball across the box for midfielder Morgan Stone to hammer home, doubling Minnesota’s lead and sealing the game for good, notching the club’s first ever USL W League victory.
Aurora continues their swing through the southern edge of the Heartland Division with a trip to the St Louis Lions on Sunday June 5th.
Long ball from Kelsey Kaufusi (cow-foo-see) to Mariah Nguyen (win) who works the edge against the Kaw Valley defender and Maya Hansen is there to finish to put Aurora up 1-0
Video/photos with permission from Minnesota Aurora https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/10bNiq1TCMc01Mr1HzFib0Nph0Jr776kl