Minnesota Aurora had an impressive inaugural season in the USL W League – finishing the regular season undefeated (11-0-1), winning the Heartland Division, and advancing to the Final of the USL W League playoffs. 6,489 fans attended the USL W League Final at TCO Stadium. The team led the league in attendance, averaging over 5,000 fans per game. Aurora broke the attendance record for TCO Stadium, selling out the full 6,500 capacity. TCO had never hosted that many fans for any event prior while Minnesota Aurora has accomplished the feat three times this season. However, Aurora’s fairytale season would end at the hands of South Georgia Tormenta FC in a 2-1 loss in overtime.
In the 8th minute of the game, Tormenta FC drew a foul at midfield. The long kick sailed into the 18-yard box where there was a brief moment of chaos. Jaida Nyby slipped through the Aurora defense and beat goalkeeper Sarah Fuller to give Tormenta FC the lead.
Minnesota Aurora didn’t give in and pressed forward to look for an equalizing goal. From a seemingly innocuous throw-in, Makenzie Langdok threw the ball to Addy Symonds’ feet. Symonds only needed two touches before lining up her shot that rocketed past Tormenta FC’s Sydney Martinez.
The game continued with the score tied at 1-1 after 90 minutes of regulation. USL W League overtime rules require two 15 minutes halves with a five minute break between. There is no “golden goal” rule, and the teams will play the entire 30 minutes of overtime. If the score is tied after the overtime, penalty kicks determine the winner.
Minnesota Aurora nearly scored after Tormenta FC was called for a hand ball in the 18-yard box. In the 111th minute, Morgan Turner stepped up to take the penalty kick, but Martinez dove to her right and pushed the shot away. The ball hit the post, and Martinez batted away Cat Rapp’s rebound.
Nyby scored her second goal of the match to give Tormenta FC the 2-1 lead in the 115th minute. Aurora pressed their attack in the remaining five minutes, but it wouldn’t be enough to find a tying goal.