Last year’s Twin Cities Derby, finishing in a 3-3 tie Photo courtesy of Andrew Weisbrod
Following last week’s conference reveal for the upcoming USLW and USL2 seasons, the two leagues have revealed the schedules for their upcoming 2023 seasons, and fans have a lot to look forward to.
Minnesota Aurora FC
Leading off with USLW’s runners-up, and Twin Cities favorites Minnesota Aurora FC! The Aurora will open their season just over three months from now, playing host to USLW newcomer Rochester FC on the May 24.
Supporters can look forward to catching Aurora at TCO Stadium weekly through the early parts of the Summer, with the team making no long away trips until a three game Wisconsin stretch in late June before closing the season out at home on July 1 against Chicago City SC.
Matchups to watch out for include their away trip to fellow Minnesota club Rochester FC, a mere hour and a half drive in a conference full of 4+ hour away trips, hosting inaugural match rivals Green Bay Glory on June 14, and the aforementioned 3 game road-trip through Wisconsin June 21-29, a veritable “Cheese Gauntlet” if you will, as the Aurora visit USLW newcomers RKC Soccer Club and Bavarian United before again coming head to head with last season’s Heartland Division runners-up Green Bay Glory.
Rochester FC (USLW)
Up next we have Minnesota’s newest USLW member, Rochester FC! Rochester will open league play with a home match against fellow newcomer Bavarian United three months to the day, on May 21.
As with Aurora, Rochester fans will be able to fill their summer with soccer, with three of their first four games being home games and the lone away game being their closest rival, as they visit Minnesota Aurora FC.
Unfortunately for Rochester, their opening schedule is a rough one, playing the USLW runners-up Aurora twice in their opening four matches, and running into fellow Heartland heavyweight Green Bay in two of their opening six matches. It’ll be a trial by fire for Rochester as they begin their USLW existence, but it gives both fans and league pundits the opportunity to see just where this team stacks up amongst the ranks of the elite.
Rochester FC (USL2)
From the W to the 2, as we move on to USL2’s schedule release, beginning with Rochester FC. They will open play at home against fellow newcomer Bavarian United on the May 19, two days before the Rochester USLW team does the same in what looks to be an exciting weekend for Rochester fans.
Of note with the USL2 schedules, the Minnesota teams each have a certifiable home and away stand, courtesy of across the border travel thanks to the Thunder Bay Chill and FC Manitoba. Rochester opens the season with two home games, including their first against Minneapolis City SC, before making the trip to Canada for their next two games. They are then met with an enticing five game stretch starting June 6, four games at home and an away game at Minneapolis City, only an hour and a half away, which makes for five games that Rochester supporters can really pack the stands for.
And they may want to, as it will be their last chance to see the team at home, as they close out the season with a three game road trip, two games in Wisconsin split up by a trip to Stillwater, MN to face off with the St. Croix Legends in another one of those delightfully close away games.
Minneapolis City SC
The Crows will look to enter the 2023 season with a vengeance following their rough beginning in USL2 last season, and they’ll have a chance to prove it in the new-look Deep North Division. They will also open their season at home with a big time Twin Cities Derby match-up against St. Croix Legends.
Minneapolis City will have every chance to get off to a hot start, as they open the season with five(!) of their first six games played at home, including each of the new Wisconsin clubs, the aforementioned Twin Cities Derby, and both of their games against new Minnesota rival Rochester FC. Knowing how excited the City fans get about their team, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a large flock of them make the trip down to Rochester for that away game.
This early season home stand means that five of their final six games will be played on the road, including four straight away games to finish off the season against the Wisconsin and Canada clubs. Minneapolis City will likely be circling their away trip to St. Croix on June 18 as well, following last years 1-1-1 split in the Twin Cities Derby, each of the two teams will be looking to get a leg up on their rival.
St. Croix Legends
Unfortunately for St. Croix, the previously mentioned Twin Cities Derby home opener for Minneapolis City means that the Legends will be the only Minnesota team to open their season on the road this year, visiting the Crows on May 13 before hosting their home opener against Bavarian United on May 21.
Following their home opener, St. Croix will begin a four game road stretch with games against RKC SC on June 3, Thunder Bay Chill June 9, FC Manitoba June 11, and Rochester FC June 16. The Legends finally return home on the June 18 to once again contest the Twin Cities Derby with Minneapolis City, before playing their final away game June 23 against Bavarian United.
St. Croix then go on to finish their season with a four game home-stand against the Canadian clubs and USL2 newcomers Rochester FC and RKC SC, giving the Legends a strong chance to make a late playoff push within the Deep North Division.
For St. Croix’s full schedule, visit their website at https://www.stcroixlegends.org/games.