Thu. Sep 21st, 2023

Image: Minnesota Aurora FC

The hosts didn’t make it easy, but Minnesota Aurora kept their 2023 record unblemished Sunday, returning home with a 1-0 win at Rochester FC in the second edition of what some are calling the “Hotdish Derby”.

Aurora head coach Nicole Lukic made some tweaks to the lineup, with five players getting their first start of the season. Kelsey Kaufusi made her first appearance of the 2023 season after being held out by a hamstring injury.

“We learned a lot today from trying different players in new positions. It was a good reminder for us that we are going to get our opponents’ best game the second time we play them,” said Head Coach Nicole Lukic. “Today’s game allowed us to work on our game management with a more competitive score line.”

Neither team could find their footing in the opening 30 minutes, battling back and forth. Aurora maintained most of the possession, but Rochester broke up the match’s tempo by intercepting passes in the attacking third and playing physical. 

In the 40th minute, Rochester was unable to contain Aurora’s Hannah Adler racing down the left sideline, and defender Sarah De Gannes committed a foul to break up the play. De Gannes was yellow carded, and Minnesota Aurora won a free kick outside of the 18-yard box. 

Addy Weichers, one of Aurora’s designated corner kick takers, served the free kick across the face of goal. Center back Tianna Harris pushed into the attacking third and headed the ball past goalkeeper Emma Knack for Aurora’s lone goal of the match. 

The goal is Harris’ second of the season, and she is the only Minnesota player to play every minute of the 2023 season. 

Aurora continued to maintain possession and put shots on frame to generate over 10 corner kicks, but they were unable to capitalize on their scoring chances. 

Minnesota plays again at home on Wednesday June 7th vs the Chicago Dutch Lions at TCO Stadium. In their first meeting, Aurora beat the Dutch Lions 5-0.

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