DETROIT – Heartland Division champions Minnesota Aurora FC begin its 2024 USL W playoff run in the Motor City on Friday, when they take on Indy Eleven.

Indy Eleven, last season’s USL W League champion, are back in the postseason for the third straight year after claiming the Valley Division crown. Indy opened its 2024 slate by winning seven of its first eight matches.

Third year forward Katie Soderstrom leads ‘The Girls in Blue’ in points with 13, while Natalie Mitchell leads the club with six goals in nine appearances.

Keeper Nona Reason, who was in net for the 2023 meeting, enters with a 0.50 goals against average, the 10th best mark among USL W goalkeepers this season.

The Series At A Glance
The all-time series is tied, 1-1-0.

Aurora took the first-ever matchup during the inaugural USL W League playoffs in 2022. After an early goal gave ‘The Girls in Blue’ a 1-0 lead at the break, Aurora responded with two straight goals in the second half to win, 2-1.

In last season’s Central Conference Finals, Indy was first on the board, thanks to Sam Dewey’s 57th minute strike. Indy’s defense stymied the Aurora attack for the remainder of the match, ending Minnesota’s season.

By The Numbers
4 – Aurora enters Friday’s match having won eight straight matches, good enough for the fourth longest active win streak in the USL W League.

0.58 – Taylor Kane boasts a 0.58 goals against average this season, which ranks as the 12th best among all USL W goalkeepers this season.

14 – Aurora’s 14 goals scored against RKC Third Coast last week are tied for the second most scored in a single match across the league this season. It also stands as the 4th most scored in a match in league history.

They Said It
Head Coach and Sporting Director Colette Montgomery: “We’ve said from day one – pressure is a privilege – and we accept the pressure that comes with postseason play. We’re very grateful for getting another division title. But at the end of the day, we go to Indy and we try to do what we’ve done well all season: execute the game plan.”

News and Notes
First year midfielder Katie Duong was named to the league’s June Team of the Month Wednesday, garnering Player of the Month honors in the process.

The former Stanford Cardinal and Minnesota Golden Gopher has scored in seven straight matches for Aurora, finishing the month of June with eight goals and 10 assists.

What’s Next
A win Friday advances Aurora to its second consecutive Central Conference Final. They would face the winner of Detroit City FC, the host club, and River Light FC, the wild card out of the Heartland Division.

Minnesota claimed the season series with the Lights, earning a 3-2 win at TCO Stadium earlier in June.

Le Rouge are making their first ever USL W League playoff appearance after winning the Great Lakes Division.

(info courtesy of Aurora)

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