Summer League Recap: Aurora roll to Heartland Division crown and into USLW Playoffs, MN Thunder hold on for WPSL Northern Conference title but turn down playoff birth, and Tonka Fusion Elite look to have the UPSL Midwest West locked up
Regular season champs have been crowned in the USL W League and WPSL and we are moving into playoff time. The MN Thunder came away winners in a tight race for the WPSL Northern Conference, sneaking across the line ahead of Salvo SC and Sioux Falls City FC (pictured above) in a very balanced year for that league in the North. In the UPSL Midwest West's inaugural year, it looks to be Tonka Fusion Elite as frontrunners for the title but it wasn't easy, with Northern Tide and Superior City taking it to the last few games with them. Teams like Vlora FC and Superior City FC did great work promoting their squads, streaming games and setting a standard for that Division next year when it comes to public facing work. Check out our Instagram or YouTube feeds for easy access to the archive of on the ground work we have done this summer! Thank you to the Patreons who make it possible
It is safe to say that MN Aurora ran away with the Heartland Division title. 60 goals scored, 4 against in 12 straight wins, and also still undefeated across their two regular seasons. Chicago City edged their Dutch Lion rivals for the Wild Card birth and will hope third time is the charm against Aurora. Chicago City lost 7-0 to end the season but that was at Aurora’s TCO Stadium, they’ll hope the Flint, Michigan setting proves a better place to upset last year’s finalists. One wrinkle for the Conference Playoffs in Flint is the absence of Hannah Adler, because she's been called up to the National Beach Soccer team. Aurora will hope they can make it through to the Semifinals where Adler could return, she's been huge as a new attacker for them.
USL W League Playoffs
Central Conference Semi Finals
MN Aurora vs Chicago City
Kickoff: 2pm Central
Stream: Fox9+ YouTube
Central Conference Finals
Winner of Aurora v Chicago City will play the winner of Indy Eleven and Flint City (July 6, 4pm Central)
Kickoff: 2pm Central
Stream: TBD (Fox9 + YouTube if it's MN Aurora)
The MN Thunder scored 49 goals in 8 games to win the WPSL Northern Conference this year, but it was a brutal 3 way nail biter to win it. Salvo, who scored 34 goals and gave up THREE in 8 games, lost out because of 2 tough draws. When Sioux Falls City tied at Salvo to start the year, it may have doomed them both as the Thunder grabbed the top spot and never lost a game. Credit to second year team Sioux Falls City for giving the typical frontrunners a real challenge. There was plenty of competitive balance with only the Fusion failing to get a couple wins.
WPSL Northern Conference Champs MN Thunder have elected to not play in the ‘23 playoffs, so their spot will likely be picked up by runner up Salvo SC. They will play a to be determined team in the July 15-16 window, which we will post about as it is made public!
The inaugural season of UPSL Women in MN must be rated a success. Tonka Fusion Elite will likely be Midwest West Division Champs with just a draw to stop an invincible season so far, but there was actually good competitive balance overall, a difficult feat in the inaugural year. Northern Tide and Superior City were still in the hunt for the top stop until the last round of games, and both St Croix and Vlora had there share of positive results. Granite City, the only winless team so far, no doubt take some lessons into next year and will know what it takes to compete with their new rivals.
Games to Watch
Superior City FC vs Tonka Fusion Elite
NBC Spartan Sports Complex (Superior, WI)
Playoff info tbd! We will post as it is made public
INTERVIEW WITH JENNY VETTER
We sat down with Mankato legend Jenny Vetter to talk about signing her first pro contract in Portugal, the mindset shift from star college player to tryout player in NWSL camp, the process of finding an agent, exploring her opportunities overseas, her historic NSIC career, and more!
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