Jelena Zbiljic's game-winner keeps Minnesota Aurora unbeaten

Minnesota Aurora FC is in its third year of existence in pre-professional soccer in the USL-W, and the franchise still hasn’t lost a regular season match.

Jelena Zbiljic made sure of that Thursday night in front of more than 5,000 fans at TCO Stadium against Rochester FC with a highlight reel goal in the 66th minute. It turned out to be the game-winner in a 2-1 victory as Minnesota Aurora improved to 3-0-2 on the season.

After a throw-in, Zbiljic beat a Rochester defender and put a left-footed shot over the keeper and into the upper far corner. The shot brought TCO Stadium to its feet. Did she know it was in when it left her foot?

"Honestly, yes and no. At halftime our coaches really wanted us to just put things on frame and see what would happen. My thought process was test the goalie and put it on frame. Luckily it got in the back of the net," Zbiljic said. "I just love to test the keeper and get a goal in, that’s exactly what happened."

It was her first goal of the season, and came at a critical time with the game tied 1-1 at half. Minnesota Aurora coach Colette Montgomery called the play a "crot" after the win.

"You never know. We call that, was it a cross or a shot? So we called that a crot. At the end of the day the ball ended up in the back of the net so we’re happy with that," Montgomery said.

In its second home match of the season, Minnesota Aurora took a 1-0 lead in the third minute. Rochester misplayed a ball in its own penalty area, leaving Catherine Rapp open in front of the net for the goal.

"I’m glad we got the win, but I think we could’ve done a lot more," Rapp said. "It shows that when we’re not playing our best we can still get results."

Rochester answered in the 38th minute with a goal off a free kick.

Montgomery is in her first season as head coach of Minnesota Aurora, but is well aware of the standard as the franchise still hasn’t lost a regular season match in its third year. They won their first two regular season games by a combined 15-0. Thursday’s was closer than it needed to be.

"I feel like we created a lot of chances tonight, but we weren’t as clinical as we’d like to be so there’s a little bit of dissatisfaction with that," Montgomery said. "When we had the team huddle at the end, the players know that. They know the standards and the expectation, so we’re going to close the door on this one very quickly."