Minnesota Aurora players found out right away what they were getting in first-year coach Colette Montgomery when she wanted their press to be concentrated like orange juice.

"So comparing it to orange juice, pulp vs. non-pulp," midfielder Jelena Zbiljic said. "That was something she said on the first day that was funny."

The USLW season is short, but is ... concentrated ... in a short amount of time. Saturday marked the 46th day the players had been together, with only a handful of days off. So with all that time together, Montgomery likes to bring out a few smiles as her team enjoys another prolific season.

"The players roll their eyes every now and then," said Montgomery, who replaced Nicole Lukic as sporting director and head coach when Lukic left for a role with U.S. Soccer. "I say my jokes aren't for everybody — it's really for me if I think they are funny. I want to think of things that the players can really latch on to and make it stick."

The orange juice analogy definitely stuck with the players.

"So the orange juice, if you like pulp or non-pulp we can talk about that later as to what your preference is," she said. "But concentrated, keep that really compact versus the non-pulp, right?

"We want to enjoy this as much as possible, right? And high-performing individuals, sometimes we need to let go of a little bit of pressure so they can really perform on the next level. So, yeah, we have an enjoyable atmosphere."

Montgomery has the Aurora at 8-0-2 following their 4-1 victory over Chicago City SC on Saturday at TCO Stadium. Mariah Nguyen scored twice while Katie Duong and Kelis Barton added goals. Duong, who fires lasers off either her left or right foot, has four goals and six assists over her past three games.

With two games remaining in the regular season, the Aurora lead the Heartland Division with 26 points as they look to hold off River Light FC and win back-to-back division championships.

Their press, aside from being concentrated, is relentless. They play fearless, even if games get physical. They often are the more athletic side. And they like finding the back of the net. They have outscored opponents 40-6 this season. Goals have been scored by 14 players, and four players have scored at least four goals, including seven by Nguyen, the official post-goal celebration coordinator.

We were reminded of the Aurora's celebratory creativity at the two-minute mark Saturday on a rainy pitch in Eagan. Duong hit a right-footed free kick from 23 yards out that deflected off the crossbar before landing behind Chicago FC goalkeeper Molly Vapensky. Aurora players rushed over to their bench, pretended to grab a cup from a teammate and gathered for a pretend toast.

Strangely enough, there wasn't much of a celebration when Nguyen finished off a cross that deflected off a Chicago player during the 33rd minute.

Duong scored twice on Thursday during a victory over Bavarian United SC, the second on a beautiful left-footed curling shot from 18 yards out.

"We call it, if it goes in the right side [of the goal], it's a postage stamp," Montgomery said. "So I guess that was the address part of the envelope. But a great left-footed shot."

Montgomery was hired after Lukic left in March. She was given a 29-player roster with only 12 returning players from a second-year team that set high standards. She has to take the Aurora further than the conference finals this time, as last year's team was upended by Indy Eleven. But she embraced the challenge under less than ideal circumstances and is watching her team improve game-to-game.

"When you are in this environment day after day, the team chemistry just blossoms because of the time that we're spending together every single day," she said. "I think we've only had four or five days off. But it's an environment where we're asking for that commitment. And because of that, the team chemistry is there."

And Aurora players continue to laugh at her jokes.

"Yeah, they are, actually," Montgomery said. "I got a new book for my birthday last week, so I'm trying a few new ones out."