Club Deportivo Motagua of New Orleans, the first amateur soccer team from Louisiana to ever qualify for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in its modern format, will visit Mississippi Brilla Futbol Club during the first round of that tournament on May 11, officials announced Wednesday.
Brilla, based out of Clinton, Mississippi, belongs to the United Soccer Leagues-sponsored Premier Development League, in which the New Orleans Jesters and the defunct Baton Rouge Capitals used to compete. The club has appeared in the U.S. Open Cup twice before and has won four league divisional championships, including one last year.
Meanwhile, drawing from a roster that features some of the more productive players that the Jesters and Capitals have had in the past, Motagua has twice won the Louisiana Premier League, which is entering its third season and was recently recognized as one of the nation’s elite amateur leagues by the United States Adult Soccer Association.
Motagua has also captured each of the last three championships disputed in New Orleans’ so-called Islano League since 2013. The team is named after a successful professional soccer club in Honduras.
No kickoff time has yet been set for the Motagua-Brilla match. The winner will face Oklahoma City Energy FC in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup, scheduled for May 18.
Energy is a professional club that plays two levels below Major League Soccer, the sport’s top flight in the United States.
In its current format, amateur soccer teams across the United States must win their local leagues and clear a pre-tournament qualifying to earn a bid to the U.S. Open Cup, which is now in its 103rd edition and in later rounds involves MLS clubs.
Only one Louisiana team aside from Motagua has qualified for the modern U.S. Open Cup: the New Orleans Riverboat Gamblers, who once competed at the level just below MLS and went 1-1 in the single-elimination tournament in 1997 before eventually folding.
MLS teams have won all but one of the U.S. Open Cups disputed since the pro league began play in 1996, though an MLS club has lost to an amateur side before.