EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso Locomotive FC has not had much success historically in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. They’re looking to change that in 2023.
Los Locos learned their first opponent for the longest-running soccer tournament in the United States on Thursday. El Paso will travel to Nebraska to face USL League One foe Union Omaha in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, April 5 at 6 p.m. MT.
“We are excited about competing in such a historic competition as the U.S. Open Cup and look forward to going to Omaha, which will be a highly competitive game given the nature of this tournament,” head coach Brian Clarhaut said.
El Paso has never won a U.S. Open Cup game, losing to League One teams in 2019 and 2022. They’re looking to change that in 2023.
The nation’s largest and oldest soccer tournament, now in its 108th edition, is open to any team, professional and amateur, and has crowned a champion every year since 1914 except for 2020 and 2021. The opening rounds are primarily made up of top amateur and semi-pro teams who’ve battled through five qualifying rounds to clinch a spot in the Open Cup proper.
. In the second round, teams from the USL Championship, USL League One, National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) and MLS Next Pro enter to face each other and winners of the first round. Those that advance from the second round move to the third round where clubs from Major League Soccer enter, providing clubs from lower divisions a unique opportunity to test themselves against top division teams.
Union Omaha is coached by former El Paso assistant coach Dominic Casciato, so he will have an idea of how to play against some of Locomotive’s lineup. El Paso is gearing up for its first season under new head coach Brian Clarhaut.
Omaha won the League One regular season and league titles in 2021 and made the 2022 Open Cup quarterfinals by defeating MLS sides Chicago Fire and Minnesota United, before losing to Sporting Kansas City.
The 2023 U.S. Open Cup winner will earn $300,000 in prize money, a berth in the 2024 Concacaf Champions League and have its name engraved on the Dewar Challenge Trophy.
El Paso opens its 2023 USL Championship season March 11 at home vs. Sacramento Republic.