The 2023 edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is well and truly underway. This week the clubs are participating in the second round of the tournament. After the change to the format for this year, the USL Championship clubs enter the tournament earlier than in previous years. With the second round, history is being made in New Mexico. For the first time ever, two clubs from the state will face off against each other.
New Mexico United is playing host this week to the UPSL side UDA at NMSU. UDA is coming off an upset victory over the Park City Red Wolves of USL League Two. During the first round of the tournament proper, UDA hosted the Red Wolves in Las Cruces where they picked up the win, 0-1. The lone goal in that match came by way of a penalty kick for UDA.
UDA is not a well-known entity. They operate a year-round program in which they compete in the UPSL seasons. They also participate in other showcases throughout the year while allowing academy players to work toward getting a bachelor’s degree.
New Mexico United comes into the match after a loss to Oakland Roots SC in league play on Saturday night. On Tuesday, they’ll be a much smaller venue when they host UDA. The match on Tuesday was moved from the UNM Soccer Complex to Rio Rancho High School.
On paper, United should be the clear favorite to advance to the third round of the Open Cup. In this tournament, anything can happen though. United will need to find a way to get their offense on track and this is a match that could do that for them. Against a lower-division opponent, there’s no reason that United shouldn’t be forcing the ball into the area for their strikers, Greg Hurst or Josh Dolling.
Player to Watch
Josh Dolling – The newly signed striker hasn’t had much of an opportunity through the first two league games of the season to make an impact. The Open Cup match against UDA could open the door for Josh to get his first goals for the club. Look for him to be prowling the box of the UPSL side throughout the night.
Tuesday night’s Open Cup match is set to kickoff at 7 p.m. (MT) from Rio Rancho High School. The match will be streamed live on New Mexico United’s YouTube channel as well as broadcast live on ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM, via The TEAM app, and The TEAM website.