2016 Meet the Underdogs: CD Motagua brings New Orleans flavor back to US Open Cup

  • 0
  • May 10, 2016
CD Motagua of New Orleans

CD Motagua of New Orleans

Over the last few years, CD Motagua of New Orleans has established themselves as one of the top soccer clubs in the state of Louisiana. Yet, an amateur team from Louisiana has never qualified for Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in the Modern Era (1995-present).

Team representative Jonathan Rednour said that the team has had qualifying for the US Open Cup as their goal for the last few years.

“For the last five years, one of the main goals for our manager, and the boys, is to be more than just a local team. They want to push themselves,” said Rednour.

And push themselves they did. CD Motagua has won the International Soccer League Association of New Orleans (ISLANO) the last three years and the Louisiana Premier League the last two years. Unfortunately for the team, they’ve had a tough time trying to qualify for the Cup.

CD Motagua reached the USASA Region III tournament three times, which was one of the few paths open division teams had to qualify for the Open Cup prior to this year. Motagua fell short of the final twice, and in 2015, when they finally did win the regional tournament, the format had changed and last lost in the USASA national tournament. Finally, when the US Soccer Federation introduced its new open division qualifying tournament this year, they signed up and punched their ticket to the 103-year-old tournament.

“It’s been a journey for us, but one of our main goals is to get our guys out there and play on a national scale and put New Orleans and Louisiana on the map,” said Rednour. “We want to let people know that we got some great players down here.”

The club is the first amateur team from Louisiana to qualify in the Modern Era, but the New Orleans Riverboat Gamblers of the A-League (Division 2) made a brief two-game appearance in 1997. That team was led by a young Trinidad & Tobago striker named Stern John.

For those unfamiliar with New Orleans, the area is home to a large Honduran population. Since its founding in 1984, the squad has featured several Hondurans from the area. The Honduran players continue to fill much of the roster, and with the Honduran influence, CD Motagua has hosted friendlies with several professional teams from the country.

At CD Motagua’s founding, it was owned by a group of brothers: the Serrano brothers, the Martinez brothers and the Diaz brothers. Today, the Martinez brothers mostly run the show, but Dr. John Hamide purchased part of the team in 2010. Since then, Rednour says the team has been able to do much more.

CD Motagua of New Orleans

CD Motagua of New Orleans

“When Dr. John Hamide came aboard, he was able to help fund the team, and push us to the next level where we could start traveling and be a part of [USASA, US Open Cup].”

CD Motagua has seen several of its players go on to play for professional and international teams. Anthony Peters is the most recent one, who is now with Tulsa Roughnecks. Carlos Palacios is just one of a handful of the club’s former players that have gone on to play for the Honduran National team.

The club’s current roster is largely composed of former college or former professional players. Rednour said that when the Baton Rouge Capitals folded, many of the players began playing with Motagua. Add in some former players from New Orleans’ NPSL team, the Jesters, and the roster becomes quite competitive.

Speaking of the Baton Rouge Capitals, one of their old counterparts in the PDL will face CD Motagua in their opening match. Mississippi Brilla will be Motagua’s first opponent with the winner advancing to face OKC Energy FC.