AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin FC certainly hopes its second try at the U.S. Open Cup tournament goes better than its first.

The team’s first appearance in the tournament last year was brief after they fell 2-1 to San Antonio FC in the third round — the round that Verde and Black entered the tournament in. On Wednesday, Austin FC has another shot to advance in the tournament when it takes on New Mexico United at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Q2 Stadium.

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With a “congested” schedule as Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff puts it, the club’s May calendar is jam-packed. They’ll have four matches in a 10-day span starting with the Open Cup, and if they win Wednesday, they’ll have another Open Cup match on the backend of the hectic slate. Wolff said he’ll use his available roster to its fullest, and in the end, he’s playing every game to win.

“The ambition is to win the Open Cup,” Wolff said. “It’s a great competition and we look are looking forward to tomorrow’s match. We will make whatever changes we need based on the weekend and all of our guys are going to play.”

Austin FC will be without midfielder and captain Sebastian Driussi. Wolff said Driussi is out “for a few weeks, probably,” after he suffered a groin injury leading up to Austin’s 2-2 road draw with the Portland Timbers. Wolff said he’s hopeful that Driussi could be ready to return to the pitch by the end of May.

Midfielder Owen Wolff, who has played very well for Verde and Black this season, will also not be available. He was selected to play for the United States in the U-20 FIFA World Cup in Argentina, and he’s training with the team ahead of its first match against Ecuador on May 20. The team also plays Fiji and Slovakia in group play, and depending how that shakes out, Austin FC could be a bit thin at the position for a while.

Getting Diego Fagundez back from his injury will help, but Wolff said he’s proud of his son for making the roster and wants him to play well, even if it hurts Austin FC in the short term.

“He represents Austin FC and has done an incredible job preparing himself to get to that point, and now he has an opportunity to go compete,” Coach Wolff said. “Without him and Seba, those are two real pocket players for us, probably our only pocket players that can really turn between lines and aggressively attack a back line. He’s contributed a goal and three assists as an 18-year-old, so those things have been strong to see.”

Goalkeeper Brad Stuver said this is the first time that several of the team’s veteran players went down with injuries around the same time, but that hasn’t changed the leadership dynamic of the group. Driussi went to Portland even to support the team and other veterans have been there to pick up the slack.

“We’ve talked about it before that we have a bunch of guys in the locker room that are leaders, just with different leadership qualities,” he said. “Not every guy has the same type of leadership qualities, but when Seba isn’t on the field, we’ve got to find ways to be the leaders we are and shape this team.”

More about the U.S. Open Cup opponent: New Mexico United

New Mexico beat Phoenix Rising FC 2-1 in the third round of the tournament to advance in the 99-team tournament that features professional and semi-professional teams all across the country. Josh Dolling scored the game-winning goal in the 87th minute as United played against 10 men for the entire second half following a Phoenix red card late in the first half.

Wolff said United has a similar playing style to the New York Red Bulls. Troy Lesesne, who was United’s head coach and sporting director for three seasons before joining the Red Bulls prior to the 2022 MLS season, is now the Red Bulls’ interim head coach. While United is part of the second-tier USL, Wolff said his club will be in for a fight.

“They’re going to be aggressive and they press extremely forward-thinking,” Wolff said. “They’ll make it combative and very difficult. We have to find the opportunities to take on and bypass the pressure, but know it’ll be challenging.”

Under Lesesne in 2019, United made it to the quarterfinals of the tournament and beat two MLS teams to get there.

In USL Championship play this season, United is in ninth place out of 12 Western Conference teams with eight points (2-3-2) and a goal differential of -1.