A year ago, the goal was getting there.
This year, the Ventura County Fusion men's soccer team will be looking to do something with its berth in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The Fusion will host adult amateur side Doxa Italia in the first round of the Open Cup June 14 at the Ventura College Sportsplex, U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday.
"One our goals at the beginning of last year was to qualify for the Open Cup," said Fusion coach Ole Mikklesen. "I certainly wasn't satisfied with departing in the first round on (penalty kicks)... This year, we want to go as far as we can."
Based in Southern California, Doxa Italia have several Fusion alumni on their roster, including winger Bryan Byrne, midfielder Andrew Villalobos and defender Marcus Watson.
"That'll be interesting," said Mikklesen. "That'll be fun."
Doxa also features Buena High and Moorpark College midfielder Devin Toohey, several former Major League Soccer players and Raul Palomares, a former U.S. youth international who scored for Kaiserslautern in Bundesliga play.
None of the 64 teams in the Premier Development League have started brighter the Fusion (5-0-1), who lead the continent in goals scored (23) and goal difference (plus 20). It is one of the nine unbeaten teams left in the PDL.
"I'm extremely pleased with the results and certainly the fashion in which we've been playing," said Mikklesen. "We're playing very attack-minded soccer and the defense has held up its end of the bargain as well.
"It'll be great to continue that form into the Open Cup."
The winner of the first-round tie will play either Hollywood United, who play in the National Premier Soccer League, or the Los Angeles Blues' USL PRO side in the second round. The second-round winner could be matched up against MLS opposition.
"That's our aim," said Mikkelsen.