[MLS SPOTLIGHT: Chivas USA] Eight years after its launch, Chivas USA's owners are looking to return the club to its Chivas de Guadalajara roots. For the first time since taking full control of the club, owner Jorge Vergara -- along with his wife, Angelica Fuentes – held a press conference to go over what's gone wrong and how they intend to fix things. Among other things, Vergara blamed Chivas USA for not seeking help from Chivas de Guadalajara and he intends to have it in MLS Cup within two years.
Vergara stressed that Chivas USA got away from its Mexican philosophy and vowed to reintroduce what worked at Chivas de Guadalajara, which he also owns.
“This is the return of the prodigal son,” said Vergara. “From its inauguration, the plan was to make Chivas USA the son of Chivas de Guadalajara. Along the way, it got away from that and the clubs suffered a divorce in philosophy and structure.”
Exhibit A: Vergara says he offered to send Javier Hernandez on loan from Guadalajara to Chivas USA for one season, but then-Coach Preki declined, saying that Chicharito "wasn’t good enough."
“Chivas USA tried to imitate the style of play from other MLS teams," he said. "They played more physical, the qualities of the U.S. players and they forgot to use the technical advantage and speed of Hispanic players. We didn’t play like they do in the U.S., or Mexico and the failure of that is in this last season.”
Vergara said the club had to improve its scouting of players and take full advantage "of the multi-cultural resources in this country. We need to get back to basics and identify talent in Southern California.”
Robin Fraser was dismissed after the 2012 MLS season during which Chivas USA had a 7-18-9 record, its worst since the inaugural campaign.
"Soccer wise, it’s simple,” Vergara added later. “ We need the team to perform on the field, play spectacularly and most importantly, get the wins, be the champion. Our goal is that in the next two years, we get to the MLS Cup final and grow from there.”
No successor to Fraser has been named, though Mexican Efrain Flores has been mentioned as the likely choice.
Vergara said Chivas USA is a club with ties to the Southern California immigrant community, not only Mexicans, but also Colombians, Salvadorans and others.
He said Chivas USA had plans to move into a new stadium. Its current lease with the Home Depot Center has two years to go.
“The thought is that within the next couple of years we will be in a new stadium," said Vergara.
There has been speculation that Chivas USA might move to San Antonio, where the NASL had success in 2012, but Vergara says the club will stay in Angeles.
"In the beginning, we paid an extra fee to be in Los Angeles and that’s where we remain," he said. "This is where we have our fan base and we’re not moving. We have the advantage in Chivas USA of having many nationalities; we can promote players of other nationalities, which by the way, is already happening."