[CHIVAS USA SALE: Reaction] Forgotten in recent years, as Chivas USA has faded, is that Chivas USA did have support in the early years. The Chivas-LA Galaxy rivalry was the Super Clasico for a reason, as Steve Sampson, the Galaxy coach at the time, explains.
“When I was the [Galaxy] coach in 2005 -- and we played them literally five times that year -- every single game was a sellout,” says Sampson, the former U.S. and Galaxy head coach who speaks fluent Spanish and works as a commentator for Galaxy telecasts on Time Warner Cable Deportes. “The enthusiasm and the excitement and the atmosphere around those games was truly great. But they lost all that when they lost their identity.”
“In the first few years, when they truly marketed the team as a Chivas team, they had a tremendous rivalry with the Galaxy. Those games actually had meaning and they actually competed quite effectively. When they began to lose their identity, by being cheap and not respecting the quality that truly existed in MLS by bringing subpar talent, they slowly began to lose their market share and to lose money and lost connection with the community.
"Chivas USA never had, in my opinion, a true identity. They not only didn’t relate to the Hispanic community in Los Angeles, but it was very confusing to the Anglo community, the non-Hispanic community."
"From day one, if they had just stuck to their game plan -- to be a Latin-based team and truly represent the Chivas name -- I think they would have been successful. But when you have a majority of Latin players and a non-Latin coach, it gets confusing. Then you have the reverse: non-Latin players and a Latin coach, and it doesn’t make for very good chemistry, and it doesn’t send a very good message to the community.
"They just got it completely wrong. If they would have had a vast majority of Latin-American players, they would have had great success. And along with that, you have to have an Hispanic coach who could communicate effectively to both the Spanish-speaking and non-Spanish-speaking player."