After 10 seasons in MLS, Chivas USA is no more. MLS announced on Monday, a day after it played the final game of the 2014 MLS season, that the Los
Angeles-based club was ceasing operations. MLS has announced a press conference for Thursday at Siren Studios in Los Angeles, where the owners of MLS's new Los Angeles team to begin play in 2017 will
Chivas USA won three of its last four games to finish with a 9-19-6 record and finish ahead of Colorado and San Jose in the Western Conference. Its nine wins were the most
in the last five seasons during which it failed to make the playoffs. It had previously reached the MLS playoffs four straight years, exiting in the conference semifinals each time.
Chivas USA was a lame-duck team following the announcement in February that MLS had bought out owners Jorge Vergara
and Angelica Fuentes
for what Commissioner Don Garber
described as "market value." The league was to operate the club until new owners were found in
the Los Angeles market. At the MLS board of governors meeting three weeks ago, the decision to disband Chivas USA as of the end of the 2014 season was approved.
“As part of our new
strategy for Southern California -- a major hotbed of soccer participation and fan support -- we believe that engaging with a new ownership group which has the resources and local community ties, and
a plan for a dedicated soccer-specific stadium, provides us with the best chance for success,” said Garber.
Four weeks ago, SI.com's Grant Wahl
that the ownership group that’s almost certain
to acquire Chivas USA from MLS and move it to a new Los Angeles location included Vietnamese-American entrepreneur Henry Nguyen
, Los Angeles Dodgers and Golden
State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber
, Cardiff City chairman Vincent Tan
and ESPN basketball analyst Tom Penn
MLS will move forward in 2015 with 20 teams, including expansion clubs Orlando City SC and New York City FC. The Houston Dynamo and
Sporting Kansas City will move to the Western Conference, creating two 10-team conferences.
Each team will play 34 games during the regular season. Clubs will play each team in the
opposing conference once for five home and five away matches. Clubs will play each of their nine conference opponents at least twice (one home, one away), plus six additional intra-conference games --
three home and three away.
MLS will conduct a Dispersal Draft of the Chivas USA roster in the near future.
Chivas with its lame "USA" tag never tried to identify with its LA market home, can't say that I'm surprised about this.
Good Bye Chivas, welcome NYCFC and ORLANDO...This sounds so exciting, the true appeals of promotion-relegation...
Just move team out of LA. Why is MLS beating a dead horse??? They will NEVER get out of the shadow of the Galaxy in LA. Galaxy OWNS that town. Just move team to San Diego, or Sacramento, where the team would get way more fan support.
MLS did a disgraceful job of handling the Chivas exit. Although we figured out this would be happening, they never announced it to the fans. Sunday's last Chivas USA match there was no farewell, it was absurd.
The 2nd point is you'd have to be a big idiot to put a 2nd club in LA. You will not be able to build a stadium in any good location, and there are no fans for a 2nd club. The Galaxy don't even sellout and they are the best franchise in MLS! Move them to a city that is ready and has fans! its a pretty simple equation. Why is MLS so stupid sometimes?
The Chivas USA fiasco is proof of the near-sighted leadership that is so prevalent in MLS. The LA Galaxy have seen average attendance drop for a third straight season, a season that saw attendance of Chivas USA games drop over 1,300 a game. 168,340 fewer fans attended MLS games during the 2014 regular season in LA than did in 2011, that's nearly 5,000 fewer fans a game. Since the Galaxy's numbers have dropped along with Chivas USA's numbers (although not as severely), it is not necessarily a given that Chivas USA's departure will benefit the Galaxy. MLS has squandered a unique opportunity to expand its brand and grow the sport to another market, instead opting to pursue a lost cause of a second LA franchise. I am concerned how well NYCFC will do next year and, if the results are anything but positive, MLS must re-think LA2 before it re-launches in 2017.
Vergara had a good idea--a feeder club for his Mexican team, in a city with a bazillion mexicans. But by calling it Chivas he turned off all the legion of mexican fans who didn't support Chivas-Guadalajara. So the next team that comes in would be smart to identify as generically mexican, use the colors of el tri, and build a real community team from local talent. The LA basin has boatloads of talented youth players--this isn't rocket surgery. Lastly, Garber shouldn't have been directly involved in the transaction to migrate ownership to another investor group--that was unamerican. You fail, you lose everything/sell at a discount and someone comes along to pick up the pieces and start again. MLS should be very careful their monolithic business model doesn't ossify beneath them.