Hopeless Chivas USA a blight for league

After yet another disappointing result for the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, it’s time to cheer everyone up a bit. With a group of top quality players, at least the Union have hope at this point.

There are a couple of teams with worse form than Philadelphia, but one stands out above the other. It’s Chivas USA, and after a mere 6,000 fans endured a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Houston this weekend, it’s bad. Real bad.

Change apparently hasn’t done them good

While Major League Soccer is off celebrating with Arthur Blank and David Beckham, as well as drawing up plans to retrofit Yankee Stadium for NYCFC, Goats fans get to watch their team lose 5 of the last 7. Only two players not named Erick Torres have scored goals for the Rojoblancos. As much as the league wants to advertise Cubo’s record, “bright spots” aren’t really salving fan’s wounds.

In fact, fan group Union Ultras have bashed the players for not showing appreciation for their efforts in supporting the team on the road. It’s easily understood.

New chapter must begin soon

A couple of months ago, I included the Goats’ ownership change as one of the items that made the 2013-14 offseason a win for the league. Memories of that victory over Vergara’s asleep-at-the-wheel ownership are fading.

The league is welcome to point out that every sports league has bad teams, and provide the right cliches to explain the club’s predicament. Even this week, Club President Nelson Rodriguez went so far as to compare Chivas USA to the Los Angeles Clippers. Except for that “playoff-caliber” thing the Clips have going on.

But they still have the opportunity to turn the bulk of 2014 as the building experience for 2015. The World Cup is fast approaching, and it would be an opportune time to relaunch the franchise into an image that can challenge the Galaxy for fans and titles.

A successful rebranding plan of Chivas USA might include this June’s tournament as a key driver to reenter the market. Competing for those seeking out local professional soccer will be extremely difficult. The Galaxy are the easy, chic pick for anyone who prefers to glom onto a proven winner. But there are others who prefer a less-established team, one that will work from the ground up to eventually rise to success.

But is this the right direction?

At this point it appears that MLS is taking a laissez-faire approach to the current state of Chivas USA. You could certainly understand the league being skittish about showing the Goats any preferential treatment.

Rodriguez is the man in charge of the franchise. On paper they have a roster that is at least competitive with MLS opponents, but given the current course it’s tough to escape the impression that the franchise is in “dead man walking” mode.

Los Angeles itself can be a tough sports market. Winning is tantamount to profitable gate attraction. Even that doesn’t ensure success for a franchise — see how both Al Davis and Georgia Frontiere moved their NFL franchises out of LA in quick succession in 1994, and the city is still without one.

I’m still not sure that a second Los Angeles franchise is a wise move. The rebranded Chivas franchise will either be in the shadow of the Galaxy at Stub Hub Center, or a second tenant to a new NFL stadium. Neither one of those seems like a win.

Not when there are ample cities out there clamoring for MLS franchises in their own right. Minnesota, San Antonio, Sacramento, and Indianapolis, just to name a few.

We assume that Chivas USA is staying put. Whatever revamping is provided for this troubled franchise, one thing’s for sure — it’s time for it to start happening.


  1. Pity relegation isn’t an option.

  2. DarthLos117 says:

    We can’t play them soon enough.

  3. John Ling says:

    I’ve always expected Chivas would be moved once the expansion hype was over. If there are no expansion slots left, that raises the value to a potential buyer to scoop up Chivas.
    In the meantime, they should do anything they can to put butts in the seats. If that means they have to give away 10,000 tickets a game, then that’s what they should do. Schools, youth soccer organizations, charities, whatever. Get somebody, anybody, into those seats. Maybe they make a few fans, maybe they make some money from merchandise or concessions. Probably not. But at least they’re not playing to a stadium that’s at 1/4 capacity.

  4. Yes pity Chivas . . . they have only two less points than us with one game in hand and have scored 4 more goals than us. Maybe they should pity us, at least their fans are entertained!

  5. They need to get out of the Stub Hub Center and forge their own identity. I cannot imagine with the huge latino population that Chivas struggles to gain a foothold. Granted the football results are not that good right now but it has only been 4 years or so. They were a half decent team at one time.
    I like that Chivas is in the league and I like that Chivas is a SoCal team. Somethings got to give for that club though.

  6. OneManWolfpack says:

    What’s worse is that the league will continue to force a team to be in LA, rather then find a fan base somewhere else that will properly support and grow this team. Part of this problem is the Chivas name yes, but the other is the location.

  7. kingkowboys says:

    At this point I don’t understand why the league would retain the Chivas name. It means nothing now, there are no ties to the Chivas brand anymore other than the name.
    Playing second fiddle in stadium and town is never a good thing and certainly not a profitable thing. They should consider moving this team. Out of the cities listed Indy seems like a good option to better tap the MidWest. All of the options have to be better than a 2nd team in LA.
    Since the league owns the team, who handles the personnel decisions as far as trades or transfers? Are they incapable of both until someone buys the team?

    • John Ling says:

      Pretty sure the league can’t retain the Chivas name. They have a one year license on the name, if I recall; they’ll need to rebrand next season.

      • Yes, and the league said that there will be a rebrand in the sale announcement…part of me wants it to be stupid so we can make fun of it, but at this point I want things that are actually good for MLS as a whole…like moving this team or just scrapping it entirely

    • You never know what MLS rules are for any situation, let alone actually owning one of the teams. But league ownership of a franchise isn’t that uncommon. I think MLB owned the Expos for a while, the NBA owned New Orleans, and the NHL owned Phoenix for about 3 years. That’s just in the last 10 years. Think they handled it on the fly with regard to trades, free agency, etc but my take away was if the league owns you, you won’t be very good. We’re just lucky here in Philadelphia that we have an ownership that can stink all by themselves.

      • John Ling says:

        Typically, the league puts somebody in charge of the team and (in theory) gives that exec independence to make decision. (Though Stern stomped all over that with the Pelicans, when he prevented them from making a trade with the Clippers.)
        I *think* baseball also oversaw the Dodgers for a brief period recently, after the McCourts but before the current owner. But I could be misremembering.

  8. The Black Hand says:

    Are we the Pot, or the Kettle? Let’s be the Pot!

  9. The beginning of that Ultras article is truly pathetic. Grown men complaining about all they’ve sacrificed to watch other people play a game. Nobody is forcing you to miss birthdays, weddings, etc. to go hang out with your buddies at a soccer game.

  10. I’m not sure the term “laissez-faire approach” is really an accurate description of the league’s ownership of the team. MLS’s primary involvement is finding an ownership group, preferably in the LA market, with a feasible stadium plan.

    The team already has it’s three DP spots filled and, since the team is actively looking for a new owner they are understandably gun-shy about signing players to long-term deals.

    Meanwhile the league has allowed Chivas to invest in new players. Since Vergara left, Nelson Rodriguez has been actively bringing in new players who’ve been among the teams standouts such as Agustin Pelletieri and Leandro Barrera who’ve both been standouts early in the season for Chivas USA.

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