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Instant reactions to news that Major League Soccer has purchased Chivas USA

Feb 20, 2014, 4:24 PM EDT

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A truly turbulent chapter in Major League Soccer is nearing a merciful conclusion as Major League Soccer has announced the purchase of Chivas USA from Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes.

It’s. About. Time.

There will be much, much more to say about this in the coming days and weeks. And, who knows, maybe even the coming months or years – unless Stan Kroenke acts quickly! For now, here are the quick hits of what we know, with a few reactions:

  • MLS will assume clubs operations, which is nothing new for the league. It has run a team in some time, but going way back the league ran several clubs. Nothing changes for the 2014 season, competition-wise.
  • Today’s MLS release says recently named coach Wilmer Cabrera will retain his position, soon to report to an unnamed club president.
  • Rejoicing is high among MLS devotees (and writers like myself), who have long lamented how Chivas dragged down league attendance, league quality and had been – if we’re being honest – reduced to something of a league punch line.
  • Don’t forget, MLS commissioner Don Garber recently told’s Brian Straus the Chivas mess was the biggest setback of his time in charge.
  • Garber held a media teleconference call at 5 p.m. on Thursday, discussing the announcement and the Chivas USA situation.

(MORE: MLS commissioner confirms Kroenke won’t buy Chivas USA, gives details on future plan)

  • In the end, this might be the bigger shoe to fall. From today’s press release: “In the coming months, the league will resell the club to a new ownership group that will be committed to building a new stadium and keeping the team in Los Angeles.  The league has had initial discussions with a number of very qualified potential owners and intends to finalize an agreement with a new group sometime this year.”
  • Feel free to connect the dots on that statement to recent news of Kroenke’s recent purchase of land in Los Angeles and reports from abroad of a new club in the works that would be named the L.A. Gunners. Kroenke, of course, is a shareholder with the big Gunners, the ones who play in North London, in addition to owner of the Colorado Rapids. But in his conference call, Garber later quashed any hopes of an L.A. Gunners franchise starting up. Read more, here.
  • Maybe more light bulbs should have gone up with inklings from a few days ago that a Chivas USA rebrand was in the works. Apparently, trademarks had been filed on Los Angeles SC and Los Angeles F.C.
  • Finally! Writers like myself can stop going on and on about the sorry state of this thing, truly an outright league embarrassment. We’ve been banging the drum on this one for years. Like here.

Look for more on this later at ProSoccerTalk.

  1. kirielson - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    I think this is for the best. There are a LOT of investors that would want an LA team.

  2. manutebol - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    I don’t see how renaming them the LA Gunners fixes anything… it’s gonna have the same problem where your identity isn’t your own, instead you are the “diet pepsi” of the parent club brand.

    • kirielson - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:39 PM

      That’s assuming that Kronke buys Chivas.

    • danielofthedale - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:47 PM

      And I a city with a good deal of gun violence I can’t see naming a team Gunners would be a popular pr choice.

      • drewvt6 - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:33 PM

        remember the Washington Bullets?

      • danielofthedale - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:53 PM

        Yeah the team that changed their name to the Wizards because of the negative connotations of the team nam in DC.

      • Sgc - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:52 PM

        But that has a weaker brand after the rename than before.

  3. turneresq - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    They certainly should stay in the LA area, but another rebranding using the name of another team from another league (and I’m an Arsenal fan)? Surely MLS has learned their lesson.

  4. thewalkoffktxt - Feb 20, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    Anything BUT the L.A. Gunners. It makes you (yet again) a sorry puppet for a wildly popular foreign team, a bad version of better stuff you can see on TV. It doesn’t help MLS’ perception, which is why fans are all in a tizzy about NYCFC not being a feeder for Man City.

    Unlike Red Bull – which is just an energy drink with stupid money that doesn’t own a better club overseas – selling MLS-LA to Kroenke (who already owns Rapids, unless he sells it off to the owners of the Rockies or the Broncos or someone else) isn’t gonna help this team out. They need their own brand, period.

    • zeljooooo - Feb 21, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      Red Bull actually does own a better team in Europe.

    • lostintransocean - Feb 21, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      Salzberg is clearly a better team than NYRB.

  5. chunkala - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    No need for 2 LA teams.

  6. tylerbetts - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    Can I ask that we pause the celebration for a moment … just a moment, so that we can have a moment of silence for the phrase “Chivas Gonna Chivas”.

    Thank you.

  7. overtherepermanently - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    This club was a mistake. The very concept of it become a mockery and an affront to the dignity of the league – a Mexican JV team in MLS, with all the touchy nationalism of the parent club. Chivas USA’s existence made the “don’t cross the line” campaign in MLS look like hypocrisy.

    I comment Don Garber for decisive leadership on this. This was a much-needed amputation.

    • overtherepermanently - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:35 PM


  8. player169 - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    Kroenke makes sense and all he cares about is money…which he is good at getting. If he doesn’t get the franchise I’m sure he can resell his prime new real estate to the new owners.

    Gunners…chill out people. The ownership of Chivas just applied for 2 names (article somewhere else). LAFC and LASC. Bet it is a part of the MLS buyout…

  9. player169 - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    Oh, missed it. Steve mentioned the LAFC and LASC above. Exciting times…

    That means 3 more big names for the league…and continued growth.

  10. soccergroupie - Feb 20, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    Stan CANNOT purchase a soccer team in LA. NFL Rules dictate that any team owner can’t own a sports franchise in a market in which an NFL team resides. Even though there isn’t a team in LA, the NFL holds the rights to the LA Market and considers it as a inhabited market.

    This is why Stan had to transfer his ownership in the Rapids/Avalanche/ETC when he purchased the Rams.

    • kirielson - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:16 PM

      What about Krafts and Arthur Blank.

      • drewvt6 - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:35 PM

        …and Paul Allen?

      • danielofthedale - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:57 PM

        You can own other teams in the same city as your NFL team ie Kraft and Blank or in cities where the NFL does not have team ie Paul Allen with the Portland Trailblazers. LA is a special case since the NFL wants a team in LA.

    • creek0512 - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:51 PM

      Actually, the NFL ownership rule is that you can only own other sports teams in the SAME market as your NFL team. However, I don’t think the rule applies to MLS, only MLB, NBA and NHL. In reality, it’s completely pointless as demonstrated by Kroenke owning the Rams and teams in Colorado.

      • vespajet - Feb 21, 2014 at 5:29 PM

        Soccer is not included in the cross-ownership rules thanks to Lamar Hunt. His ownership in the Dallas Tornado of the NASL didn’t sit well with the other NFL owners (Joe Robbie also owned an NASL team but put the team in his wife’s name to avoid ownership issues with the NFL.) and eventually there was a lawsuit between the NFL and NASL which the NASL won and the NFL tried taking their case to the Supreme Court, where it was rejected.

    • bullettoothtony81 - Feb 21, 2014 at 10:44 AM

      Yes he can. The Hunt rules excludes soccer teams from that rule and dates back to the creation of the original NASL. He can own a soccer team in every one of the competing 31 markets if he were so inclined, actually. Just like how the Hunt family owns Dallas still to this day, despite the Kansas City Chiefs.

  11. midtec2005 - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    Great news for MLS. No lets hurry up with the re-branding!

  12. Jackson Scofield - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    @soccergroupie, I don’t think the NFL counts MLS in that rule. May be mistaken though.

  13. footballer4ever - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:33 PM

    Woohoi!! It’s a great day for us MLS football fans. Amid all the growth and developments MLS keeps gaining each year, that “ChivasUSA” curse was a league downer in every way possible. We all can express a relief sigh that this goat has been sacrificed and MLS will be a phoenix and rise from the ashes with this move. Cheers football fans!

    • drewvt6 - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:36 PM

      Anyone else find it funny saying, “It’s a great day for us M[ajor]L[eague]S[occer] football fans”?

      • footballer4ever - Feb 20, 2014 at 11:07 PM

        @ Drewvt6

        Feb 20, 2014 at 6:36 PM “Anyone else find it funny saying, “It’s a great day for us M[ajor]L[eague]S[occer] football fans”?”

        Based on the amount of responses you’ve gotten, you were laughing alone.

        Normally, I ignore a fool’s statements/actions. You are not a fool, but simply the typical class-clown. I do find it amusing though that your knowledge or lackthere of allows you to mock someone calling “soccer” football. Now, go back to your basement or caveman while you troll people online.

      • footballer4ever - Feb 21, 2014 at 11:27 PM

        Usually, I ignore fools. You are not a fool, but simply a class clown. I find it funny though that you are so obtuse to the fact “soccer” is called football by others, but you are forgiven for living down in your basement or mancave trolling on the internet. Don’t let mommy catch you consuming naughty online movies either. (ROTFLOL)

  14. hildezero - Feb 20, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    #VeteALaVergaVergara Hurry, everybody! Let’s make it trend on Twitter! Tell your friends and families! XD No more Jorge.

  15. player169 - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    I’m a Stl Rams fan. Kroenke was a minority owner of the Rams and prior to buying 100% of the Rams he simply transferred the “managing and ownership” to his son/wife if I recall. Because he owned teams in the Denver area and the Broncos already existed there, he had to do this to get around the rule. None of the owners had a problem with it and the NFL, like the MLS can do whatever they want to circumvent “rules” if it benefits the league.

  16. journeyman22 - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:15 PM

    With Chivas staying put in Los Angeles, the remaining expansion decisions become that much more critical. Two more markets, period. I know the league wants to expand its Southern footprint, but Atlanta is not the answer. Make those final two decisions based on more than geographic considerations, or the league will be saddled with a new set of failed franchises.

    • danielofthedale - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:11 PM

      The Atlanta franchise not fail. I would guess you have never spent much time in Atlanta an know nothing about the city’s demographics and the amount of soccer that is played and followed here.

    • lostintransocean - Feb 21, 2014 at 4:28 PM

      Garber has been talking up Atlanta, so that’s likely the front runner.

  17. skjln - Feb 20, 2014 at 8:52 PM

    The sale should require a city change, preferably outside of California. A city change would do more to increase MLS exposure and fan base.

    • hildezero - Feb 20, 2014 at 10:10 PM

      Yeah, that’s true. Because all those Chivas fans are gonna jump on the new club band-wagon which means that it’ll attract that same weak @$$ supporter clubs that Chivas currently have. It could possibly be De Ja Vu all over again.

      • midtec2005 - Feb 21, 2014 at 10:49 AM

        The support was weak because the franchise was so inept. The new ownership cannot possibly be as bad…

      • lostintransocean - Feb 21, 2014 at 4:29 PM

        The Chivas supporters had “Get Vergara Out” banners at the matches.

    • lostintransocean - Feb 21, 2014 at 4:31 PM

      Two teams in LA means more attraction of high-level players who will not play anywhere else. That’s six DP players in LA and six more in NY. A team only has to attract less than 1/5th of the potential LA market to have more support than the next available media market without an MLS team. There’s no point leaving that potential on the cutting room floor just to say you’re covering more geographic area.

  18. jimmystagger - Feb 22, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    Now Steve, when are you going to go after Bob Kraft for the way his team has been run? A much big embarrassment for MLS for a lot longer than Chivas USA.

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