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 SI.com’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.
Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.
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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”
Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:
“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.
“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.
Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.
[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]
Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.
Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)
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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.
That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.
One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.
[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]
Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.
Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.