I was having a little, uh, information gathering session two evenings ago with someone quite familiar with the sausage making of Major League Soccer. Over the cheerful din of glasses clinking at this power gathering, I mentioned the Chivas USA news and said it sounds like a good thing.
Him: “You think all this is good? It looks like a mess.”
Me: “Oh, it’s a mess the size of an oil spill. But things can’t get any worse – so any movement must be good, right?”
Chivas USA is a fiasco. None of us can identify one thing that was gone wonderfully right for the Home Depot Center’s second tenant. I suppose the development of Brad Guzan, sold on to Aston Villa back in 2008, is a wee something for the Goats to hang their hat on. And Claudio Suarez had a few quality nights in the familiar Chivas stripes.
And … uh … no, that’s about it.
Tone deaf ownership commenced to peeing in pools before the first MLS ball was kicked, insulting everyone around the league by effectively declaring that it could kick grande ass by using the MLS club as a minor league feeder for the mother ship. How’d that work out? Competitively, the Goats first season was a disaster of cartoonish proportions. A record of 4-22-6 and a minus-36 goal difference? Yeah.
There was a little success under Bob Bradley and then Preki, but the cub never won a playoff series.
Meanwhile, marketing efforts were never one bit better. Brand awareness? Nah.
Identity as an organization? Nah. We’ve beat on this poor, bedraggled old nag before.
Ordinarily, owners bailing out, GMs losing their jobs, well-regarded coaches who are suddenly worried about the ground beneath their feet … that stuff would typically ring alarms and register as “completely unstable.” But when it comes to the rudderless money pit that is Chivas USA, alas, it probably represents some sort of progress.
The latest gets summed up pretty well here in the LA Times.
And Soccer America comes in with the big hammer, asking it’s time to move this skinny puppy along, hopefully to a city where we can fatten the little guy up a bit. The Soccer America report reminds us that Chivas’ 10-year marketing agreement with Galaxy owner AEG is just about up – and suggests a buy-out would probably be less expensive than staying.
I hate all this for the Chivas USA fans who do dote on the club, even if this assembly is more squad sized than division sized. But this thing was half-baked from the get-go. If they can get into their own ground, and sooner rather than later, then I guess they should give it the old Goat go. Otherwise, better markets surely await.
Heck, maybe even this one. (FYI, that’s where the picture above comes from, down in San Antonio, were a new ground being developed.)