Chivas USA cease operations, MLS to relaunch team in LA in 2017

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The news everyone has been expecting for quite a while has arrived: Chivas USA is done.

On Monday, just one day after their final game in Major League Soccer, it was announced that the Chivas experiment is over.

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MLS commissioner Don Garber had the following to say in a short statement on the league’s website, as he confirmed that a new ownership group will be announced on Oct. 30 for LA’s second MLS franchise and it will begin operations in 2017.

“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.”

MLS also announced that it will conduct a Dispersal Draft of the Chivas USA roster in the near future.

This news comes as no real surprise after the league took control of the franchise back in February 2014 with a view to finding a new ownership group. Rumors suggest that Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan is part of a consortium who are looking to tie up a deal for LA’s second MLS franchise and the announcement revealing the identity of the new owners is expected to arrive on Thursday, Oct. 30.

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In an open letter to Chivas USA’s fans, Garber gave some more details on the plans for the new MLS franchise in LA and talked about a new soccer specific stadium, which is thought to be downtown.

“I can assure you that this new team will have world-class ownership with local connections and residency and a commitment to a new soccer stadium in the greater Los Angeles area,” Garber said. “I believe that our new strategy for Los Angeles provides the best opportunity for success and is the best way to connect with an engaged and impassioned fan base in Southern California. I am confident that this new direction will help us achieve our goal of becoming one of the top leagues in the world.”

During their ill-fated time in the league after their arrival in 2004 as a subsidiary of C.D. Chivas Guadalajara, Chivas USA made the playoffs during three-straight seasons from 2006-08 but have struggled through the past four seasons with little success. After Jorge Vergara sold Chivas USA to Major League Soccer, the writing was on the wall for the future of the club who will now have a new home in Downtown LA and become what a MLS always wanted, a genuine contender to the LA Galaxy.

Their exit will also have a big impact on the league for the 2015 season. With Orlando City and New York City FC joining for MLS’ 20th season, North America’s top-flight will have 20 teams split into two 10 team conferences. Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo will make the move from the Eastern Conference to the West.

After a long struggle, Chivas USA are no more. They have been confined to the history books of Major League Soccer, never to return.