Chivas USA faces the Premier Development League’s Ventura County Fusion at 5 p.m. Sunday at Cougar Stadium at the College of the Canyons in Valencia, in what is becoming an annual benefit for the non-profit Michael Hoefflin Foundation, which provides financial and emotional support to children with cancer and their families. (Tickets are $20 or $40 for a family pack of two adult tickets and two for kids – call 661-250-4100 for info).
But some key players will be absent this weekend as the column points out. Chivas USA is continuing to struggle with injuries that severely hampered its season last year. And the opening game of the MLS season is less than a month away. (Atiba Harris is also out injured, it should be noted).
I always collect more material than can fit in a column; below are some leftovers.
Here’s Preki on why Ante Razov is back with the team after saying in no uncertain terms at the end of last year he didn’t expect to return:
“He was out of contract. When you’re out of contract you always want to keep your options open.”
Here’s co-owner, President and Chief Executive Officer Shawn Hunter on the team’s financial status in the contracting economy. The club is still losing money, but the gap between revenues and expenses is narrowing, a trend expected to continue this year:
“Last year we went up 10 percent in revenues and this year we’re expecting to do the same,” he said, adding the franchise is focused on retaining its season ticket base rather than expanding it.
“We should hold steady at around 2,000 (season ticket holders),” he said. “We made a jump from about 800 in 2007 to about 2,000 last year. The first three years (of the club’s existence) Chivas never renewed more than 50 percent of its season ticket base. … “We’re doing a better job of not only getting fans, but keeping them. We’re projecting about a 75 percent to 80 percent retention (rate) and that will get us back to the 2,000. We could be a little bit higher or a little bit lower, but we feel like were holding ground.
“Over the last few years we’ve been the stabilizing brand for soccer in this marketplace and where this brand got off to a very rough start on the pitch and off we repaired that.”