Tuesday’s column: Chivas USA teeters on insignificance

i-e339ab3a4a17fb033424f4edde9e4f19-chivasusafans0022.jpgChivas USA: Just add fanaticism (AP Photo).

I remember talking to a colleague at the Home Depot Center press box at one of Chivas USA’s first games watching a section of their fans – the Legion 1908 group – going bananas in a frenetic display of color and smoke and noise.

“The whole stadium will look like that in five to 10 years,” he predicted.

Well, six years in it hasn’t happened yet. And I don’t see many signs it will. Even the numbers of Legion 1908 members, a group that has had issues not only with Galaxy fans, but other Chivas USA supporters, has dwindled.

Their allegiance first is to CD Guadalajara, not the MLS off-shoot.

And that is Chivas USA’s problem as I point out in today’s column.

By the way, striker Justin Braun did indeed sustain a concussion on the weekend and is listed as questionable for Friday’s game in Seattle.

In other soccer news today:

*The soccer soap opera continues south of the border:

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A top Mexican soccer official has quit after a group of players he disciplined sought his resignation.

Nestor De La Torre was the head of national team selections and the third-highest official in the Mexican Football Federation.

A month ago, he handed down fines and suspended 13 players involved in a late-night party following an exhibition game against Colombia.

The players, led by former Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez, who now plays in New York, requested De La Torre’s resignation as a condition to drop their threat to boycott upcoming games.

Mexico plays at home at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday against Venezuela in Ciudad Juarez. The game is live on Univision.

*In other televised games of local interest today:

U.S.-Colombia 5 p.m. ESPN2 & Univision
England-Montenegro, noon Fox Soccer Plus, Euro 2012 qualifier
Seattle Sounders-CD Guadalajara, 7 p.m. Telefutura

For a complete listing of all games, click the Live Soccer TV link at top right.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Nick, your column offers a fine analysis of the problem. The biggest difference between the Sounders and Chivas USA is that the Sounders have always been a part of the soccer community in Seattle, even after the NASL folded. Chivas USA is, at its heart, artificial. It’s like finding a large American community in, say, London, creating a team called “Lakers UK” and filling the first-year roster with Smush Parker, Kwame Brown and the like, then having only a tenuous relationship with its “mother” club in Los Angeles. No amount of marketing genius can make Chivas USA less artificial; in fact, the more marketing, the more artificial the club looks. Bad “branding” is death, and bad branding killed this club at the outset. Even Jorge Vergara knows that. I wonder if the league office does? If not, Chivas USA provides a valuable lesson: “branding” isn’t everything, and marketing to a sub-group of an ethnic group is suicidal.

  • kingsnake

    Definitely do a rebranding, but move the team first. Phoenix (two domed stadia) and San Diego are big and close.

  • Joe

    They should have and still could be the working man’s LA club. But being a white male who is proud of his US national team, I would never bring myself to support Chivas knowing what it stands for.

    I’d argue they missed the greatest chance to re-brand when Beckham signed with LA. They could have become LA United or whatever, kept ticket prices low and set themselves up as the team with no glorious stars but at that time in 2007, they were the better team.

    Now, they’re dead. If they changed to an LA United team, I’d expect no better than second fiddle Clippers type attention. Yes, that’d be a step up from their current existence, but not much.

  • I tried repeatedly to purchase partial season ticket plans from Chivas USA and experienced repeated problems dealing with their ticket brokers (poor communication, difficult to purchase online, etc.). Finally I had enough and said, “screw them, it’s not worth the hassle.”

    I have season tickets to the Lakers so I’m fairly comfortable with dealing with ticket agents and believe me Chivas USA was totally unprofessional. They have nobody to blame but themselves for the lack of interest.

  • kingsnake:

    As much as I’d like to see ChivasUSA(or FC Dallas for that matter) move to Phoenix, the stadia you mention would be problematic.
    Chase Field is occupied by the D-Backs and therefore not available for the MLS season.
    U of Phoenix Stadium has too many revenue streams owned or contracted by the football Cardinals, and therefore without the Bidwell’s being part of team ownership, MLS is not financially sustainable at the venue.