NEW YORK (AP) — Chivas USA might not play in 2015 and perhaps longer, a decision that won’t be made until a new owner takes over the Major League Soccer team.
“We expect to be able to close an agreement by the end of the season,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said Thursday after a news conference to launch the league’s new logo.
“Once we get an ownership group in place, we’ll sit down with them and make a decision as to whether or not we’re going to keep that team operating in 2015 and beyond.”
The league hopes to have a schedule by late fall. With the addition of New York City and Orlando, MLS will have 20 or 21 teams next year, depending on whether Chivas USA plays.
Chivas USA was formed in 2004, and MLS announced in February it had assumed operation of the team from Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes, who have controlled the Mexican club Chivas Guadalajara since 2002.
Chivas USA is last in the Western Conference at 6-16-6 and is averaging 6,942 for home games this season, less than half the figure of the team with the second-lowest average.
Chivas USA shares the StubHub Center with the Los Angeles Galaxy in Carson, California, and Garber has said the new ownership group must intend to build a new stadium, perhaps at the site of the L.A. Sports Arena.
Garber also said the league had fined Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena $20,000 for criticizing MLS over the uncompleted deal to acquire American midfielder Sacha Kljestan from the Belgian club Anderlecht.
During an Aug. 25 interview with The Washington Post, Arena was quoted as saying: “We had all of our ducks in a row. We were positioned to sign a player. I won’t go into detail, and just say forces within the league worked real hard to make sure that didn’t happen. … because they are children and there have to be adults in the process, and we didn’t have enough of them. I think we are back into the old days in the league when the rules are somewhat arbitrary.”
Garber said “it was a deal that did not come to the league for approval, and had it we would have not approved it.”
He differentiated Kljestan from goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who spent the early part of this season on loan to Toronto from Queens Park Rangers, by saying “we had certain rights in the Julio Cesar deal that we didn’t have in this deal.”
“All of our employees, whether they are league executives or they are club executives, even going so far as to including our owners, are bound by an agreement that we will not criticize the system that our ownership is fully committed to,” Garber said. “It pains me to have to fine him for making comments that he obviously feels strongly about but which he is required by league rules to keep to himself.”
Garber also said the league is reviewing criticism by Toronto midfielder Michael Bradley of Canadian referee David Gantar who called a foul and disallowed what would have been a go-ahead goal in the 90th minute by Gilberto in a 1-1 tie against Chicago last weekend.
“That referee did not get it right in that game, and we shouldn’t be ashamed of saying that,” Garber said. “I feel for Toronto FC.”
The league’s new logo, replacing the ball-and-cleat image in use since MLS started play in 1996, has a shield with a slash that extends on the lower side in a tail. It will be used in various colors to match different teams.
“If you look around at all the league logos around the world, they all have a ball in it. The shield represents an identity that we think is very soccer- or football-oriented,” Garber said. “We don’t believe that we need to take elements of the game to tell the world or our fans that we’re a soccer league.”
The logo is part of an “MLS Next” rebrand that was announced at a venue in New York’s Meatpacking District, an area where Garber said “many of the millennials and those that are supporters of our league live and hang out. The new logo represents our commitment to what’s next.”
On other topics, Garber said:
- He is back at work following prostate cancer surgery that was successful.
- MLS hopes to volunteer for video review experiments FIFA may authorize “so that we can ensure that games are not determined by calls that in retrospect can be looked at as being wrong.” However, goal line technology such as the systems used by the Premier League and FIFA “is incredibly expensive, and for the amount of times that that’s an issue throughout the year, we don’t believe that it’s an expense that should be a priority for us.”
- David Beckham’s group continues to seek a site for a downtown stadium in Miami and is not considering the suburbs: “Right now we’re really focused on having a downtown stadium. We’ve seen how that has worked for us in so many other markets.”
— World Soccer Shop (@worldsoccershop) September 18, 2014
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 18, 2014
— Ainslie Binder (@ainslieann) September 18, 2014
The new #MLS logo, from the people who brought you the Crew's half-finished away jersey.
— Thomas Floyd (@thomasfloyd10) September 18, 2014
I'm pretty sure a new logo and brand will lead to better play on the field too. #MLS
— Travis Clark (@travismclark) September 18, 2014
I mean I don't get it, I know my internet is slow, but I can't get the new #MLS logo to finish downloading. Oh, that's it? Oh ok then.
— Pablo Maurer (@MLSist) September 18, 2014
So the @MLS logo, what do we think? I get the branding angle, smart actually, but is individuality between the clubs still being washed out?
— Jay DeMerit (@D6MERIT) September 18, 2014
— Glancing Header (@GlancingHdr) September 18, 2014
From the Major League Soccer marketing minds that brought you Chivas USA, comes the new MLS logo.
MLS wanted to get rid of its outdated image that says soccer and replaced it with one so abstract is says nothing at all.
Read more from The Washington Post here.
Not so coincidentally, the 7:30 p.m. Saturday game is designated as Hispanic Heritage Night.
Here’s more from the Galaxy press release:
During Saturday’s Hispanic Heritage Night celebrations, the Galaxy will honor seven countries and celebrate their independence as representatives from Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Chile will be in attendance for the match. Additionally, StubHub Center will feature food, drink, dancing and live music from the various countries represented before and during the match. At halftime, each country’s leader will receive special recognition on the field during a parade of flags.
Busy weekend? Let’s play catch-up.
The Galaxy dropped valuable road points for a second consecutive game in a foul-ridden game in the Bay Area, striker Robbie Keane missing a penalty in the 1-1 draw against the Earthquakes Sunday and the chance to win the game on a weekend that saw rivals Seattle become the first MLS team to clinch a post-season berth.
Next for the Galaxy: FC Dallas at StubHub Center 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Meanwhile, does anyone — even the people who work there — still care about Chivas USA anymore as their futile winless streak hits double digits?
We’ll spare you the video on that one.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) September 14, 2014
— 121Boys (@121Boys) September 10, 2014
— LA Galaxy II (@LAGalaxyII) September 11, 2014
The question in the headline of this post is somewhat tongue in cheek, but worth asking given Chivas USA’s deteriorating fan base and the free admission and parking to the Galaxy II’s first-ever home playoff game on Saturday.
Apparently encouraged by what he saw from deploying a three-man backline in the 6-0 win against the Colorado Rapids last Friday, Arena tried the same tactic from the outset of the contest on the road in Montreal against the Eastern Conference basement dwelling Impact with almost catastrophic results.
Montreal’s heretofore anemic attack bagged two first half goals, forcing the Galaxy to belatedly install a four-man back line and come from behind to grab a 2-2 draw. The frantic fight back contributed to yellow cards defender Dan Gargan and Landon Donovan received, who will now miss Sunday’s game in San Jose against the Earthquakes. And the tactical error was compounded by the fact that the lone point from the road tie cost the Galaxy the opportunity to overtake the Seattle Sounders for the overall MLS lead with a win.
“Yes, we switched,” Arena said after the game, “because we didn’t have the team I needed on the field to do the changes I was asking for. That`s my responsibility, because I put out a formation on the field that wasn’t effective with the players I put in the lineup. At halftime the message was to get a goal in, to get back in the game.”
Experienced striker Robbie Keane agreed with Arena’s assessment:
“You could see we didn’t have the personnel to play there, so when we went back to the original 4-4-2, then we got back into the game,” he said. “It was obvious to see.”
Fans could have told Arena he was playing with fire.
The three-man defensive corps included much-maligned Brazilian defender Leonardo. While he didn’t make any of the huge defensive blunders he is known for, Leonardo also looked way too passive on at least one of the goals.
It’s unclear what Arena sees in Leonardo that virtually everyone else does not, but he wasn’t the only disappointment. So, too, was Stefan Ishizaki, who was hauled off at half time and replaced with Robbie Rogers when the switch was made, and seems to be regressing rather than progressing after a relatively bright start to his MLS career.
So should fans pat themselves collectively on the back and cluck “told you so’s” at Arena?
Another player fans love to hate, forward Alan Gordon, who was not known as a prolific goalscorer in his first go round with the Galaxy, scored the equalizer Wednesday and now has three goals in seven games since his return from San Jose.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) September 9, 2014
MLS beat writer Phil Collin has the game basics here.
Hello fans, today is game day! Stay tuned and send your positive energy our way! lagalaxy vs… http://t.co/paahN49l4N
— Juninho (@Juninho19LA) September 10, 2014
— Columbus Crew (@ColumbusCrew) September 7, 2014
Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza, his wife, Megan, and the rest of their family will hold a memorial service Thursday for Luca DeLaGarza, the couple’s child who died after just a few days after being born, it was announced today.