On Wednesday, the news broke that Chivas USA's ownership situation changed, as the Cue family was bought out by the Vergara family. One interesting and rather puzzling note that's been buried in the story is that the Cue's were offered outright ownership by the Vergaras, but they refused. That's a great sign, isn't it? Then, yesterday, came the report that General Manager Jose Domene was out, but Domene responded last night saying he wasn't fired.
One reporter who reported on Domene's firing yesterday, Steven Goff of the Washington Post, tweeted this out earlier today:
Meantime at Chivas USA, at least 1 player says GM is on way out but hasn't been told. Not sure who to believe anymore. Bizarre.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) August 31, 2012
Bizarre, indeed. But that may just be the future of Chivas USA, for all we know. Jorge Vergara has done quite a job with Chivas de Guadalajara in recent years, and that team is struggling with some young prospects, a giant stadium, and rumors of financial issues. Let's travel down the possibility road and see what the future could hold for Chivas USA!Status quo remains intact: 2% possibility
Here's one point that I think just about everybody can join together on. Should Chivas continue to be run in the way they've been run? No. The team has been struggling for years now on the field, the funding hasn't been around, the marketing has been haphazard to shabby, they are the only team that doesn't play in a stadium of their own, and a lot of people, fans and neutrals/haters alike, hate the name. So let's say changes should be on the horizon. It is crushing to be a team that is ignored by the owners and seemingly ignored by everybody else too.
Will Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes leave the team to be run as its currently being run? Nope. Given Vergara's track record with Chivas de Guadalajara, hands-off is not in his vocabulary. Sure, there's a very small chance he'll still keep Chivas USA out of mind, but I think that's highly unlikely, especially given the rumors about Domene's status with the club. It's a safe possibility that there will be some real shake-ups.
Vergara makes a big splash in buying an expensive player: 25% possibility
You may remember the rumors out of the Mexican press in the summer that Spanish forward Raul was coming to Chivas USA at Vergara's behest. If there was any truth to that report (and that's a crucial question - I didn't think there was any chance of him coming to CUSA) then there may be hope that next season, Vergara may try to get another star to come to his American club. Think about it: Vergara's other team only plays Mexican players. You don't think he sits at his desk, and occasionally wonders what it would be like to bring international stars to his pride and joy? Now he can try it out, without scrapping the all-Mexican policy for Chivas de Guadalajara. He can go after every big name player on the outs or out of contract around the world if he wants! Sure, they might be over the hill and potentially ineffective, but wouldn't it be neat to try out the strategy of bringing in stars?
Still, the chance of this isn't higher because there remain major questions about the money Vergara has at his disposal. If he's playing cheap with his flagship club, can we really count on him splashing the cash for his other club?
There will be a lot more Mexican influence at the club: 99.9999% possibility
One rumor that came out after Domene's rumored departure was that Jose Luis Real was set to take over the general manager position. Of course, Domene himself is from Mexico, but I'm guessing the changes won't stop there. If Robin Fraser loses his job, I think a Mexican coach to replace him would be the bettor's choice, with a Dutch coach close behind, as that's what's currently in vogue in Guadalajara. Players? Those of you hoping for more Mexican players are likely going to be pretty happy.
The team will go for an all-Mexican/all-Latino/all-SoCal/all-Something squad: 50% possibility
The policy of having an all-Mexican team in Guadalajara is more or less successful, although the fact that the club has to pay a premium on transfers, have hamstrung themselves in a possible player pool, and have been performing poorly in recent years sort of mitigates that observation. But I'm on the record as being against a policy in which Chivas USA is run in a way in which they focus on a particular nationality, ethnicity, or region as their only player pool. But does that mean that Vergara won't try it? I think he might. I think things like labor laws and the realities of MLS would make it a foolish policy if fully followed, but that doesn't mean it won't happen. I'm feeling a 50/50 chance on this one.
Chivas USA will become a farm team for Chivas de Guadalajara: 30% possibility
They tried this before, and it didn't work. That could mean that Vergara will not entertain the possibility of playing raw prospects and castoffs from Guadalajara again, or it could mean that he'll go for it full tilt this time, since it wasn't fully carried out last time around. If this happens, Chivas USA will not win anything ever, so be very afraid of this possibility.
Chivas USA will rebrand: 0.0% possibility
Antonio Cue had talked about rebranding the club, but I don't see it happening with Vergara fully in control. Get ready for more endless complaints about the name from people who don't follow the team, because the name has probably just been set in stone.
The stadium situation will be sorted out in the next six months: ??????????
Here's a big question that people will be waiting on pins and needles to hear about, with no indication about what will happen, or if anything will have changed due to the ownership situation. Are they closer to getting a stadium or farther away? Are the Vergaras willing to spend the money to build another new stadium for their team? They built the Estadio Omnilife just outside Guadalajara, and to say the results have been mixed would be a bit of an understatement. They started building it in 2004 and opened it in 2010 - ready to wait six years for a Chivas USA stadium? By all accounts, it is a nice stadium, but it is in the outskirts of the city, and it is very hard (and expensive) to get in and out of the stadium. As a result, a beautiful new stadium is mostly empty for most games now, as fans can't afford the trip or the tickets. My thought on this is that the Vergaras are probably anticipating that the city will eventually meet the stadium, and over time, more people will get back in the habit of attending games. But you have to admit, that's a risky strategy.
And again, considering the beliefs that the Vergaras are rather cash-poor at the moment, it's almost certainly due to the expense of the stadium. Even if they haven't paid off the stadium outright, they'll still be responsible for paying off loans for the stadium, and the anticipated revenues from the stadium have simply not been realized. Will they go ahead and move to build a permanent home for Chivas USA, knowing it's the right thing for the club? Or will they bide their time and consider temporary sites, or come crawling back to the Home Depot Center? It's all in play at the moment.
The Vergaras will sell the team: 20% possibility
Here's where it potentially gets scary. Perhaps the Vergaras and Cues were both looking to get out of the league (well, they were, based on reports). The Cues exit first, and don't have to deal with further negotiations. The Vergaras now (or in the future) shop the team to the highest bidder. If that's the case, perhaps the highest bidder is in the Los Angeles area, or maybe they are located somewhere else. If a new owner comes in and commits to staying in Southern California, that could be the greatest news in the club's history from a fan perspective. But if a new owner wants to move the club, that could certainly happen, and Chivas USA fans would be out of luck and out of a team. How does that sound? The New York 2 franchise that's been long rumored could just be Chivas USA in a new name.
I'm putting it at 20% for the moment, and that may be too high or too low. But it's something that's going to be swimming in the back of my mind from now on.
We will wake up and it will all have been a dream: 5% possibility
Tomorrow, you get up, thinking about this week's...what? There's no game? I thought there was a game on Sunday. Huh, I'll just take a look at the schedule. Nothing there. The standings? What the...? You race to the closet to find that favorite shirt is gone. Honey/Roommate/Mom, where's my Chivas USA shirt? Your what? What is that, a band or something?
You'll watch MLS for a week or two, swearing that there was a team you followed, but you can't find any proof of it anywhere. You try to call your friends from the SG, but their numbers are gone on your phone. You can't shake the feeling that something's gone, that there's this phantom image that you keep replaying in your mind, of men running around a Carson stadium with red and white striped shirts on. No, not FC Dallas, vertical stripes. The weekends are a lot more quiet now.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!