So Chivas USA ended the season in the worst way possible and overall, the organization is on a 4 year decline. Will this decline finally end next season? Will it continue for the next two years until we're back to 4 wins a season? Can it? I never thought myself that much of a pessimist, but...
There's an interesting tidbit in this year's MLS Playoffs, where every team has some type of championship title to their credit. Throughout their decades-long histories, teams like the Portland Timbers, the Seattle Sounders and the Montreal Impact have won USL championships. The Sounders have three U.S. Open Cups, good enough to rub in Portland's face. But the Timbers look like they can win MLS Cup this year, giving them bragging rights over Seattle. History would show that Portland won MLS Cup before Seattle did. That's motivating, no?
Next we have the New York Red Bulls, who this year joined the class of Supporters' Shield winners. Sporting Kansas City, who have two U.S. Open Cups, also have a Supporters Shield from the past in their trophy cabinet.
We also have the New England Revolution who are, depending on who you talk to, the Cruz Azul of the U.S., meaning that they're the eterno subcampeón (Eternal Sub-Champion, or, Runner-Up). The Revs have a U.S. Open Cup and 4 lost MLS Cup Finals, I mean 4 "Sub-Championships" ; ).
There are also 5 MLS Champions in this year's playoffs in the Colorado Rapids, Sporting Kansas City, Real Salt Lake, Houston Dynamo and LA Galaxy. The Galaxy is the only one of this group to have won an international tournament, which was the CONCACAF Champions League way back in 2000.
It's telling that the most successful clubs in the U.S. are the most storied, with the longer histories than say, oh I don't know, Chivas USA.
It's also worth analyzing why a team like Real Salt Lake, which came into the league the same year as Chivas USA did, in 2005, was able to win an MLS Cup (in 2009) before Chivas. And isn't it curious that the end of 2009 marked the beginning of a 4 year decline for Chivas USA? It's as if RSL's championship was a mark and measure of failure for the Chivas franchise. And 2009 was well before the Vergara buyout, along with the changing face of the franchise.
So what did RSL do right in only 4 years that Chivas USA didn't? One immediate and obvious factor is their stadium. They broke ground on it only 1 year after they entered the league. So what about Real Salt Lake? Their stadium is not in Salt Lake City proper and they have a championship. Chivas is now bent on building a stadium in LA proper and this could mean prolonged suffering, because nothing will happen at Expo Park for another two years as one of their spokespersons said. And isn't it nice to hear Don Garber say, "By the way, we're pretty good at it," in reference to building stadiums for MLS clubs, but can he really be that self-assured about building a stadium for Chivas there? I think not. Remember MLS to Queens?
Chivas should move, somewhere, like Cal State Fullerton, starting next year, or by 2015.
So here come the MLS playoffs, which I'll now sit back and enjoy. I'm happy to see a Seattle vs Portland matchup before these playoffs are done. Who do you got? I'd like to see New York take the cup but I expect Portland and Kansas City to at least make the conference finals.
Until 2014 and to better things for Chivas. Happy Holidays.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!