Last week, former player and executive and current television personality Alexi Lalas was spotted with three of the reported owners of Chivas USA/LA2 at a Los Angeles Dodgers game, a fact that wasn't fully brought to light until this week.
With speculation mounting concerning the possible role of Lalas with the new team, the man himself spoke up on Thursday about the now-famous photo of him sitting in the front row with some pretty important people, on both the halftime segment of the ESPN2 broadcast of the Philadelphia Union-Chicago Fire snoozefest, as well as the podcast he sometimes does with ESPN colleagues Taylor Twellman and Marc Connolly, "Big Head Red Head."
The segment on Chivas USA/LA2 starts at around the 13 minute mark, and lasts until about the 26 minute mark, if you want to listen to it in its entirety.
I've pulled quotes from the podcast from Lalas only. Twellman and Connolly talk a bit, but the floor is mostly open to Lalas to discuss the negatives of the Chivas USA brand, the potential of LA2, even after the mistakes from the original club, and of course, his involvement in the situation.
Let's cut to the chase on that first, since that's pretty important. Lalas explains what the "Dodgers summit" was about:
Over the last couple years, I have talked to what could be potential ownership for LA2. And look, I live in Los Angeles, I worked for the Galaxy, I played for the Galaxy, I certainly have been involved in MLS on and off the field for decades now. I understand the market and they wanted to pick my brain. Didn't take long, but they certainly wanted to pick my brain. It's an interesting situation.
Ok, so it appears Lalas, as someone who lives in the area and knows the league from multiple angles, was sought out as a voice to inform the reported owners. Makes sense.
Lalas actually said, "I'm not holding stuff back here," so if we take him at his word (I will), he probably doesn't know a ton of info beyond the basics, in large part because the new owners probably won't have settled on a ton at this point.
When asked by Twellman about using the precedent of teams like the Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers, and San Jose Earthquakes in reviving a nickname from the original NASL, Lalas said:
With regards to the Aztecs [name] — yeah, that's a possibility.
It's been pointed out to me that the current NASL holds a trademark on the L.A. Aztecs name, although there was a recent filing by something called "American Soccer Magazine, Inc." out of California that is also live, but that seems like kind of an impediment to reappropriating the name in MLS, though who knows what can happen, I guess.
And regarding reported co-owner Vincent Tan, who has ruffled quite a few feathers in Great Britain since taking over Cardiff City, and the team gaining promotion to the English Premier League before dropping right back down into the Championship, Lalas reiterated what Grant Wahl has reported:
Vincent is an investor, from what I'm told. He is not the majority owner.
Then, when Twellman asked a question many have asked regarding Tan, that MLS has just gotten rid of a sideshow owner in Jorge Vergara, why would they then immediately bring in Tan, who of course wasn't at the "Dodgers summit," Lalas mentioned the more measured approach:
But what's the problem with Vincent? He wanted to change a brand, he wanted to change colors of a long-standing tradition that existed for the team over there. He fired a coach, all these different things, in order to better his business, in order to better his investment. Oh no, it's because he tucks his shirt into his underwear. Or no, it's because he wears gloves and looks like a maniacal, evil guy.
I'm not defending him, I've never met the guy, but when people are complaining about him, it's interesting to hear what they actually are complaining about.
I am willing to bet that the Vincent Tan factor [with the LA club] will be very minimal.
And Lalas believes the long, long-promised stadium, in a more convenient (or at least different) part of LA will in part be the star of the club:
First off, just logistically, getting to wherever the stadium's going to be, it's going to be easier. Because people look at Carson — and look, I love the StubHub Center, and what it did, it changed the way we look at soccer stadiums — but for a lot of people, it is the other side of the moon. It is a completely different place.
You're going to come into a new stadium. And they're going to look at the StubHub Center, with all due respect, as 'That's yesterday's news.' They're going to come in with a much prettier box, I guarantee it. It's inevitable, because it's going to be a new stadium...So I think one of the biggest stars of the team will be the stadium.
There's more to hear on the podcast, but a lot of info and opinion from Lalas on the matter of LA2. Obviously, we'll keep you posted on any developments to the ongoing story.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!