Ok, so maybe you don't want to see Chivas USA go on hiatus in 2015. I sure don't.
Reporter Ives Galarcep, in a new column on Goal.com on Monday with a title of, "The MLS Wrap: Time to put Chivas USA out of its misery" (to be fair, he probably didn't come up with that title) advocates a new solution to the persnickety problem that is Chivas USA:
One option could be to have the current Chivas USA team dropped from MLS, but have the club placed in USL PRO in a one-year holding pattern before becoming the nucleus for a new MLS LA team in 2016. This could allow the club's new owner to have a season to practice running a team, while working toward building a nucleus for a newly named LA team in 2016.
Such a scenario would feel less like contraction, and could offer some hope for those fans in LA unlucky enough to have chosen to be Chivas USA fans. It could also mean avoiding the need for an expansion draft after the 2015 season, which current teams would surely fight against given the impact they are about to feel from having two new teams joining MLS in 2015.
Of course this scenario would require some creative effort by MLS, which is no stranger to coming up with creative ways to handle unique situations. It would also require Chivas USA's best players to agree to spend a season in a lower division. The team isn't exactly stacked with highly sought-after talent, so the list of players who might actually fight such a move would probably be relatively short. Scoring ace Erick Torres is on loan from Chivas Guadalajara while veteran goalkeeper Dan Kennedy might be open to a year in USL Pro if it meant having a front row seat to join a new and stronger LA team in 2016. Other players unwilling to go along with the move could be traded or sold.
After reading this, I called this idea relegation on Twitter, and Galarcep took pains to insist he wasn't calling for a relegation of the club:
@soccermusings No, not semantically. Chivas USA as a club wouldn’t exist anymore, but assets kept together and parked in USL Pro for a year— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) September 22, 2014
I still don't see the difference, but maybe I'm not looking at it right.
For what it's worth, this idea seemed to be popular among the non-CUSA fan MLS observers out there, at least on an immediate level.
And in considering it the past couple hours, I suppose dropping down to a lower league (don't call it relegation) to play somewhere is better than simply not playing anywhere, not existing at all. But still...maybe it is a viable plan, but it appears to be yet another "holding pattern" for a team that's been nothing but, with a demotion thrown in for good measure.
It should be noted that this was Galarcep's column, so it's his opinion, and there was nothing in this piece to indicate this plan is currently being considered by MLS, USL, or the prospective new owners of the club. With seemingly everything in the air at the moment, however, it is within the realm of possibility, though perhaps not anywhere nearly as likely as hiatus is at the moment.
I did write about LA2 taking full advantage of the MLS-USL partnership recently, but this wasn't what I had in mind.
At any rate, we'll of course keep you posted to all developments in the ownership story and fate of the team for 2015 and beyond.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!