"Will MLS be different this year without Chivas USA?" "No."
With one word at MLS media day on Tuesday in Manhattan Beach, LA Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers summed up MLS' feelings about life in the post-Chivas USA world. For most folks, that's a fact of life. For those hardy souls who remained Goats' fans until the bitter end, it is sad indeed.
But Rogers is far from the only player around the league to feel that way. The tragedy of Chivas USA is not that it existed -- it's that it was so badly managed from top to bottom that closing it down represented an option that most league observers thought was entirely reasonable.
I've talked to multiple MLS players this offseason (they had never played for the club) about the demise of Chivas USA, and the consensus was that the team needed to go away. Simple as that.
For MLS, scrapping CUSA is a black eye, but one could make a very cynical argument that it's also a bargaining chip in the current CBA negotiations with players. After all, it's much easier to argue that the league is on shaky financial ground and cannot spend more on players (or allow for greater freedom of player movement within the league) if they point to a burned-out husk of a dead team from just a few months back.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing the league shut the club down merely because of the CBA negotiations. But it might be a situation of finding lemons and making...well, you know.
Still, if Rogers doesn't give the Galaxy's former roommates a second thought, his teammate Omar Gonzalez, while basically agreeing with the former's opinion of Chivas USA, also responded positively to a future where the Galaxy had a viable (and presumably more successful) Los Angeles rival in MLS:
"With Chivas being gone, there's not much to say to that," Gonzalez said, also at MLS media day on Tuesday. "For some reason, things never really worked out there. And so they're thinking about rebranding, figuring that situation out, bringing them back in a couple years, which I'm looking forward to, having another rivalry in LA. Whatever the name is, whoever the team is, I'm looking forward to it."
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