The Goats are dead. They haven't come back to life.
Chivas USA folded exactly one year ago today, putting to bed weeks, months, years of speculation about the future of the club. MLS went to the nuclear option, folding a team so badly run they didn't think anything could bring it back. That, and another team coming to indirectly replace them insisted on being a new, unsullied entity.
One year on, and the main trend that has emerged in these 365 days is that pretty much everyone has moved on. MLS certainly doesn't want to bring it up again, after a few public comments from Commissioner Don Garber in the immediate aftermath of the dissolution of the Los Angeles club. And of course MLS is not going to market a team that proved all the haters wrong, and was indeed a failure by the end.
Supporters have moved on as well. Those who were loyal to CUSA to the end went in three distinct paths: Throw their support behind the new club coming, LAFC, or turn their backs on MLS, probably for good, or wait and see what happens in the future.
Besides the Union Ultras and Black Army 1850 supporters groups, still going strong, the fanbase has totally scattered. Lots of people I talked regularly to on social media are never around anymore, having moved on to other pursuits.
On the bright side, the torrent of negativity fans of the other MLS teams sent towards Chivas USA fans on a constant basis has stopped. Given the choice between being left alone and having to be taunted for following that team, often with abuse that was racist, nonsensical and just plain mean, I would take the former and that feature has been pleasant, if nothing else.
Do you know who hasn't forgotten Chivas USA? TV announcers. Basically every week a play-by-play announcer mentioned a player who had been a Goat in a past life. It was almost like a secret drinking game they were playing with MLS audiences. I didn't take a shot when that happened, but I always felt a little surge of appreciation that they were keeping the torch alive when talking about CUSA.
About four or five months ago, I realized the tide had turned for good on Chivas USA.
As I mentioned, a lot of the diehard fans to the end had moved on. They didn't want to be reminded of the team they followed, that broke their hearts, and then just gave up on them. Who could blame them?
I started getting a lot of messages in the summer from readers asking me to stop writing about Chivas USA. To be frank, I've been experimenting with how to run a blog that doesn't have an MLS team to cover on a daily basis. I was spoiled by the mundane and the spectacular, coming up day after day for Chivas.
I covered the Orange County Blues in earnest for the first time this season, something I enjoyed immensely (they won a lot of games! They made the playoffs!), and something I will continue to do.
And I covered LAFC, such that I could, for a team several years away from beginning play. I'll continue to do that, and as we get closer to their start date, the coverage of that club will surely ramp up.
But I did have plans for trying to write regularly, and that included some, not a lot, Chivas USA coverage. But readers pretty clearly said "Enough, already."
So I cut back on those plans. Yes, I'll still write about the team from time to time, but not with the (modest) frequency I had planned. Chivas USA was like a nightmare, and folks just want to wake up, not keep being reminded of it.
And that's the shame out of everything. Any team that is absolutely dissolved is bound to be a messy, sad situation. I don't like bringing it up over and over again, but old habits die hard. Going from writing about an unloved team for years on a daily basis to being told "Shut up about yer dead team already" is a shock to the system.
Nobody wants to remember Chivas USA. But they just aren't going to be forgotten, especially not in the span of a year. Some of us are still dealing with mixed feelings and mourning.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!