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The widowers: Black Army 1850 supporters group stronger than ever in LAFC era

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Group keeps growing, gearing up for 2018.

They were at Union Station on Thursday, helping to inject some energy to a crowd of mostly reporters and insiders. Setting the scene before LAFC's crest and colors were revealed, the Black Army 1850 was out in full force, chanting and getting kids across the seated section involved in the chants, too. They followed those up with more chants later that evening.

They may be "widowers," but the Black Army is looking forward to the next love of their lives.

One of two supporters groups to survive to the bitter end of Chivas USA's tenure, the Black Army not only stayed alive but have even grown in the 15 months since that club folded and LAFC, a new expansion team, was announced.

"Oh yeah, [the group] has grown every time there's a great announcement," said Angel Mendoza, president of the Black Army, at Thursday evening's party for supporters to celebrate the launch of the crest and colors. "The stadium announcement, the buzz, and now today, the actual reveal. It's grown. Definitely people are paying attention."

Of course, what's an SG to do while they are waiting three years for a ball to be kicked by their new club? Having a schedule revolving around games may be out for now, but supporters like those in the Black Army remain occupied, speaking on occasion to the club directly and lobbying for their vision of the new team and organization on social media regularly. Mendoza noted the group's desired stadium site ended up matching the reality.

"We wanted the Sports Arena, we always have. That's been our dream. Now we have it," he said.

Black Army are not the only LAFC SG around at this stage, with members of the other former Chivas USA group, Union Ultras, also around, as well as some groups that are getting into MLS for the first time through LAFC. It remains to be seen how the SGs around at present will evolve ahead of the 2018 launch date of the team.

Of course, Mendoza, who likens the Black Army "widowers" for losing their MLS team, acknowledges being stigmatized for those ties to the dead team from some quarters. But the group, now six years old, is not worried about those opinions, instead looking forward to a club that they believe will better reflect their community.

"People are hesitant with us, because they say 'This is a Chivas USA supporter group' and so forth, but if they read into the history, they know: This is what we fought for, even with Chivas USA. This is what we wanted, a club that represents our city, that's in downtown, that's in LA."

And if you're wondering: Yes, they're keeping black as their main color, which happens to now match the club they support.

Looks like they may not be outsiders any longer.

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