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MLS buys Chivas USA, will operate club until sold

MLS buys Chivas USA, will operate club until sold

Posted by Alejandra Romo on February 20, 2014

MLS has purchased Chivas USA from Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes. The league will now look to sell the team to an ownership group with plans to build a new stadium and keep the team in Los Angeles. The expectation is that the new owners will also rebrand the team with a new name and logo, presumably for the start of the 2015 season, if a new owner is in place by then.

The sale of Chivas USA brings an end to one of MLS's ugliest sagas. The club was troubled from the beginning, first branding as an extension of Chivas Guadalajara and turning off potential fans, then attempting to build a team full of Mexicans, as Chivas Gudalajara do. It failed miserably and while they found some success with a different approach under Bob Bradley a few years later, when Vergara and Fuentes took operation control of the club 15 months ago, things hit an all-time low.

Vergara and Fuentes did not commit resources to the club, leaving it with one of the league's lowest payrolls. They were a terrible team on the field and an even bigger mess off of it. They went all-in in their Hispanic first approach, turning off more fans and limiting their potential on the field. They fired many people within the club and hired Spanish speakers to replace them, resulting in multiple discrimination lawsuits. All the while, the club continued to play at the StubHub Center -- where they paid rent to AEG and the Galaxy -- and had the worst attendance in the league at 8,366 per game, 31% of capacity.

Fans of the club have been pining for Vergara and Fuentes to sell, even asking MLS to buy the team as a stopgap until a permanent owner could be found. Now the league has done that, ridding themselves of one of their biggest problems. Finding new ownership will not be easy, nor will building a new stadium and repairing the image of the club, but Los Angeles is a priority for the league and they are committed to having two successful teams in the city. Now they are taking the necessary steps to do that.

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