The cross-town rivalry in Los Angeles has the potential to match the magnitude of the rivals of Cascadia. That contention is one of many reasons that Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber took a drastic step on Thursday to purchase Chivas USA from previous owners Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes with the intent of selling the team to new owners who will rebrand the club and make a commitment to building a new stadium in southern California.
“It’s a great opportunity for a rivalry with the Galaxy. We really believe in it and we’re going to take responsibility to get it back to where we originally intended it would be when they joined the league in 2005,” Garber said in a conference call. “This was our Cascadia Cup. Those games were massive sellouts for both the Galaxy and Chivas and we lost that. We believe that we can get that back.”
MLS has had discussions with “a number of very qualified potential owners” and hopes to have a new group in place this season, with a rebranded club taking the field to start the 2015 season. The club will continue as “Chivas USA” in 2014.
Chivas USA initially joined the league with Vergara as the owner in 2005. After struggling on the field in its inaugural season, the club’s attendance skyrocketed to 19,840, which remains a club-best, and reached the playoffs for four consecutive seasons. However in 2010, Chivas took a turn for the worst and hasn’t finished higher than eighth in the Western Conference since.
“It’s time to turn a new chapter here. Our hope is to do this as quickly as possible. Sometimes it takes time to get this done. We’re not in a rush,” Garber said. “If we get a very committed owner that will come in and be committed to working on a soccer stadium and become a strong rival for the Galaxy, then we have no doubt that we will be more successful than we’ve been in the past there.”
Sounders FC is 7-0-4 in its last 11 matches against Chivas USA dating back to 2009. Seattle will meet Chivas at the StubHub Center on April 19 and September 3 and at CenturyLink Field on September 27.