Chivas USA keeps it unreal

Remember Victor Estupinan promising he would get thirty goals this year for Chivas USA? Well, right now he's twenty-nine short.

Oh, wait, my bad - I was reading the wrong column. He has one shot on goal so far.

Well, if he is gonna break the league scoring record for Chivas USA, he's going to have to do it this year, because today the club announced that it would get rid of him sooner than later. Chivas USA also plans to offload, among others, Justin Braun, Paulo Nagamura, Michael Lahoud, Heath Pearce, and Mariano Trujillo.

Why? No reason.

In today's episode of "I believe everything I read on MLSsoccer.com, because it's the official website and presumably they'd know, right?", we find out that Chivas USA is run by idiots.

As the joke goes, that belongs in the weather section. It's not sports, and it sure as hell ain't news. But the club's ongoing failure to have a plan B after failing to attract even 1% of the region's Guadalajara fans has apparently been rectified:

I immediately went to chivasusa.com to see if it were true.

Turns out chivasusa.com is a GoDaddy squatter site. WOMP womp.*

Mr. Kick Off actually linked to a Sporting News article, and I hope to God I'm being trolled.

The comedy's gonna start in a minute, I promise.

But let's hold up for a minute. Morales' experience is selling Chivas, in Mexico.

Hell, *I* could do THAT. Short of - I dunno - starting a team in the United States that cheapens the brand, or maybe losing the rights to the team name and logo, I don't know how it would be possible to screw up that job.

They did this with Shawn Hunter, too. He had a lot of experience with the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Phoenix Coyotes.

...wow, Hunter's legacy could be measured with a pair of tweezers at this point, huh?

But selling the NBA and NHL comes with a heck of a lot of built-in advantages, absolutely none of which apply to Chivas USA. The fans have spoken. Chivas fans have spoken. The Chivas USA fan base consists almost entirely of disaffected Galaxy fans.

Anyway, Morales is the Epsilon behind the "Real...Artificial" ad campaign that has taken its place in alongside "Have You Seen Me?" and "Metro Playoff Fever" in the Hall of Asinine MLS Ad Campaigns.

Keep this in mind for a minute. I know, you've heard that drivel for seven years now, but bear with me.

I mean, sure, "real" in this case is playing dress-up like Guadalajara. Ten thousand spoons when you need a knife, etc. etc. The guy goes on, though.

Yeah, that's sort of what Los Angeles teams do. They get the big stars, or the fans don't show up. Chivas been here since 2005, and they've only just now figured this out?

But wait. There's more.

Yeah, that's how the Yankees did it, only signing players from the five boroughs.

Sorry, one second.

I just wanted to relive that for a second. That's serious moment of zen stuff right there.

So, it looks like Chivas USA's Designated Player slots are going to be collecting dust for the time being. Unless they sign Landon Donovan.

But crap, they couldn't even sign Benny frakking Feilhaber, and he qualifies as SoCal. Who exactly were they planning to build the team around? I like Jimmy Conrad, too, but c'mon.

It also means that other MLS teams will have one less team competing against them for international players. Including from, to pick an example at random, Guadalajara.

Well, what it really means is that the Chivas USA Vice President of Marketing and Sponsorship - oh, you thought he had something to do with player development? Why would you think that? Oh, right, because he's declaring a player signing and development policy - is desperate for publicity of any kind. I'm sure this interview will get the team some attention.

How it will be anything other than entirely negative, though, I can't imagine. The whole plot to build the national team out of one MLS team's local academy is madness that even Cascadia hasn't dared to put forward.

Let's treat the all-California lineup idea for the empty blithering that it is. The all-American lineup idea has been tried, in 1983. The USSF stepped over the corpse of the Washington Diplomats and got every domestic player to join Team America in preparation for the 1986 World Cup.

Team America, of course, won the league comfortably, and the experience the players gained helped them to qualify for the Cup and oh, wait, actually, the opposite.

The reason it didn't work was that the other NASL teams didn't feel like giving away the Americans already on their roster. Why MLS teams would cut Chivas USA a break on their own American players - guys who these days are, you know, good and popular and sell lots of tickets - well, that will be another challenge Morales will face.

Morales implies that Chivas USA will scout these players first, and gain a competitive advantage. Apparently this involves a plan to keep every other team in the league, as well as every college team, and more than a few European teams, from scouting southern California. I look forward to seeing such a plan implemented, although I think building a wall to keep out foreigners wouldn't play well with their current fan base.

Of course, said fan base has already rejected this idea. Remember the last time Chivas USA was good? They had Brad Guzan, Jonathan Bornstein and Sacha Kljestan - back when that meant something. Chivas USA was providing the backbone of the US national team, as much as any single team in the world. The Galaxy even cooperated by fielding their worst teams, and losing the rivalry matches - all while charging anywhere from four to ten times as much for equivalent tickets.

The result? Well, by December 2010 Chivas USA had to hire a crazy man as their VP of Marketing and Sponsorship. Do the math.

I'm sorry, let's go back one more second.

"South California"? Did he learn American geography from Kim Wilde?

Well, again, this hasn't been confirmed officially by whatever CUSA's actual website is, and I expect that this trial balloon will Hindenburg sufficiently that we never will.

But the problem remains. Chivas USA is a club without an audience, without a direction, without a purpose, and without a point. Their only consistent marketing tactic has been to trash the Galaxy, something that, within the single entity model, makes very little sense.

And the latest plan involves competing for the affections of Los Angeles fans against the team that, whatever their many, many faults, at least bothers to have "Los Angeles" somewhere in the team name. It's not that the Galaxy represent me more than Chivas USA - the freaking Golden State Warriors do, too.

There are plenty of ways to make an MLS franchise viable, even in "South California". The Inland Empire beckons, so does San Diego. I'm sure you all have alternative ideas for what you would do with that team, too.

Even Morales' stupid ideas would at least be merely stupid if the team name were changed to "Los Angeles FC" or something equally imaginative.

But absolutely nothing can be done with the Chivas USA name. Not because that name has become synonymous with failure, although that's a part of it. But because the very name says "House Divided." As long as they're still trying to sell kosher popcorn shrimp and vegan BLT's, they won't get any customers. It's supposed to be MLS, not MPD.

Chivas. USA. Make up your minds already. Morons.

Oh, one last thing. About the Galaxy's allegedly artificial fans. Well, far be it for me to contradict some mealy-mouthed corporate shill about what's real and what isn't, but fortunately the LA Weekly did it for me. I've known Shooter for years, and this article barely touches on the legend. Shooter has been called many things, but he is not artificial in any way, shape or form. I'm glad he's back, and I hope he sticks around for years and years.

...hell of a picture, too.

*In fairness, newenglandrevolution.com and columbuscrew.com also lead to squatter sites, and chicagofire.com leads to a pizza restaurant in Sacramento. Torontofc.com leads nowhere, but torontofc.ca leads where it should. As far as MLS 2.0, seattlesounders.com is a squatter site too.

And, naturally, so is losangelesgalaxy.com, although lagalaxy.com is hooked up correctly. Since I'm pretty sure all of these except the Chicago Fire are registered trademarks, it seems like the MLS cybercrime division is behind on its paperwork.

But chivasusa.com being a GoDaddy site - well, that's just pretty darn perfect. (Chivas.com, of course, is about another leisure activity unrelated to soccer.)