The lights went out on Chivas USA in the muted hush of a board room. Less than 24 hours after Chivas USA played its last game, team staff were herded into a room and told the franchise as it had been known was halting operations permanently. Their jobs no longer existed.
This kind of quiet sword-work was a fitting end to a franchise that skimmed so close to the water’s icy depths that in nine years even most local radars failed to find its blinking pulse. A sparse crowd of 5,571 showed for the Goats’ final game, a 1-0 win over San Jose played on a pristine SoCal fall day in late October. It was a sign, a referendum for MLS’ decision-makers, even. This kind of franchising doesn’t work in MLS. Not in this way, anyway. Plastic clubs melt. Absentee ownerships fail. Top-down disconnects turn into rifts turn into canyons turn into total systemic shutdowns.
Chivas USA’s crash landing was sad, but in no way was it unexpected.