Chivas USA Seeks To Distinguish Itself From Mexican Sister Organization
MLS Chivas USA "seems to be running from" its distinction as the sister club of Mexico's Chivas de Guadalajara, according to Kevin Baxter of the L.A. TIMES. Chivas USA GM Jose Domene insisted that for "all the similarities," the MLS team and Guadalajara "are not the same." Domene: "Chivas USA is a team with a rich heritage, history and tradition that is based in L.A. However, Chivas USA is not Chivas Guadalajara. They are two separate teams that work together." Guadalajara “posted the best record in Mexico's recently concluded Apertura, but Chivas USA has won just a quarter of its games over the last two seasons.” Guadalajara also has “a strong identity, something else its MLS sister team lacks.” Baxter noted in a region that is "home to more than 5 million Mexicans, Chivas USA would do well to play up its pedigree -- to stamp itself as the most Mexican team in MLS even if that connection stops with the name and the jersey design.” But Domene said, "Historically there has been a misleading message of Chivas USA being a 'Mexican' team. For obvious reasons we cannot line up Mexican players only. We are an American team with Mexican heritage in our brand." Further hurting the team's ability “to carve its niche in Southern California's crowded sports market is that it shares the Home Depot Center with the Galaxy, whose star-studded lineup and recent success cast a large shadow.” While the Mexico-born, U.S.-educated Domene “favors a broader, more inclusive approach," VP/Marketing & Sponsorship Rodrigo Morales, who spent five years running the organization in Guadalajara, is "said by former team officials to prefer playing up the MLS team's Mexican roots.” A move “might help too, with Domene confirming Chivas USA is in talks with ‘several cities’ -- including Pomona and Santa Ana -- about a possible relocation.” Winning “would also solve a lot of problems.” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said, "We are very focused on how to make Chivas better, more popular in the market. How (can) we help them achieve the goals they set out when they came into the league in 2005?" (L.A. TIMES, 1/8).