By Luis Bueno – RIVERSIDE, CA (Jun 3, 2015) US Soccer Players – While it was never scientifically proven, there used to be a little black cloud hovering over Chivas USA. It seemed like, whatever the club did, this cloud tainted it. Chivas USA never won a playoff series. They struggled against rivals the LA Galaxy. They battled to fill seats. In the last few years, they could barely win a game.
When the club ceased operations immediately following the 2014 season, though, the black cloud of despair went with it. The club was no more, and the players moved on.
It cannot be a coincidence that since Chivas USA’s black cloud of doom and despair vanished, several former Chivas USA players have enjoyed a remarkable turn of events. They’ve tasted the kind of personal success they never accomplished while with the club or even after leaving. The black cloud no longer haunts them. Free of Chivas USA, they have been able to do exceptional things.
No player wore the curse more than Jonathan Bornstein. Yes, he did make the 2010 World Cup roster while a member of Chivas USA but few players received harsher criticism than he did. After leaving the club at the end of the 2010 season, Bornstein all but vanished into obscurity in Mexico, toiling away at Tigres and Atlante before joining Queretaro. This year has been his finest in Liga MX. Bornstein became a first-choice player and scored the goal that sent los Gallos Blancos to the Liga MX final. To boot, Bornstein will become a father for the first time.
Joining Chivas USA from LDU Quito, Miller Bolanos was supposed to have been an attacking standout but he never quite developed into much. Bolanos joined Emelec after leaving midway through the 2013 season and while he enjoyed a fine 2014 campaign, his fortunes have risen greatly in 2015. He scored the game-winning goal against Tigres in a Copa Libertadores quarterfinal match and was named to Ecuador’s 2015 Copa America roster.
After spending time in Mexico’s second division, Chula Vista native Cesar Romero joined Chivas USA in 2012 but had an uncelebrated spell there, scoring no goals in 12 games for the club. Romero though notched a first recently as he became the first American to win a Golden Boot in a European top flight. Romero scored 21 goals for Armenian champions FC Pyunik.
After coaching the Montreal Impact in their expansion 2011 season, Jesse Marsch parted ways with the club and watched from the outside as MLS clubs filled open coaching positions. With no Chivas USA curse hovering above, a prized spot became open when New York Red Bulls inexplicably fired Mike Petke after the 2014 season. The club turned to Marsch who took over the position. The New York Red Bulls have thus far exceeded expectations as they were the final club to lose a match this season as the club sits in third place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Soccer in LA
Chivas USA never lived up to their billing. By design, the club was an alternative to the Galaxy, and it was for a few seasons. But the money and the talent never flowed from Guadalajara to Los Angeles the way many hoped it would. After a while, it was clear that Chivas USA was not a priority to the owners and the players and fans suffered. As soon as the final nail was hammered down into Chivas USA’s coffin, soccer in LA took a turn for the better. LAFC was announced shortly afterward and a stadium proposal has been made. LAFC have owners who seem to genuinely care about putting a strong product out for consumption. LAFC will make noise in MLS, the kind of noise Chivas USA should have made, and will succeed. As far as anyone can tell, there are no clouds of any kind over this LA franchise.
Luis Bueno is a veteran soccer writer. Follow him on twitter @BuenoSoccer.
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