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Chivas USA makes a very coherent case for 'Worst professional team in North America'

The odd way in which El Chelis was fired is just the latest in a seemingly unending string of head-scratching decisions.


Chivas USA are making headlines again. Naturally, it's not anything positive. The latest is that they fired their head coach, Jose Luis Sola Sanchez, the man who everyone simply calls "El Chelis." News that Chivas USA had parted way with their flamboyant veteran Mexican coach became official around 1 a.m. ET in a press release that looked as if it had been put through some kind of mechanized translation device:

Since his hiring, Sánchez Solá had at his disposal a competitive team with the institutional premise of a formal interaction, based in communication in which the club listened to his petitions to incorporate players approved by him. However, he was not able to reflect it with results.

While serving as Chivas USA Head Coach, Sánchez Solá not always followed the patterns of respect and conduct implemented by Major League Soccer, as well as by Chivas USA.

It was an announcement that seemed to be rushed out, as reports of an imminent firing had started to leak out over social media and even show up on mainstream websites like I'm not sure that makes a ton of sense, but I suppose it's one possible explanation.

El Chelis will be replaced by José Luis Real Casillas, who is currently the sporting director at Chivas de Guadalajara. He'll become the team's ninth head coach in the club's ninth season. He's the fourth coach to take over at midseason. Real Salt Lake, who entered MLS the same year as Chivas USA, has had two head coaches.

This would have been a shocking turn of events if it was any other team. But if there's one thing we've learned about Chivas USA, it's that we can never really be surprised by anything they do.

This, after all, all happened on the same day that two former academy coaches sued them for discrimination, claiming that they were fired because they didn't speak Spanish and did not fit into alleged "Hispanics-only" hiring practices.

Even that was only the latest in an almost comical series of embarrassing developments.

Let's recap:

It comes just weeks after rumor spread that the team was about to be sold and that if it wasn't MLS was poised to seize control over it. MLS vehemently denied those rumors, of course, but the league's stated support for this ineptly run franchise is even more frustrating than the mismanagement itself.

Around the same time, Chivas USA traded their one truly marketable asset, Juan Agudelo, for the paltry sum of $75,000 in allocation money. They then turned around and traded most of that allocation money for Gabriel Farfan, who was barely playing for a pretty bad Philadelphia Union team.

I won't even get into the litany of trades they made earlier this year in which they sent away decent talents for almost nothing in return or the fact they are one of the only teams well underneath the league's already limited salary budget.

Not shockingly, Chivas USA have slumped to last place in the Western Conference after starting the season with a surprising 3-1-1 record.

All of this is on top of a team that is reportedly spending almost no money on marketing, doesn't have an English language broadcaster (which violates league rules) and is playing in front of a few thousand people at Home Depot Center.

Each year, it seems, Chivas USA hits some kind of new low. Whether it's in the stands or on-field futility, the situation there has been on a rapid decline since the departure of Preki at the end of the 2009 season. His departure signaled the end of their only brief period of success, as he and Bob Bradley actually led the Goats to the playoffs for four consecutive seasons.

After this latest debacle, we must start to ask whether or not Chivas USA has become the worst-run franchise in all of North American sports. Is there even anyone in the same ballpark? Toronto FC is possibly giving them a run for their money in terms of results, but at least there's a fanbase that cares. The NBA had the Los Angeles Clippers for a long time, but they are clearly no longer in the conversation. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals might be baseball's version, but they have tons of history to fall back on.

MLS may be publicly supporting Chivas USA's "plan," but there's absolutely no indication that there actually is one. As it is now, Chivas USA is only serving to drag the league down and diminish the value of other teams. Something has to be done.

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