Dear Commissioner Garber,
First of all, let us thank you for taking the first step in what we hope is a long relationship between our city of Los Angeles and creating a true MLS franchise that all fans will support. In the past, many of us in the Black Army thought that such an endeavor would be a possibility. It is our wish that we can make this dream a possibility. We propose to help you find an ownership group that represents the diversity, winning attitude, and passion for this beautiful game.
We are also committed as a supporters group to purchasing the team ourselves so that we can never go through horrific ordeal that we endured under the ownership of Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes. We did not enjoy protesting their reign and accept that it may have led to bad publicity. Nevertheless, we are firm in our beliefs that this can never happen in MLS and especially to a great soccer city like Los Angeles. Black Army is no actual army but a conglomerate of idealists who only wish to see second Los Angeles MLS franchise compete and be successful.
We will be looking to establish ourselves this season and start a fund drive to purchase this team. We do not request a discount but a fair chance to buy this club. We look forward to raising 70-100 million dollars before the end of the season. If a deal is made and the club is sold to a different owner, we will donate no less than 100% of the funds raised to MLS Works.
We have a high mountain to climb to meet our goal, but that will not stop our unwavering support for this club. Whatever, it is to be called or rebranded.
THE BLACK ARMY 1850
In my travels as a supporter, my often negative tone when writing or talking about the Goats has always been evident. This examiner doesn’t hide them. I say it as it is. I don’t like something, you’ll know about it. So I get called annoying. So others tell me to be quiet. Others proclaim their pity for me and even dare me to jump to their side of the hall.
I made a commitment long ago to this team. Even when I had every right to make the jump across the hall, I didn’t. Like the truest sports supporter, you make your bed, and lie in it for the rest of your life (unless the team is contracted or relocated and what not but that’s a topic for another day).
This team sucks!
Kick the ball, stupid!!
Do your job!!!
What was that??!!
Who the hell do you think you are??!!!
...All things I’ve said, and am entitled to say, while watching and supporting the team be it in person or on the other side of the screen. I’ve paid for my tickets (well, some of them). Any person holding that piece of paper can form whatever opinion that they want to form. No one has to agree. It’s your right to say it whatever it may be. Blind support does not equal support. So when the team trades away a player for money, or releases him for no reason, I stop for a second to scratch my head. Do I get upset? Yes. Can I do anything about it once it’s done? No. Can I complain about it? Darn straight.
The Goats make it hard for me to care about them. Does it mean I support the team any less? Of course not. Like a glutton for punishment, I come back for more. Still though, pointing out their shortcomings and ineptitude should be seen as a sign that I care and not that of a "hater". Speaking of shortcomings and ineptitude, they don’t explain themselves when it comes to player movements. They don’t service the fans (what little of us remain). We can’t see them on TV unless they are on Unimas. This examiner has to look at the screaming mug of a neighbor’s player high in the sky everyday driving home from work. Where is the similar promotion for the Goats (it was being done a couple of years ago)? Can’t grow the fanbase (or stop it from shrinking) if you don’t tell people that you are playing, or that you exist. The Goats appear to be as irrelevant as can be. The neighbors are far from perfect (15 seconds of TV news time, small blurbs in the newspaper, no championship parades, etc… all in a city of 4 million) but people know they exist. Even if only in brief passing. They might even be able to name a player or two. Their average attendance in the 20,000 range is respectable (though for a back to back champion it should be better). Despite opposition from The Clippers, Dodgers, Lakers, Kings, Ducks, Angles, USC and UCLA, they’ve managed to shuffle their way into the crowded sports market that is Los Angeles. When people are asked about Chivas, they think about Guadalajara. Cry all you want about building an identity and what have you, but it’s the truth. You know that truth, the one deep down in places you don't talk about at parties.
Those who have supported this team have endured a lot in the last few years. Pressure from friends, other fans, and even family to just give up and move on. Yet rather than moving on, we continue on, even if the inevitable end is near (which this examiner believes to be the case). We remain, lighting the lone candle and beating the drum relentlessly through the night as we slowly go down with the ship together.
Portland – History was on their side today. After sweeping the Timbers last year (twice in Portland) the Goats had shown that winning at Jeld Wen Field was a possibility. Of course that was practically a completely different team then. So how would this one fare? Would it build on what last year’s team had started?
Advertisement Sadly, no. The same team that showed up in April continues to appear in May. Two weeks in, and they have already been out-scored 7-0. Today’s first goal came from Costa Rican International, Rodney Wallace, on a text book counter-attack. 1-0 to the Timbers. And that’s how the 1st half would end. The worst was yet to come.
The 2nd half saw Jose Correa replace Giovanni Casillas. Newest Goat Martin Ponce (who I at first thought was Miguel Angel Ponce for some reason) made his debut as a 2nd half substitute, replacing Marvin Iraheta. By the 65th minute, Jose Rivera had replaced Tristan Bowen. Unfortunately the added offense was not enough as the Timbers made it 2-0 a mere 5 minutes later. The Timbers would slice through the non-existent defensive line to set up Diego Valeri. Goal number 3 for Portland came courtesy of Will Johnson as stoppage time started.
“It’s tough to go through, but we can either have our heads down or keep fighting,” defender Steve Purdy-Ramos told MLSsoccer.com. “Next week at home, we have to get a result. That’s the bottom line. These things happen in the league; you go through your ups and downs."
If 3-0 wasn’t enough to make any Goats supporter do a facepalm, then the embarrassing shot of Mario de Luna shoving a ball boy (regardless of who was in the right) certainly made you do a facepalm. The team already gets the worst press in the league. Shoving kids and getting a yellow card won’t do the team, or its supporters any favors.
So what’s next for our train-wreck……errr…. I mean team? Real Salt Lake comes to the Rental (it’s what I’m calling the Stub Depot Palace) next week. They seem to have the Goats beat everywhere, so set your expectations to low. No TV as always, and the free video stream on cdchivasusa.com is not reliable. So get out to the stadium and support the team. Tickets are adequately priced, and the “El Super” chain of markets may have vouchers for free tickets with your grocery purchase.
Coming off last week’s less than stellar performance, the Goats came into Sunday’s match against FC Dallas, looking to get the season started on the right foot. And like last week allowed the opponent a scary shot on goal before the end of the 1st minute of play.
“Here we go again”, this examiner thought to himself.
As the half wore on, the game play slowed. The team got better adjusted on the field. And again like last week, ended the first half all tied at 0.
The Goats got more aggressive in the 2nd half. But as fortune would have it, Dallas got the go ahead goal in the 57th minute. Barring any hiccups from the Dallas defense, they could have very easily gotten out of town with 3 points in tow. For today at least, it was Chivas USA who was gifted goals at the hand of a shaky defense. The first came courtesy of US International, Juan Agudelo, who rounded of Dallas defender Matt Hedges in the 68th minute, for a left strike that beat Goalkeeper Raul Fernandez.
Goats goal #2 came courtesy of Ecuadorian International, Oswaldo Minda. After a botched clearance by Dallas defender, George John, Minda was quick to pounce on the ball, curving just left of Fernandez.
Goal #3 was a bit ironic as it came when Dallas was pushing forward for the equalizer in stoppage time. In similar fashion to the Columbus Crew’s 3rd goal last week, the Goats were quick to kickstart a counter attack following a Dallas corner kick. The ensuing sequence of passes and final shot was a sight for sore eyes to many in attendance (yeah, yeah, insert joke here) who hadn’t seen the team win at the Apartment in nearly a year, let alone see the team win any match since last July.
3-1. To the victors goes the spoils. Now, about that so called “Clasico” next Sunday afternoon versus the team from down the hall. The neighbors will be coming off what promises to be difficult CONCACAF Champions League, winner take all, match on Wednesday. Can the Goats take advantage of the 3 days of extra rest along with a possible tired opponent?
We’ll find out next Sunday at 2pm. This, for the record, will see Goats as the road team.
By John Santos
As the 2012 home schedule of 2013 preseason matches ends today (because the season itself ended on September 8th), we’re reminded yet again of what a sad and disjointed campaign our Goats had in 2012. Perhaps that 5-2 loss to Xolos in the preseason was indicative of what the future held. Starting off well, only for the wheels to come off at the most important of times. If it wasn’t bad enough that it happened last year, the Goats once again fell apart in the final 1/3 of the season. They were never the greatest team in the league, but like the tired and beat up cliché from Dumb and Dumber, there was a chance this year. Maybe not for a championship, but to at least make their presence felt.
So with this dismal campaign now in the rear view mirror, what awaits us in 2013? Now full time and 100% owners, Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes are tasked with our Goats fate after buying off the Cue brothers of their stake in the team. So do Vergara and Fuentes take the team and supporters to the promise land of self owned Soccer Specific Stadiums, trophies, and championship caliber squads? Or do they go all Herbert Hoover on us and tell us that everything is good and plan to keep things as they are? Many of us would prefer that first part, but as a long time supporter, it’s hard to fathom any real change. We’ve been promised quite a bit over the years only to see those promises broken and thrown out the window.
What about our players? Is it time for aging vets like Juan Pablo Angel and Ante Jazic to hang up their cleats and let younger players like Jorge Villafaña and Tristan Bowen shine? Should a new, yet equally experienced goalkeeper be brought in to light a fire under Dan Kennedy (who, let’s be honest, played his role in the goleadas to end the year)?
At the end of the day, these questions will be decided upon by the new powers that be. Will the team be sold, relocated and renamed the New York Cosmos? Who knows (though very unlikely)? The best we can do as supporters is to stand by our team. It’s our right as supporters to bad mouth the players and the team personnel when we feel they aren’t performing up to our expectations. But it doesn’t mean we stop supporting them when we take out our frustrations on them. Season ticket purchases will probably be looked at by the new (full time) bosses. But that shouldn’t determine loyalty (yours and mine) as a supporter of the team.
Baring any Mayan predictions, the 2013 season will be here soon enough. For all our sakes, let’s hope the team finally can live up to our expectations and (to steal a supporter’s group quote from a fellow conference dweller) “play like we dream”.
The Morning After.....
By John Santos, Chiv
6-2. That was the final score at last night’s match as Chivas
USA succumbed to the Seattle Sounders. What can one say after
such a loss? Is it the coach’s fault? Are the players not playing up to their
potential? Or is it the universe just playing a cruel joke on everyone and
making it harder for the Goats to get anything done on the field? In this
examiners opinion, it’s a combination of all three.
Week in and week out the starting lineups keep changing. Where is the
consistency? Where is the coach instilling confidence in a player by trusting
him with the duty of starting the match on a constant basis? Was it nice to see
Casey Townsend and Tristan Bowen getting the rare start tonight? Sure. As a
young prospects, they're hungry for an opportunity to show what they are capable
of. But for a player who is still raw, and another who only just recently got
back from a loan, is it wise to have them go nearly the full 90 against someone
like the Seattle Sounders? They’ll give it their all and get a good shot or two
near goal, but will it beenough?
At the same time though, Juan Pablo Angel has shown that he’s not the player
he used to be. 90 minutes are almost impossible for him now. Still, he shown
that as a super-sub, he’s still got something left in the tank. How much
though? Just enough for a quick 5 minute burst? Or maybe enough for 25
minutes? Certainly an offensive jolt at the 65th minute when the Goats were
down only 3-2 (following an impressive goal from midfielder Miller Bolaños)
could have helped turn the tide. While it wouldn’t have helped on the defensive
side of things (more on that in a minute) brining in J.P.A. in could have change
the teams’ goal scoring woes.
The defense has been crap. Sorry for the lack of a better term, but that’s
how this examiner feels. From wins over Portland, to draws with San Jose, and losses against the neighbors, the defense has yet
to instill any kind of confidence. Sure, it has been shuffled more times than a
deck of cards. But nearly every combination of defenders has been disastrous
(with Dan Kennedy in his usual “bail out” roll). Tonight was no different.
Neither Dan Califf nor Raushawn McKenzie (who aren’t spring chickens themselves
either) played in the contest, but replacements Bobby Burling and John Valencia
were up to the task of letting the other teams’ offense run all over them.
Veterans of the backline like James Riley and Ante Jazic fared no better playing
some of their worst Soccer in as Roji-Blancos (with the latter
scoring an own goal to ice the match at 6-2). Seattle didn’t simply beat them;
they publicly undressed the defense, exposing their many faults. The obvious
being that Dan Kennedy is not Superman. Try all he can, he cannot keep the team
in contention for a result all by himself. Allowing 6 goals in a match (even if
most of them aren’t your fault) certainly won’t look good in the eye of a
National team coach looking for new prospects in the player pool.
So in the end, what do we have? Good players? Check. Devoted supporters?
Check. A good team? Not by a long shot. The supporters have hit their
breaking point for the year. It seems the players have too if you believe the
scuttlebutt from the little birdies.
The Goats are a pretty fortunate team off the field. With a General Manager
that has tried to change things up (albeit with older players) to a schedule
that currently sees them with 4 matches in hand (that would translate to 12
points) the team is in a good position to make the post season. Unfortunately
for them, they would have to win those 4 matches (2 in a row is the max streak
they’ve managed to put together all season). With everyone looking onto the 5th
and final playoff spot held by Vancouver, FC Dallas has now managed to surge
leaving the Goats behind in 7th place. The breaks for the Goats have been there
for a better season. Yet they've failed to capitalize each and every time all
And after the events last night, no positive can undo the sheer embarrassment
of a 6-2 beating.
IN THE TRENCHES: PORTLAND
The farthest this examiner had ever traveled in covering/supporting the Goats
was Salt Lake City. That particular trip took 12 hours. Not to mention the
loss of one hour due to entering the Mountain Standard Time zone. While one
didn’t have to cross a time zone to get to Portland, the extra 5 hours and a bad case of the
runs certainly made the trip feel longer than it should have. Granted, the
bridges, mountain ranges, plains, rivers and lakes were a wonder for the eye to
The Goats came into this past Saturday’s match with two straight wins over
the Portland Timbers. One away in Portland earlier this year, and the
other a couple of weeks ago at the Home Depot Center. The Timbers had lost 4 in
a row, and were hoping to change their fortunes. In their only visit to
JELD-WEN Field last year, the Goats had come away on the opposite end of a 1-0
Arriving in Portland the day before the match allowed the traveling
supporters from the Black Army to get to know their surroundings. With a
light-rail station across the street that lead straight to the stadium, we were
off to explore. All in all, a nice city. One that seems knowledgeable in
regards to its local MLS team based on the amount of team gear one can
purchase almost anywhere, and fans eager to talk about the team/engage in
friendly banter. Of course there will be a jerk every now and then no matter
how well things go. But we can’t judge an entire fanbase on the sayings of one
person. Still, the expedition into the city gave us in the group an idea of
what to expect the following day.
Riding the train from the Red Lion Inn, the Black Army chanted the ride away
to the surprise of many Timbers supporters on board.
“This is the loudest I’ve heard away supporters on the train ever”,
said a passenger wrapped in a Timbers Army scarf.
And so the chanting continued right up to 10th street and Morrison, where
everyone got off and marched to the stadium. Going right past the Timbers Army
entrance made for an entertaining, if not explicative laden conclusion to the
As for the match itself, this examiner thought back to a question asked on
the trip up to Portland: “What are your predictions for the match?”
“It’s going to be a 1-0 undeserved win for Chivas USA”.
By the time the 1st half was over Portland should have been up at least 4 or
5 to nothing. Many failed offside’s traps and superior passing from the
opposition could very well have done the Goats in. But a nice save here and
there along with plain bad luck up top for the home team meant everything was
all square going into the half at 0-0.
The start of the 2nd half was more of the same. While the traveling Goats
supporters section sang loud, and often, The Timbers were having as bad of a day
as possible. And just when it seemed that Portland might break through, Dan
Califf connected with header off a Ben Zemanski free kick to put the Goats up
1-0. Pandemonium ensued in section 223 of Jeld-Wen Field. How long the lead
would last was anyone’s guess. But for now the flags waved, hands were clapped
and vocal cord limits were put to the test.
Unable to see the match clock from our seats, many were left wondering
exactly when the match would end. Emotions can get riled up more than normal
when one has no idea how much time as passed, or how much time is left.
This examiner stood by his prediction of an undeserved win as the players
applauded the traveling contingent of supporters. At no point in this match
should the Goats have had a lead. One almost felt sorry for the Timbers and
their fans. So many losses lately and so many chances to win on the night. The
wrong team won that night. Regardless of this examiners personal feelings, the
feeling of joy, and relief (more so relief rather than joy) spread about our
section as our team had gotten 3 vital points on the road.
With the match in the rearview mirror, it was time to head back home the
following morning. Departing at 11am, we wouldn’t arrive back at our original
point of origin until 5am the day after. It was a long grueling trip that saw
us pass dormant volcanos, towns named after medicinal drugs, no sales tax, and
farm fields that went on forever. A trip that won’t be forgotten anytime
With that said, the Goats now prepare for the 3rd and final encounter against
their neighbors this season. Things are even at the moment with each team winning one match a piece. But goal differential currently favors the other
team. Kickoff is scheduled for Sunday August 12th at 8pm.
The world as changed quite a bit since one Thursday evening, back on September 13, 2007.
Let’s look back at a few.
I graduated from Cal State Long Beach
America elected its first Black President
Spain won its first World Cup
Jimmy Conrad retired
General Gaddafi was ousted from power in Libya (and subsequently killed)
The neighbors from down the hall as well as fellow 2005 expansion side, Real
Salt Lake won MLS Cups
Seattle broke MLS attendance records
Well, that’s just a taste. To say it had been some time since the Goats last
tasted victory against their neighbors from down the hall, would be an
understatement. And while this examiner was trying to be as hopeful as can be,
history certainly wasn’t helping. Despite it all, the supporters were in good
spirits. Even the ones who support Bayern Munich on the side were up for the
match. The best anyone can hope for is a good result. So after dispensing with
the pleasantries, it was off to the Black Army section. Of interest to many
were two new acquisitions.
In a trade that involved the New York Red Bulls, Heath Pearce was sent their
way (along with a little extra cash) and 19-year old forward, Juan Agudelo came
this way. Also coming this way was defender Danny Califf, whom was acquired via
trade for Michael Lahoud, from Philadelphia. And wouldn’t you know, they both
started the encounter.
Unlike previous Chivas USA vs. “the neighbors” matches,
this one looked even. Gone for the most part were crosses that went nowhere and
the opposition wasn’t firing on all cylinders like the usually did. As with
these kinds of matches, tensions can always rise and get the better of us. It’s
how we deal with these situations that define us as groups. A big supporter of
Non-violence, Black Army members are quick to act to quell any and all
situations that can go wrong. For the point of the group is to support the
Goats above and beyond.
This isn’t to say it’s a bad thing when emotions get the best of us either.
One penalty kick in the 72nd minute (courtesy of 19-year old Jose Erick Correa) and
grown men can burst into tears. Complete strangers can hug in jubilation
celebrating the end of a shutout streak that went back to 2010. And voices can
be lost. As the final 15 (plus 4 additional minutes of stoppage time) rolled
on, palms were clenched tightly, hearts skipped a beat, and breaths were
collectively held whenever the neighbors were fouled, got a counterattack
rolling, or came over to take a corner kick.
As the match concluded, a celebration started that went on for the better
part of 30 minutes. To an outsider everything might have seen as excess. A 1-0
win, early in the season, against a struggling team with injured players, and
the only goal coming only in the form of a PK (though to be fair was originally
going in as a legitimate goal before it found the hand of a Galaxy defender).
But to someone on the inside, it had been far too long. Far too long since on
one September evening in 2007.
The team now heads to New Jersey to take on Heath Pearce and the Red Bulls.
Kick off is this Wednesday, at 4pm. It can be seen on Univision Deportes
(assuming you are fortunate enough to get the station).
On the Road Again...
“Oh no……here we go again….”
As the ball floated into the penalty box, Goats Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy stuck
his fist out to punch it away. At that same moment defender James Riley rose
to head the ball away.
Goalkeeper + defender not on the same page with each other + floating ball in
the air = goal for the other team. That’s the usual formula and that’s
exactly what we got as Portland Timbers forward, Kris Boyd put the home side on
the score sheet.
We’d seen this story before, right? Other team scores off a blunder and just sits back for the 1-0
result knowing full well the Goats will be powerless to come
back. As the first half came to an end, it was almost as if we were watching a
Enter Ryan Smith.
As the second half got underway, it still felt like this examiner was
watching a rerun. But of the match against Real Salt Lake from a couple
of weeks back instead.
Rather than hope for the goalkeeper to mess up though, the Goats actually
scored on a great play anchored by 2nd half sub, Ryan Smith. Picked up from Sporting KC in the offseason,
Smith beat his defender and crossed the ball onto the onrushing head of team
captain, Alejandro Moreno. Not content to sit back, the Goats took it to
Timbers looking to score again.
Just when it seemed the Goats might be content settling for the draw, Ryan
Smith worked his left footed magic again this time to find midfielder Nick
LaBrocca for the 2-1 lead.
With the win, they bring their overall record to 2 wins, 3, losses and 0
ties. Both wins having come on the road. Still though, if the team can play
like last Saturday more often (and preferably at home in front of their loyal
supporters), then this season promises to be a better one for all parties
The Goats now travel to Toronto to take on a team that is winless all season
long (their one victory against MLS completion came in the Champions League).
Can the Goats make it 2 in a row where they drew last year? Find out this
Saturday afternoon, April 14th. Kickoff at Toronto’s BMO Field is scheduled
for 1:30pm Los Angeles time on KWHY Channel. 22 & FSWEST.
Continue reading on Examiner.com
from the Couch - On the road again - Los Angeles Chivas USA |
Goats from the Couch - First Kick 2012 and a challenge to the Front Office
Despite a preseason with lopsided losses to fellow pro teams aside, it was best to just be positive coming into First Kick 2012. As supporters, all we can really do is hope for the best and trust that the powers that be are taking care of things. And sure, someone will talk about possession, player acquisitions and the quality of shots and all that stuff, but to use an often beaten to death cliché, “You don’t get extra points for winning pretty”. With a troubled 2011 behind them, the Goats looked to get the 2012 season going in the right direction.
For 91 minutes this past Sunday, it looked like that would be the case. Sure, it wouldn’t be a win, but the shaky defense that had been a problem all of last season looked to do their part for a change. Then there was a scramble in the box. Then Houston Dynamo defender André Hainault did his best Brian Ching impersonation and buried a shot past the outstretched arms of Goats Goalkeeper, Dan Kennedy.
Advertisement “It was like being punched in the gut while you are sleeping,” posted one Goats supporter on bigsoccer.com
This examiner would have to concur with that sentiment. Anyone watching could tell that the Dynamo probably deserved the win. Sure Juan Pablo Angel had his fair share of near shots (i.e. misses) like the one at the 40th minute that beat every Dynamo defender except the post, but for the most part the offense was rather dull. To see the team almost walk away with a draw, and the first home opener not to end in a loss since 2009 was hard to take in. Most won’t agree with me, but this examiner will not take any positives from the match itself. As much as it upsets me and others, Houston deserved its 3 points.
In other news, the Chivas USA organization has decided to cover the north end of the Home Depot Center with a tarp, as well as the upper deck. While some will mock it as a glorified “Tifo” in the weeks and months to come, this examiner applauds the decision makers for this. However I would like to pose a challenge to said decision makers: When the time comes for the LA derby, please keep the tarps in place. Do not bend to the will of the neighbors from down the hall. We in that rare crossover journalist/soccer supporter community like to think you have some integrity. Also, if you want to get used to the idea of an 18,000 seat stadium (knock on wood “Corona Stadium at Expo Park”), then these matches will be the perfect time to begin prepping you staff for that sized crowd. Sure, the detractors will say things like “you can’t do that, you’re only renting the place”. But when that rent check clears, remember that it’s your place to do whatever you want to do in it. So let them make their jokes and take their jabs. Preferably from a really crammed corner of the stadium (i.e. section 116).
Here’s to you 2012.
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Black Army 1850