Following the news of MLS's renewed strategy for the LA market, which includes the cessation of operations of Chivas USA, MLSsoccer.com offers 10 memories from the club's history, in chronological order.
2005: A star is born: Brad Guzan became Chivas USA's first-ever MLS SuperDraft pick, at No. 2 overall in 2005. Entering the season, it looked like Guzan would not play a big role in the Goats' first campaign, but with star goalkeeper Martin Zuñiga going down with injury early in the year, the rookie ended up taking on the lion's share of minutes between the posts. After taking his lumps, but still impressing in his debut season, Guzan progressed quickly, becoming MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2007, and earning a transfer to English Premier League side Aston Villa the following year.
Now a fixture for Villa and a regular member of the US national team squad, Guzan was Chivas USA's first bonafide star.
2005: Palencia and Garcia help refresh new-look expansion Goats vs. MetroStars: With the debut season for Chivas USA proving to be difficult even by expansion standards, new coach Hans Westerhof looked to bring in more talent to reinforce a struggling attack. Forwards Juan Francisco "Paco" Palencia and Juan Pablo Garcia came from Mexico, and made an immediate impression upon their arrival. Their 3-3 draw against the MetroStars on August 21, 2005, gave an indication of what they could offer, with Palencia scoring two (watch in the video below, at the 1:26 mark) and Garcia chipping in one for the Goats (watch below, 1:51 mark).
Boosting Chivas USA fans' spirits during a trying season, the result against the MetroStars showed a glimpse of the quality of Palencia, a Mexican national team member, and Garcia, an idiocyncratic youngster with loads of talent. Between the pair, they would score 17 goals in MLS regular season and playoff games across 2005-06, and helped foreshadow the most successful period in the team's history.
2006: Bob Bradley transforms club: If you didn't follow MLS in 2006, you may not have known the pivotal role one man played in turning Chivas USA's fortunes around. Joining the team ahead of their second season, Bradley helped bring aboard such experienced MLSers as Jesse Marsch and Ante Razov, as well as Mexican star Claudio Suarez. Together, they turned around the culture in the locker room.
Bradley only coached Chivas for one season before moving on to coach the US national team, but in that one season, he made his mark, winning MLS Coach of the Year and leading the club to a playoff berth, the first of a four-year run.
2007: Marsch welcomes Beckham to MLS: Yes, it was a dangerous tackle, but when Marsch "welcomed" the LA Galaxy's David Beckham to the league with a boot that clipped the English superstar's midsection during a SuperClasico game in August 2007, it set the tone for rivalry. It also set the stage for a 3-0 Goats win, one of only four victories alltime against their in-stadium rivals.
2007: Supporters' Shield is almost theirs: After Bradley's departure, former MLS star Preki took over in his first head-coaching job. In his first season in charge, the Goats made a real run for silverware, finishing first in the Western Conference and landing Guzan's aforementioned MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award. Preki won the club's second consecutive Coach of the Year honor. Razov and Maykel Galindo proved to be a successful scoring tandem as well (watch the top goals of Chivas' 2007 season, below), and Sacha Kljestan and Jonathan Bornstein came into their own. In the end, Chivas USA missed out on the Supporters' Shield by two points to D.C. United, and lost in the playoffs to Kansas City. Despite falling at the final hurdle, 2007 represents the high-water mark for the club.
2010, 2012: US Open Cup semifinal runs: After Preki's departure following the 2009 season, Chivas USA went through a fallow period in terms of MLS playoff appearances. Despite that, the team made a pair of deep runs in the US Open Cup, reaching the semifinals in both 2010 and 2012. Though they fell after reaching the final four, both times to the Seattle Sounders, Chivas did flirt with making history in the United States' oldest soccer competition on two separate occasions.
Bonus: It didn't come during one of the Goats' more successful years in the USOC, but current starting goalkeeper Dan Kennedy distinguished himself by scoring a competitive goal for Chivas USA in the 2013 tournament, against the LA Blues. It turned out to be the winning goal in the game, no less.
2011-14: Dan Kennedy stands on his head: Chivas USA have had outstanding goalkeeping throughout their history, with Guzan's departure paving the way for Zach Thornton's career resurgence and an MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award in 2009. Then, in 2011, Kennedy took the No. 1 mantle.
From getting enough on a shot to push it past the post late to preserve a win on the road against Toronto in 2012...
...to producing one of the most stunning double saves in the SuperClasico in 2014...
... it's safe to say Kennedy's abilities have helped Chivas hold onto points, and keep them in games they otherwise had no business being in.
2013: The supernova of Chelís: Jose Luis Sanchez Sola, popularly known as "Chelís," only coached Chivas USA for five months, but what an eventful time that was. Beloved by players and fans alike, Chelís had more charisma than perhaps anyone in MLS, and made an immediate impression on the league.
What other person in MLS could you imagine saying what he said? Little wonder he has consistently worked as a media analyst in addition to his coaching duties over the years.
Alas, charisma and soundbytes only get you by for so long. Eventually, results matter, too.
2013: Alvarez's equalizer vs. Galaxy: By the time the first SuperClasico of 2013 rolled around, Chivas USA had only won one game against the Galaxy since 2007. Although it wasn't a win, the game in March 2013 showed considerable grit by the Goats to get a result. A first-half red card (which was later rescinded) reduced Chivas to 10 men, and when Jack McBean scored a late goal for the Galaxy, it looked like the task would be too tall for Chivas USA to overcome. But Chelís brought 2013 MLS SuperDraft No. 2 overall pick Carlos Alvarez onto the field for his professional debut, and the East LA native scored the very late equalizer to split the points between the teams. Jumping into the stands to celebrate with Chivas USA fans, it was an unforgettable moment for Alvarez and for Chivas USA.
2014: Cubo's winner vs. Montreal: Speaking of jumping into the stands to celebrate with fans — the full emergence of young forward Erick "Cubo" Torres this season has been perhaps the greatest joy for Chivas USA, and the full impact of the Mexican star's considerable talents came to the fore in July 2014 against the Montreal Impact.
With both teams seemingly destined for a drab 0-0 draw, Cubo grabbed three points with one of the most acrobatic goals you'll ever see, in the 94th minute of the game, no less. And instead of doing his traditional "Robot" celebration after scoring, the emotion of the moment caused Torres to run into the stands and celebrate with the Union Ultras behind the goal, and ultimately brought most of the Chivas 18 with him. They may not have lifted a trophy with the goal, but the memory of that dramatic winner will not soon be forgotten in Chivas USA lore.