US Soccer icon and MSG TV analyst Shep Messing did not hold anything back when discussing Chivas USA during halftime of this past Saturday's Montreal Impact vs. New York Red Bulls game. The former New York Cosmos goalkeeper was asked about the Major League Soccer rivalry between LA Galaxy and Chivas USA, and Messing responded by, for lack of a better description, cutting a pro wrestling promo on the club that shares an arena with the defending MLS champs. That portion of the broadcast had not yet been uploaded online as of the posting of this piece, but his word-for-word comments can be found below.
"The wonderful thing about this sport of soccer that we all love is that it embraces people from different races, religions, ethnicity, cultures - and when it comes to Chivas, I think they're borderline racist. They have a mantra that they want Hispanic players in general - Mexican players, in particular. I think the time has come for Chivas to get out of the league. It was an experiment that failed, and I don't condone their practices. The next Landon Donovan or Sacha Kljestan, if he grows up in LA, he can't play for Chivas? The league needs to get rid of Chivas."
Messing was referencing what occurred at Chivas USA this past offseason. The club appointed Chelís as head coach, who, in his MLS introduction, called it a "real tragedy" that there were so many talented Mexican-Americans playing for teams other than Chivas USA. Then came a plethora of roster moves which, as described by NBC Sports writer Steve Davis, were made so that the team could ultimately "cultivate the talent of Mexican heritage."
In his defense, Chelís has denied that he utilized any such methods when putting together his squad. He was quoted in a Goal.com story as having stated the following on the matter: "It is rude and even racist to talk about 'Anglos' or 'Latinos.' This team is building an identity for the 12 million fans that we can reach here in Los Angeles and that is what we are doing. Even more, that is what the league wants us to do, because if they disagree with us they wouldn't let us do it."
Regardless of your opinion on Chelís or the roster moves the club has made since the 2012 MLS Cup Final, one cannot deny that Chivas are playing very well under their new boss. Following a 3-0 defeat at home to Columbus Crew, Chivas rallied from behind at home to beat FC Dallas 3-1 on March 10. Seven days later, ten-man Chivas found a dramatic late goal and earned a 1-1 draw with LA Galaxy. Then, on March 24, Chivas rolled into Chicago and routed the Fire 4-1. Chivas are now on seven points, just two points behind Dallas, who currently sit atop the Western Conference table.
One thing Messing did not touch upon when lashing out at Chivas was the club's attendance woes. Chivas had a league-low home attendance average in 2012, and their attendance figures for home matches thus far this year have been nothing short of embarrassing. It would be an understatement to suggest that Chivas have failed to grab the hearts and support of local fans. Everybody loves a winner, though, and I'm curious to see if Chivas will be able to draw more fans to games in the near future if they continue winning.
They host Vancouver Whitecaps on March 30.
For more: The complete Chivas USA roster can be found here
Zac has been covering New York Red Bulls, Major League Soccer, Tottenham Hotspur, the USMNT and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
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- Chivas USA
- Major League Soccer
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