Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Major League Soccer’ Category

1998-2001 Miami Fusion

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Major League Soccer (1998-2001)

Born: April 9, 1997 – MLS expansion franchise
Folded: January 8, 2002

Stadium: Lockhart Stadium

Team Colors:

Owner: Ken Horowitz

MLS Cup Championships: None

 

The Miami Fusion were Major League Soccer’s early misfire in the South Florida market. Cellular One founder Ken Horowitz paid a $20 million expansion fee for the club in the spring of 1997. He paid an additional $5 million to renovate Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium into a 20,000-seat soccer-specific venue. The club began play in 1998 with Colombian National Team captain Carlos Valderrama as its top drawing card.

The Fusion stumbled through three losing campaigns. Attendance bottomed out at a league-worst 7,460 per game game in 2000 and the team struggled to attract any corporate sponsorship interest. MLS, which controls all players contracts at the league level, returned the unhappy Valderrama to his original MLS club, the Tampa Bay Mutiny, early in the 1999 season. The Fusion received nothing in return for their top player.

The Fusion’s fortunes revived with the hiring of charismatic former Fort Lauderdale Strikers star Ray Hudson as manager midway through the 2000 season. Hudson and Fusion General Manager Doug Hamilton put a thrilling team on the field in 2001. Newly acquired midfielder Preki dished out assists to forwards Alex Pineda Chacon and Diego Serna, who finished 1-2 in MLS in scoring. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando and fullbacks Carlos Llamosa and Pablo Mastroeni anchored the stout defense. The Fusion earned Major League Soccer’ Supporters Shield with a league best regular season record of 16-5-5. Hudson’s squad was upset by the San Jose Earthquakes in the playoff semi-finals.

Though the Fusion’s attendance rose nearly 4,000 fans during the 2001 campaign, the franchise still ranked at the bottom of MLS in team revenues. Team owner Horowitz grew exhausted with the team’s losses. Major League Soccer contracted the Fusion, along with the similarly trouble Tampa Bay Mutiny club, on January 8th, 2002.

 

Miami Fusion Memorabilia

 

Miami Fusion Video

 

In Memoriam

Former Fusion General Manager Doug Hamilton passed away March 9, 2006. Hamilton was General Manager of the Los Angeles Galaxy at the time and on a flight with the team when he suffered a fatal heart attack. He was just 43.

 

Downloads

June 7, 1998 Miami Fusion vs. MetroStars Game Notes

 

Links

Major League Soccer Media Guides

Major League Soccer Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

March 4th, 2017 at 5:19 am

Columbus Crew Programs

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Columbus Crew Programs

Major League Soccer (1996-Present)

Founded: 1994 – Major League Soccer founding franchise

Stadiums:

Team Colors:

Investor-Operators:

MLS Cup Champions: 2008
U.S. Open Cup Champions: 2002

 

The Columbus Crew began play in 1996 as one of the ten founding franchises of Major League Soccer.  The Crew were backed by Lamar Hunt, the iconic American sports entrepreneur and long-time patron of professional soccer in the United States.  After three seasons at Ohio State University’s massive 102,000-seat American football coliseum, the club moved into Crew Stadium in 1999. Crew Stadium was the first professional soccer-specific stadium opened in the United States and signaled the start of a stadium construction boom in the early 2000’s that vastly elevated the status of pro soccer in America.

At the end of the 2014 season, the Crew underwent a modest re-branding, changing their formal identity to Columbus Crew SC.

 

Columbus Crew Programs 1996-1999

 

Columbus Crew Programs 2000-2009

 

Collector Notes

Throughout the 1990’s, all of Major League Soccer’s clubs sold a match day program known as FreekickFreekick was a pretty crummy production. The magazine-style covers were nice enough, but the inside was printed on cheap black-and-white newsprint.

Along with the rest of MLS, the Crew shifted to a smaller Playbill-style format during the 2000’s, also known as Freekick.  These were typically produced only about four times per season, with each edition covering four to five matches.  On the upside, the interiors were now on decent paper with full color photography.

In recent seasons, the Crew have abandoned the centralized Freekick format of MLS’ early years and produced their own programs (now known as Match Day) in unconventional brochure-style formats. For example, each 2013 edition of Match Day folds out roadmap-style into a large player poster.

The Crew also printed attractive annual media guides from 1996 until at least 2008.  The club seems to have shifted to digital (.pdf) media guides only in the late 2000’s, following the trend of most MLS clubs.

 

Columbus Crew Programs 2010-Present

 

Written by Drew Crossley

May 21st, 2016 at 3:31 pm

April 20, 1996 – New York-New Jersey MetroStars vs. New England Revolution

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Tony Meola MetroStarsNew York-New Jersey MetroStars vs. New England Revolution
April 20, 1996
Giants Stadium
Attendance: 46,826

Major League Soccer Programs
54 Pages (Tabloid newsprint)

 

Nice find at the bottom of a box sent over by a former New York sportswriter late last year.  This oversize tabloid-style program is from the inaugural home game of the old New York MetroStars of Major League Soccer back in April 1996.  (The MetroStars are the ancestors of today’s New York Red Bulls).  U.S. National Team goalkeeper Tony Meola shouts from the cover.

There was a big crowd on hand for the first pro soccer game at Giants Stadium since the demise of the New York Cosmos in 1985.  In fact, 62-year old Eddie Firmani, the man who coached the Cosmos to two Soccer Bowl titles in the 1970’s and helmed the club’s final NASL game at the Meadowlands in September 1984, was behind the bench for the Metros.

Firmani’s fleeting cameo – he would be the first MLS coach to resign/get fired, lasting just eight matches – was the closest any of the North Jersey old-timers would come to mistaking the Metros for the powerhouse Cosmos of old.  Twenty years on, the Metros-turned-Red Bulls have never won a game of any consequence.  And the club’s more mystically-inclined diehards apportion some of the blame for those decades of futility squarely back here on the night of April 20th, 1996. The evening that a 33-year old Italian defender brought the “Curse of Caricola” down upon the MetroStars/Red Bulls franchise in the very first home game.

I’d explain the doomed sequence here, but why bother when we have this video…

 

==YouTube==

The Curse of Caricola grabs hold of the MetroStars…

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Written by AC

January 31st, 2015 at 1:05 am

August 8, 2004 – MetroStars vs. Los Angeles Galaxy

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Eddie Gaven New York MetroStarsMetroStars vs. Los Angeles Galaxy
August 8, 2004
Giants Stadium
Attendance: 14,687

Major League Soccer Programs
72 Pages

 

Clash of Major League Soccer’s Eastern and Western Conference leaders at Giants Stadium in early August 2004.

It seemed like this might finally be the breakout year for the MetroStars, who had never won any type of hardware in MLS’ first decade.  Some supporters of MLS’ hapless New York club even believed the team was the victim of “The Curse of Caricola“, dating back to a crushing own-goal defeat in the Metros’ inaugural match back in 1996.

But the 2004 team had talent and carried a four-game undefeated streak into the All-Star Break at the end of July.  17-year old Eddie Gaven, pictured on the day’s FREEKICK match program (above right) became the youngest All-Star Game starter in MLS history a week earlier.  He was joined on the Eastern Conference squad by defender Eddie Pope and Honduran midfielder Amado Guevara.  All three would later be named to MLS’ Best XI for the 2004 season and Guevara would be selected as league MVP.  The Metros also owned the powerful Los Angeles Galaxy club that summer, outscoring the Angelenos 5-1 in two earlier victories in June.

Looking back, the Metros’ 2004 season crested on this match.  It was a violent engagement, with five yellow cards and a red (to L.A.’s Chris Albright in the 68th) and another one-sided MetroStars victory.  Guevara opened the scoring on a penalty in the 36th minute, and Gaven beat Galaxy keeper Kevin Hartman in the 61st to break the game open.  The Metros went on to win 3-0.

After this afternoon, the Metros returned to form.  They were winless for the remainder of August and 2-6-2 for the rest of the regular season en route to a 3rd place finish in the Eastern Conference.  Eventual MLS Cup champion D.C. United routed the Metros 4-0 on aggregate in the first round of the 2004 playoffs.

The MetroStars brand lasted one more season (ill-fated, of course) before Red Bull purchased and re-branded the club in 2006.  Gaven also stayed  just one more season in New York.  He was traded to Columbus before the 2006 season and enjoyed a long and solid career with the Crew (2006-2013), but never again was named to the MLS Best XI as he was in 2004 as a 17-year old teenager.

 

==Links==

Eddie Gaven, The Oddest Goalkeeper in MLS History, Retires“, Barry Petchesky, Deadspin, October 13, 2013

 

==Downloads==

August 8, 2004 MetroStars-Galaxy Roster Card

August 8, 2004 Los Angeles Galaxy Game Notes

August 8, 2004 MetroStars Game Notes

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Written by AC

January 8th, 2015 at 2:47 pm

2005-2014 Chivas USA

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Chivas USA Media GuideMajor League Soccer (2005-2014)

Born: August 2, 2004 – MLS expansion franchise.
Folded: October 27, 2014.

Stadium:

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

Chivas USA was Major League Soccer’s second Los Angeles franchise, sharing the Home Depot Center in Carson with the Los Angeles Galaxy.  The club started out as an expansion franchise in 2005.  Billionaire investor-operator Jorge Vergara also owned the popular Mexican club C.D. Guadalajara (colloquially known as “Chivas” or Goats).  The concept was that the Chivas USA would be a sister team to C.D. Guadalajara and might create appeal for a Latino fan base that had thus far shown only tepid support of the Galaxy in L.A. and Major League Soccer more broadly.  One of Guadalajara’s claims to fame in Mexico was its nationalism – the club exclusively employs Mexican players.  This policy would draw notice in Chivas USA’s final seaons, after Vergara and his wife acquired sole control of the franchise and allegedly began to harass and dismiss non-Spanish speaking employees.

Chivas USA’s early years seemed promising.  Future U.S. National Team head coach Bob Bradley guided Chivas to a playoff berth in its second season in MLS in 1996 before departing take over the U.S. Men.  Replacement Predrag Radosavljevic (better known as “Preki“) took over as manager in 2007 and led Chivas to a 1st place finish in MLS’ Western Conference.  This turned out to be the franchise’s high water mark.  They were bounced in the first round of the 2007 playoffs and would never win a playoff series.

Chivas USA ProgramBeginning in 2010, Chivas USA began a downward spiral that saw the club fail to ever again finish higher than 7th in MLS’ Western Conference.  The franchise also became something of an embarrassment to MLS.  Home attendance plummeted more than 50% between 2011 and 2014, bottoming out at 7,063 per match in 2014.  In 2013 two former MLS players who had coached in Chivas USA’s youth academy, Dan Calichman and Ted Chronopoulos, filed a discrimination suit against the team, claiming they were dismissed from the team because they were not of Latino descent.  Separately, an African-American former HR manager of the team filed a discrimination suit against Chivas USA a few months after Calichman and Chronopoulos.

In February 2014, Major League Soccer purchased Chivas USA back from Jorge Vergara and his wife, Angelica Fuentes.  The sale price was not officially disclosed, but both  Sports Illustrated and The Los Angeles Times reported the figure to be in the neighborhood of $70 million.  MLS operated Chivas USA through a lame duck final season before shuttering the franchise one day after the club’s final game on October 26, 2014.  Also in October 2014, MLS sold the former Chivas franchise – now effectively a new L.A. expansion team – to a large investeor group led by venture capitalist Henry Nguyen and Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter GuberThe group intends to launch a re-branded MLS club in L.A. in 2017, eventually playing in its own soccer-specific stadium.

During Chivas USA’s 10-year run, it was part of the only European-style local derby in Major League Soccer.  Chivas and the Los Angeles Galaxy met 34 times in those ten seasons, with the Galaxy enjoying a wildly lopsided advantage of 22 wins, 8 draws and just 4 losses in the so-called “SuperClasico” derby.

 

==Chivas USA Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other

2007

2007  4/14/2007 @ Houston Dynamo L 1-0 Program
2007 7/26/2007 @ New York Red Bulls W 2-0 Program

2008

2008 5/26/2008 Los Angeles Galaxy L 5-2 Roster Card
2008 6/5/2008 @ New York Red Bulls L 1-0 Program Game Notes
2008 7/10/2008 Los Angeles Galaxy T 1-1 Roster Card
2008 9/11/2008 @ New England Revolution L 4-0 Program

2009

2009 4/11/2009 Los Angeles Galaxy T 0-0 Roster Card
2009 8/29/2009 Los Angeles Galaxy L 1-0 Roster Card
2009 11/8/2009 Los Angeles Galaxy L 1-0 Roster Card

2010

2010 5/5/2010 @ New England Revolution W 4-0 Program
2010 6/5/2010 @ New York Red Bulls L 1-0 Program

2012

2012 3/11/2012 vs. Houston Dynamo  L 1-0 Program
2012 9/19/2012 @ Columbus Crew L 1-0 Program

2014

2014 9/27/2014 @ Seattle Sounders L 4-2 Program

 

==Key Players==

  • Jonathan Bornstein
  • Dan Kennedy
  • Sacha Kljestan
  • Ante Razov

 

==YouTube==

Highlights of Chivas USA’s final match on October 26, 2014 against the San Jose Earthquakes at the StubHub Center.

 

==Downloads==

2011 Chivas USA Media Guide

2012 Chivas USA Media Guide

2014 Chivas USA Media Guide

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