News emerged yesterday (by means of official press release, strangely enough) that MLS has purchased Chivas USA -- you know, that little club south on I-15 that joined at precisely the same moment as us -- and will be rebranding it.
It reminds us that things could have gone radically differently for Real Salt Lake -- and they so nearly did several times. While our expansion cousins have struggled with brand -- being named after their owners' other, far more popular club, Chivas Guadalajara -- we have found success in Salt Lake City with a name perhaps as equally preposterous. Our struggles in that regard are obviously very different by their nature, being that we have only one club in our city with which to contend, but perception initially wasn't entirely smooth.
In 2007, Chivas USA was two points off the Supporters Shield. Us? 28. And two points off the very bottom of the combined MLS table. In 2013, we were three points off the apex; Chivas USA was the second-to-worst club by record. These things come and go, but through our history, we have been on the rise -- while Chivas has taken a notable dip.
Both clubs started things without a stadium to call their own; it took some work, but Rio Tinto Stadium became our home in late 2008. Chivas USA remains without their own stadium, having spent their time co-occupying LA Galaxy's home, the StubHub Center.
Dave Checketts was famously close to moving the franchise to St. Louis when stadium talks broke down -- instead, the deal was pushed through in Sandy, and we're still here. But for that deal, we'd be the unenviable story of expansion failure. It's a funny thing, being so nearly in a worse position than Chivas USA finds itself now. Maybe we can count ourselves a bit lucky in this one.