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Chivas USA to trade Riley to D.C. United

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The latest player to leave new-look Chivas USA appears to be defender James Riley.

Riley tweeted his thanks to Chivas USA fans and the previous regime in charge of the club on Thursday afternoon before stating that he was hopping on a plane to join D.C. United, who are currently in Orlando, Fla. for the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic.

Neither of the teams have yet to confirm the trade and it is unknown what the Goats are receiving in return, but Riley’s apparent departure is just the latest example of Chivas USA and new head coach Jose Luis ‘El Chelis’ Sanchez ridding themselves of non-latino players.

Riley started in all 32 of Chivas USA’s games last season, notching two assists in his only year with the club.

What do you think of Chivas USA’s apparent trade of Riley? Do you see him starting at D.C. United? What do you think United gave in return?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Considering how much racism and discrimination Mexicans and Mexican-Americans have suffered in this country, and CONTINUE to suffer, it is shocking to me how much negativity has been centered on Chivas USA for promoting, empowering and encouraging these players. It is beyond strange to me when looking at the US MNT how *few* Mexican-Americans are there and have been there historically.

    I don’t see what Chivas USA is doing as racism, more as affirmative action. And quite frankly, it’s about time that this team has gone back to its roots, re-focused on its target market, and started promoting these players for their cultural heritage. I applaud them.

    Taken from another perspective, how many African-American or African-Canadian head coaches are there in MLS? I’m sorry, was that a zero? And no one points to that fact as indicating racism or racial preference? How many Latino head coaches are there in MLS? Three? Three minority head coaches in 19 professional teams.

    It’s a good thing there is some affirmative action going on in MLS.

  2. 2012 appearances by traded Chivas Jr. traded or released players:

    19- Juan Pablo Angel

    1- Peter Vagenas

    19- Danny Califf (mid season signing)

    23- Alejandro Moreno (retired)

    22- Ben Zemanski

    29- Nick LaBrocca

    17- Casey Townsend

    32- James Riley

    They traded or allowed the contract to expire on six guys who played major minutes, then had another player retire who was not terribly old and was still a regular starter for them.

    Then they took Mexican-American players in the draft before anyone predicted those players to go.

    If you can’t see discrimination in releasing half of the players who had played major minutes for you then you are fully in denial. Say what you will about Hispanic/Latino or Mexican not technically being a race, but there is very clear discrimination against a defined portion of the population.

    Ironically, AJ DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzales can’t stop laughing about being the two best Mexican-American players in the Home Depot Center. Bad luck and good riddance Chivas Jr.

    • Umm Jeremy, in case you didn’t notice, Chivas USA scored only 24 goals last season (worst in the league)–are you really suggesting that keeping juan pablo angel and ale moreno would have made sense? And the defense leaked 58 goals (worst in the west), many during a late run where Califf was in central defense. Vagenas is verrrry old and was never coming back. Riley has been released or traded by a lot of teams before he ended up with Chivas USA. That adds up to 94 of the aforementioned starts, and i would argue that most staffs would have jettisoned most or all of those guys. Meanwhile, Zemanski went for a potentially valuable chip in Bornstein, and Zemanski was worth a lot more to his old coach than anyone else. That leaves LaBrocca as the one questionable deal. Please explain to me what you don’t u.nderstand about needing to totally reshape what was a very old and ineffective roster.

      Meanwhile the team captain is a “White” American guy and the most recent signings were a Salvadoran-American and a Mexican-American. Why. Are you so threatened by this. It will either work or it won’t but it is highly interesting in an otherwise humdrum offseason…

      • Here’s what I don’t understand about reshaping the old and ineffective roster: Where are the upgrades over the old players? What starting quality players for the back line did they get from trading Califf and Riley? If they upgraded the roster I would understand, but simply dumping players of unwanted ethnicities and ***not replacing them with equal or better players*** is what worries people.

        What upgrades did they get for Townsend and Zemanski? Unless they are getting upgrades then it is clear discrimination. At least you admit LaBrocca was a bad deal.

        Simply because RSL isn’t willing to trade Rimando for Kennedy doesn’t mean that Kennedy’s whiteness is a testament to the team’s fairness. He’d be booted just as soon as anyone else if there was an available Mexican or Mexican-American keeper.

        PS- Galaxy front office, please deal Gonzo to Chivas Jr. for Kennedy, Agudelo, and their top three pick in next year’s draft. He’ll be gone soon anyways.

  3. I’m not trying to defend what Chivas is doing. What played well in Mexico won’t work as well here (for a gazillion reasons). But all of these players are under contract to MLS. You’d have to argue that MLS is engaging in discrimination–they’re employer. And related to that, it doesn’t look like any player has been cut for this reason (ie: he wasn’t Mexican). They may have a preference and it would be interesting how a court would view it if they end up with a roster that is 100% Mexican or Mexican-American.

    As for the actual trade, DCU makes out like a bandit. They give up basically a 4th round pick (2nd round of the 2015 supplemental draft) way off down the road. Chivas pays most of Riley’s salary. I’m not a big fan of Riley. But DCU gets a veteran defender with athleticism and some speed for next to nothing, doesn’t need an international slot, and he has almost no cap hit. They’ve got rookies with bigger cap hits than Riley.

  4. I might add that I used to be an employment lawyer and I’m not sure whether this is a problem. I’d want to do a lot of research before I tried to give anything like a definitive answer.

  5. Don’t the players have a contract with MLS, rather than the individual club? That makes a difference in how you might evaluate whether there is a case. Even if it was the club, the fact that Kennedy remains on the team and is the captain undercuts any sense of a case.

  6. Let’s send them back to Guadalajara since they don’t understand that our diverse culture imposes obligations of respect on all of it’s members. I am sure they can fill stadium seats with bodies from narco-violence south of the border. They can pour their fans a stiff drink or two.

    • Really Dan, that’s where you want to go? Last I looked, our “diverse” society has all kinds of institutional and more subtle forms of discrimination, often against Latinos (among other groups). And if you want to throw stones about violence, don’t do it from the country with millions of legal gun owners and very high homicide rates in its own right.

      • And we should definately work on correcting those things. But you can’t sit down and correct “subtle” while you still have some discrimination that is over the top. This Chivas situation is as obvious as it can be and is low hanging fruit. It shouldn’t be up the Justice Department to sort this one out, MLS fans should just start a “Send Chivas Back to Guadalajara” petition.

      • And, yes, I don’t like our guns problem either, but as bad as it is we are still quantum levels below Mexico in terms of murders. How bad can Mexico be if it is worse than us! But this is really about soccer, I just brought up the Mexico point because this action by Chivas takes a political issue and makes it a sport issue. I would rather they left demographics out of soccer and that makes me even more bothered by Chivas’ actions.

  7. Please stop with the righteous indignation. They are making player personnel moves based on their perceived fan base and the kind of player (skill set wise). Nobody is being fired. In fact, if the situation is as poor ss all of you say, then CUSA is doing these players a favor. Many, including white.pundits, have.claimed there is loads of undiscovered mexican american talent in this country, largely due to a system that is itself discriminatory. The roster remains quite diverse, and they are adding allocation money so chill out. I have no idea if this will work, but it is really entertaining in a sometimes boring league. We hear talk of the Mexican style and now may get to see how it works in MLS. This is entertaining, not racism.

      • Seattle and Portland? Huh? There are plenty of “minorities” in and around the PNW. I’m guessing you don’t venture outside of Houston too often.

      • All-white team, now that would be racist. Just like its racist to assume Chivas is racist. Does anyone actually think Miguel Sabah and Miguel Ponce, would be classified under the same race?

        I guess if youre small minded and automatically prejudge all mexicans as brown people, you would.

    • I agree with Cairo. To me, it’s variety. I like having the Canadian teams in MLS and I’m interested to see what Chivas USA does this season. The fact that there is another, dominant, team in the same market – in the same stadium – eases my discomfort.

      I think Chivas USA is a languishing team and their ownership is giving it one more try before they jump ship and give the franchise back to MLS.

    • Sorry, the question will be asked about HIRING!!! are they selecting employees based on national origin. The law is the law, it will be a problem at some point if it is systematic.

      • Are you suggesting that we live in a color blind society, and this is what’s upsetting the apple cart? Even our government’s immigration policies are not blind to nationality. Let’s not be naive and pretend that Chivas USA is the only entity in this country that has preferences, and that they will try to exercise those preferences within the law (however flawed those laws might or might not be)

    • I agree with you as well. It will be interesting to see if they can adopt a “latin style” (/”mexican style”), and how quickly they can do it. But I think that the only way they can tap into the undiscovered talent is to drop the pay-to-play model in their developmental academy (read–implement a huge number of scholarships), as it’s probably the money that shuts out a lot of the talent in the youth sides. I may be mistaken, but I think that’s how the MLS based club teams still operate… don’t they?

  8. Chivas USA can do whatever they want to their team. If they want to put all Mexicans on their team, or all Chinese on their team, or whoever, they can do what they wish. Winning on the field is another story. If they win the MLS Cup, then we will definitely have too give their plan a second look. I am a believer in letting the free markets and the “invisible hand” decide…Obviously, MLS and Chivas feel that the latino market in LA remains untapped. I am sure if Chivas USA is made up of all Mexicans, then there is chance they will be able to add more fans in the seats.

    • A public company operating in the USA cannot do whatever they want. Can a restaurant only serve Mexican-american and not African-americans?

      Sorry, but this will be an issue if there is intentional discrimination based on national origin. And in Cali – how can they let that go without a challenge?

      • Well — not that it’s all that relevant, but Chivas is not a public company operating in the USA. It’s a privately-owned franchise operating within a privately-held sports league.

        Restaurants are considered “public accommodations” under the law, because they rely on public roads for access. Ditto for hotels. Different rules.

        Civil rights laws can operate to protect classes of people that are traditionally disfavored — otherwise, they would be unconstitutional intrusions on right to contract.. Americans are not such a class. You can’t discriminate based on national origin, generally — but that’s because it would normally involve some small minority. However, against Americans? I’m not sure that courts would not throw out a lawsuit based on that.

    • the latino market in LA may be untapped but after so many years does any outside observer really believe that Chivas will unify those fans. Latinos are fans of lots of different teams from different leagues etc but in Mexico alone you have a lot of teams. Mexicans in LA who don’t come from a Chivas of Guadalajara background aren’t going to be all of sudden supporting the US version of a team they already hate.

      Change the name to El Tri Jr. and then you have something to unite mexicans all over.

  9. so why dont they just go join and play in a Mexican league?? We have Canadian teams play in MLS, so Chivas USA can take their lame culuture and go play in Mexico.

    There plenty teams/cities in US who are dying to join as expansion sides but only 1(?) spot left to grab

  10. Chivas USA is an embarrassment to the league. Happy is the day when someone buys that franchise, moves it, and re-brands it. Or it gets contracted.

  11. This is actually becoming an alarming spectacle of prejudice against different cultural or national groups and a bias towards players with certain cultural backgrounds. The fact that they have stated openly that if you do not have a Mexican heritage then they do not want you is clear cut prejudice, how can a league that promotes the fight against racism and hate actually allow a coach and for this matter a front office and team to represent exactly the opposite of the leagues stance? I find it insulting and I think that there should be harsh punishments.

      • That’s arguable.

        1. A local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics.

        2. A group of people united or classified together on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographic distribution: the German race.

      • Yea it’s not a race. Sorry to break it to ya, but Hispanic isn’t a “race” either by standard sociological terms.

      • Mexican is not a race. You can be of any race and still be Mexican by being born there or acquiring citizenship.

        Hispanic is used to refer to people with cultural connections with Spain, so anyone born and raised in any Latin American country is Hispanic regardless of race.

      • German is a nationality, not a race…maybe you mean Germanic…thats a race. Do you think Timmy Chandler and Muller are the same race?

  12. How many MLS teams has RIley played for and is it the record? By my count The Revs, Quakes, SOunders, Chivas and now DC. Plus he was on Montreal’s roster for about half an hour.

    Good enough to always get a job…not good enough to keep it?

    • Id like to see that so we can finally put to rest the myth that mexicans are better in this country.

      This reminds me that someone needs to bring back the LA Aztecs, Atlanta Chiefs, and the Washington Diplomats from the old NASL days. Iconic teams with tradition and great names. Washington Dips’ is so much better than try hard DC united

      • DC United is the only classic name from the 96ers. Otherwise you get names like “Galaxy” “Wizards” and “MetroStars.” Those are “try hard” names.

      • DC United is no where near a classic name. No pro sports team in the US has used united in their name. Its a lame attempt to copy english team names instead of trying to continue the soccer tradition in the DC area. Its bush league and just as worthless as MLS teams adding fc to their name when its called soccer here

      • You’re speaking without any knowledge. After the NASL died, Gordon Bradley (who had a long history with soccer in the DC area, coaching the Washington Diiplomats and then George Mason University), started a drive for a professional soccer team in DC. But here’s the catch…it wouldn’t have a couple of rich pocket owners but instead would be funded by the people. Bradley asked people to contribute money (which would go into a trust) and ultimate the public would own the team (sort of like the Green Bay Packers). Bradley said that this team would be called Washington United (in big part b/c the team would be owned by the community). When MLS started up and Kevin Payne was designated as the President for the Washington franchise, he updated the name to “DC United” b/c as Payne pointed out, natives to the area call it “DC” and not “Washington.” So DC United is as class as names like the Timbers or Sounders…which have roots that predate MLS in their communities.

      • I agree DC United is a legit name. A classic crest that has a governmental and official feel to it. Add some stars from cup wins and you have some historical pedigree. And I’m not even a DC United fan.

    • Legit question. I’d imagine they are targeting some players to add for depth, but right now they’ve only got 17 active guys on their roster. Not exactly a solid position to be in with just over 2 weeks until your first game….

      • I was listening to a podcast and Eric Wynalda is claiming Chelis as a genius for his all Mexican american / latino squad. Wynalda thinks that Chivas USA will find all these diamonds in the rough that Wynalda found himself for his club team plus more guys who can ball but work at Home Depot and stuff. I guess we’ll find out.

      • Thanks for this. When Chivas USA is a complete disaster this year I will add that podcast to my “more proof that Eric Wynalda is a complete f’ing idiot” evidence pile.

    • Right! The only thing dumber than the “trade all the non mexican players” movement is their inability to sign any replacements, mexican or not! I assumb he has something in the works but right now my money is on a TFC-ish 0-8 start, which is good cuz there are too many good teams in the west!

  13. Provides good depth at the fullback spots for DC. When Russell and Woolard got hurt, Olsen played the home stretch last year with a converted midfielder on the right and a natural-rightsided player on the left. This move should avoid that type of situation.

  14. How is this practice legal in the US of A? They are discriminating against current and future players based on ethnic/country of origin background.

    I wonder if they have the same policy with club support staff?

      • who are they replacing all these talented players they are booting off the team? and yes can you imagine i only want a white basketball team or a black hockey team how stupid

    • Have you seen Riley play?

      The team is being built with Mexican-Americans, notice the American part. It means they were born in the USA.

      • I am not saying that Chivas has violated the law but, assuming they are a covered employer (not sure how the single-entity would play in to this though), it is still a violation of federal (and undoubtedly California) law to discriminate based on “national origin” irregardless of the employee’s passport.

      • It’s not like people are applying to play for Chivas and they are rejected based on their ethnicity… Also, they are trading their non-Hispanic players, not firing them and leaving them unemployed…

        While it may be irritating for some people, I don’t see this as a legal issue.

        Playing devil’s advocate over here. Go Galaxy.

      • How is it not illegal to deny a workplace because of your ethnic background? Clearly if Chivas hadn’t stated that they are going completely Mex-American then there would be some legal coverage, but by openly flaunting this they are opening themselves to some major issues.

        I used to kind of like Chivas… I hope they flounder at the bottom of the league for now on.

      • Riley is below average, but that’s not the point.

        The fact that they are employing one ‘group’ of people based on something in addition to points relevant to the job is where the issue is.

        What if the celtics only wanted to play those with Irish-american backgrounds, and shed the team of everyone who does not fit that description, can you imagine?

        To me this is a signal of how far MLS needs to come still, that this can fly under the media spotlight.

        There’s a massive story sitting here for someone to take to the big news outlets.

    • a few of the players are half white, from south america, etc. if they tried to do a 100% mexican american players only like the parent chivas (100 mexican) that would not fly. i am sure they still have black and white players still. they will continue to have central and south american “latino” players.

    • It’s legal because they’re upholding the terms of the player contracts. They are finding them alternative places of work, and not firing them outright without cause. That would make it illegal. It’s crappy, but that is the life of a player, and they know this.

    • evidently it is legal but let me give you another example. if an MLS team wanted to do an american white only players, that would not fly. otherwise, it would be pretty cool if an MLS team could pull that, american only theme, off (similar to chivas guadalajara – mexican only). likewise, a mexican american ONLY C-USA would not fly. that’s why they are including non mexican american players and, even, just american players. i think it will be cool, when they come to your stadium just chant (non racists chants of course) and boo the hell out of them. it will be fun.

      • I think a lot of people would be happy with an All American team. It seems like people are always clamoring to keep young American talent in the US and not bring as many foreigners in.

    • I’ve been wondering the same thing. It would not be the first time a Mexican-owned company in the U.S. went afoul of American labor laws. Besides being discriminatory, the practice of creating an all-Latino team will probably end up counterproductive. Usually these kinds of limitations don’t work for the better.

    • Unless you are a Chivas fan, who cares? It’s quality players for almost nothing.

      There’s no way you can win any legal case against Chivas. Though I would like someone from the press to ask Garber how he feels.

      At the end of the day, we have to wait and see how they do this season. If they have another season or two of busts, we could very well see them packing up and moving to a new city. NY or Orlando anyone?

    • The legality is based in their lack of firing. The moment a player without Mexican heritage of any sort is cut (firing) rather than traded I think you’ll see a legal challenge. While that player will have to prove race and not talent is why they were cut (which won’t necessarily be easy to do), the publicly stated policies and actions by Chivas should hang them by themselves.

      • I was just thinking this.

        They’re trading players away not simply terminating their contract on the spot. Of course the contracts are through MLS anyways but I think Chivas USA has to have a lawyer who is aware of these things.

        Of course with Chelis he probably doesn’t give a damn. Chelis is a crack-up. The American way of doing things are going to drive him insane and all the while he’ll provide great entertainment as he bitches and complains. Oh, and wait til the losses start stacking up.

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