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MLS West Notes: Earthquakes dispute with supporters continues, Joseph’s pay cut helps Sounders, and more


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A dispute between Earthquakes ownership and its main supporter group, the 1906 Ultras, came to a head Saturday as the Ultras remained silent throughout the Quakes 2-0 victory over Chivas USA.

The silence came after management revoked the ability to display banners from the group after a controversial Tifo during a match against the Portland Timbers in late July.

The Ultras have also been banned from traveling to the Aug. 31 match at the LA Galaxy. Ultras member Mel Marcia told the Mercury News that some members are considering asking for refunds on next year’s season tickets.

Here are some more news and notes from around the Western Conference heading into MLS Week 24 action:


Chivas USA’s academies continued their successful season as their U-23 squad won the California state title after defeating Corinthians USA Pomona United 3-0 on Sunday night. While the Goats academy has fared well this season at various levels, the title was the first championship won by a Chivas USA youth team since 2005.

Leading the U-23s was former U.S. U-18 International Omar Elmasri. The former Tigres defender was the only player to play every minute of the team’s season.

“It’s not easy sometimes; you have ups and downs, but it feels good to end in a high note. I think I can speak on behalf of the guys when I say we’re all very happy and we’ve all worked well together,” Elmasri told the club’s website.


The untimely passing of Christian Benitez left former teammates around the world stunned by his sudden death last week. Colorado’s Diego Calderon had known Benitez since the pair were playing youth soccer in Quito, Ecuador, as 12 year-olds.

“Lots of people remember him as a great soccer player and as a great scorer,” Calderon said of Benitez to his club’s website. “I remember him for the type of person that he was: Humble, and one who was good to his friends.”

In 2011, Calderon and Benitez were teammates on the Ecuadorian national team and had maintained a close friendship.


With the club mired in a nine-game winless run and five-game goalless streak, head coach Schellas Hyndman has started to make changes to his lineup, including benching Kenny Cooper and Eric Hassli. When asked after Tuesday’s practice about any impending changes, Hyndman said the club is already making them.

“We’re already doing that. Pulling Kenny [Cooper] out of the starting lineup is not something any of us probably thought was going to happen,” Hyndman told the Dallas Morning News. “Not playing Eric Hassli was probably something we didn’t think was going to happen. We thought we’d have three of the best strikers. One could hold the ball, one could run off the ball and guys could be scoring goals.”


Landon Donovan didn’t need a scouting report when the Galaxy signed  Panamanian goalkeeper Jaime Penedo earlier in the week. Donovan has played against Penedo many times over the years when the U.S. has taken on Panama.

“I’ve [watched] Jaime from a distance for a long time. He’s been with Panama for many years now, and I remember him when he was a young guy, and he’d probably say the same about me,” Donovan told the club’s website. “We’ve sort of grown up through these qualifying and Gold Cups together. It’s nice to see him. He looks like a friendly and nice guy, and hopefully he can help us.”


In addition to his career-best season, Will Johnson is also helping the Timbers off the field. Johnson joined Timber Joey and fellow Timbers Diego Valeri and Jack Jewsbury to clear trails and pick up trash at a suburban Portland Park a day after his club’s 1-1 draw with the Whitecaps Saturday.

“I’m living my dream playing soccer for the Portland Timbers, and people are coming up and thanking me for my hard work and effort, so that means a lot,” Johnson told the AP. “They’re smart, knowledgeable soccer fans, and that’s humbling and makes me strive for greater things.”


Before RSL took on the Timbers Wednesday night in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals, former RSL player Will Johnson talked to the Salt Lake Tribune about his return to Utah.

“We went through a lot of battles here,” the Timbers captain said. “I played over 100 games with this group of guys, and you don’t do that without having a bond, a strong bond. So I’ve got very strong ties to a lot of the guys in that locker room.”


Before Clint Dempsey signed with the Sounders, Seattle had to lose a designated player. That’s what happened when Shalrie Joseph agreed to take a pay cut in order to give the club an open DP spot. Joseph, however, didn’t know his generosity was going to bring in his former teammate from the New England Revolution.

“I didn’t know it was for him, specifically,” Joseph told the Seattle Times.

Joseph, who has lost in the MLS Cup three times, accepted lower pay in 2013 (deferring salary to 2014) because he knew it would make his chances of finally winning a title go up.


Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted made his MLS debut in Saturday’s 1-1 draw and coach Martin Rennie was happy with the Dane’s performance.

“I thought he did well,” Rennie told the Province newspaper. “He looked comfortable. I didn’t think we had really any chances against us. They weren’t really too dangerous, so we didn’t have too much to do, but I thought he looked very confident.”

Ousted is in a fight with Brad Knighton for top starting goalkeeper spot as the club looks to maintain its playoff position.


What do you make of these developments? Do you see the Earthquakes supporters continuing their silence? Do you see Kenny Cooper regaining his place in the starting XI?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The Ultras are good fans. Like any group there will be a handful that go over the line and risk getting booted from the group. Every single supporters group has a code of conduct. The Portland incident was unfortunate but completely overblown. FO is overreacting and prolonging this for affect. The vibe in the stadium was crap with the Ultras sitting on the their hands.

  2. Rapids sign Panama’s Torres as their first designated player. Things are definitely going in a promising direction with this club.

  3. The name “ultras” crack me up. Like a white kid trying to be gangsta.
    You ain’t ultras, you’re just a bunch of middle cl@ss white guys that go to soccer games on Saturdays.
    Bunch of wannabes.

    • what cracks me up is how brave ppl are in the internet and how they are not afraid to be calling us names, and saying all kinds of stuff while they are safe behind their computer screen… come on over one of these days and we will talk in person.

    • See, it’s one thing to feel that way about ex-Ultras privately. Say what you like in private…but when you call them ‘traitorous lames’ on a public website, it reinforces that the Ultras have a ‘us vs them’ mentality. This may partially explain why the group is losing the battle of public opinion among its fanbase.

  4. I’m all for supporters groups having their way and having the freedom to express themselves but the Ultras are crossing the line. They’re acting like kids. The Ultras should man up, apologize and move on.

  5. This ladies and gentlemen happens when you think you are bigger than the club. Get over it and move on. I’m getting sick of hearing about their cries for attention.

  6. They’re not thugs, they’re clowns with a martyr complex.

    If they go, another, better supporters section will take their place. I’m sure that their are plenty of passionate supporters in the Bay that don’t feel the need to make excuses or duck responsibility for unacceptable behavior.

  7. the ultras consider the ban to be lifted but the front office does not. the ultras are going to go to LA whether or not they are under a league/FO ban. there are going to big problems if they go there and there’s no security protocal and designated away section like there usually is. this is going to be a big mess.

  8. LOL @ 1906 Ultras.

    You can ask for refunds, but you won’t get them. But you can still ask.

    Supporters groups are anything but. They get the cheapest seats in the house, and too many act like morons and wannabe hooligans. They also think that it’s all about them and the action on the pitch is secondary. Hopefully thisjerkoff group goes the way of Chivas USA’s Legion 1908 and finds something more productive to do with their time, like robbing third graders of their lunch money.

    • That just isn’t true about supporter’s groups, but to an outsider it seems very true about the Ultras.

      Watch MLS insider about the Timbers match against a youth team…the Timber’s Army (by the way second time I have mentioned them…I am a Sounder for over 30 years ) isthe exact opposite of what you are talking about…ditto the ESC. Anyone who likes to jump on cars and bash windows…is not welcome and viewed like they should be…

      They have only 200 members for a reason.

  9. Seems like that little payment MLS made for Dempsey probably helped the Sounders a little more than Joseph taking a pay cut…

      • And I guess if MLS doesn’t fork over several million, they don’t sign Dempsey. (Or is is that they could have signed Dempsey and paid the fee and MLS just chose to do it for them?)

      • From Jeff Carlisle’s ESPNFC story today: “ reported that Dempsey’s fee of $9 million was paid by the league, while the $3 million used by Portland to purchase the contract of midfielder Diego Valeri was footed by the club. One team executive, who asked not to be identified, explained that in his experience, determining which entity pays the transfer fee for an incoming player is usually decided on a case-by-case basis.

        “It would depend on what relationship you would want to have in terms of your ability to resell the player,” he said. “We could go to the league and say, ‘We want to be able to resell him,’ When you’re buying an asset you want to be able to resell the asset, that’s part of the whole point. So you’re not going to fork over that transfer money unless you can resell him [and recover some of the fee]. Who puts up the money depends on who is going to own that asset long term. In my experience there’s been numerous ways to handle it depending on the dollars involved, and the player.” “

  10. The only good thing about the name “The Clash” (other than reminding me of my favorite band) was that the supporters group was The Casbah….as in “Rock the Casbah”

  11. I for one hope that the San Jose ownership will put in a tremendous amount of effort to change the reputation of the club, and work with supporters to improve the reputation of their fans.

    In my opinion, San Jose is easily the dirtiest team in the league, and their fans follow suit. I am not aware of any MLS club having as many issues with their supporters group(s).

    • The 1906 Ultras “pretend” to be Eastern European Ultras like kids from my high school “pretended” to be in a gang both would sh*t themselves if they met a real members and loved to mess with people who they knew wouldn’t respond. It’s a shame really the 1906 could be a really great SG but the fake hooligan act is exactly why they are facing this situation.

      • …but a lot of them are eaterm European ultras who immigrated here. There’s a reason why Romanian Ultras and media European media pays 1906 respect. Bottom line is ultra culture doesn’t work in the US

      • I would love to see an example of the Euro media paying respect to the Ultras.

        I think they respect MLS in Europe
        I think they probably respect some SGs
        …a 200 person group…I am guessing no way. Please post a link.

      • Looks like my links were removed.

        Sport. ro (Romanian Sports Network) published something about 1906. The link is the Quakes supporter thread of Big Soccer.

        Either way, to go back to your original claim about the authenticity of the group…the foundation of 1906 are ultras/hardcore supporters who were raised in the stands of clubs in Romania, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, all over Central America…just to name a few.

        Fact is, they’re different from the stereotypical American fan group and I doubt it can survive here much longer.

  12. Strange that in the US, we embrace the name of “ultras” or “hooligans” for a teams supporters group and think nothing of it despite the negative connotations it has in soccer around the world. And what the heck does the 1906 stand for?

    • The tifo was offensive in context of the hooliganism, and especially offensive in the same way they always are: face-palm levels of stupid.

      My major issue with SJ (and greater Bay Area) fandom: we either get kids living out some “hard-core fan” fantasy in a plainly pathetic manner (Ultras) or we get ticket prices that crowd out genuine sports fans (Notice the Blackberry toting Club Section and uber-sensitive soccer moms soaking up the kitsch at AT&T Park — they sell more panda hats than baseball mitts in SF).

      Even worse, for me, is that if we ever get rid of the Ultras, there’s almost no one else to fill the void. Casbah is like 5 guys now.

      So while I normally can’t stand this group, I fear that SJ ownership is actually trying to capitalize on the situation in order to push our only supporters’ group out of the new stadium scenario. Why have real fans when you could otherwise bring in the fair-weather types seeking answers to the two eternal question: “Is Beckham playing today? And how much are those crazy blond Fro wigs?”

      Conflicted… and won’t lie, I’m not creative enough to start my own group.

      • Seems like a very poor business decision for the SJ FO to alienate its main supporter group. My guess is the FO is taking a calculated risk in hopes that the 1906 Ultras will voluntarily weed out the trouble makers. I’m fairly certain 90% of Ultras are decent people who just want to supporter the Quakes. If I’m one of those 90%, I don’t want a handful of turds ruining my experience so I’m asking them to leave and not come back.

      • When you have only 200 people in your fan group, you have to ask at least one hard question…why ?
        Is that not being asked ?
        Portland has two hundred guys in theirs who have one brown eye and one blue.

        200 people, you might want to change directions.

      • The Bay Area has 2 NFL teams, 2 MLB teams, an NHL team, an NBA team, Cal and Stanford…an MLS team that left and came back with cheap ownership and playing at a small college “stadium” doesn’t garner much attention.

        Compare that to Portland where you have a couple college football teams and a crappy basketball team…of course the Timbers will draw nicely.

      • Sorry, but there are also Norcal/Bay Area/Whatever you want to call it sports fans who are DYING for a real team,a real stadium, a la Seattle or Portland, or KC for that matter. I’ve brought dozens of groups to the games over the years… one guy has stayed, and he’s almost literally in love with the sport. There is room for serious soccer fandom here, but no one wants to be an Ultra.

      • Yes, in a sense I agree…it’s cheap ownership compounded with a lack of exposure in a saturated market making it hard to grow a strong following. As far as “no one wants to be an ultra…” I think it’s a matter of ultras being selective on who they make a member. It’s a tight knit group who don’t hand out scarves easily. They don’t really care so much about numbers as much as people who adopt the ultra lifestyle.

      • It would be Gnarls, but this group isn’t half of what other cities have. I know I sound harsh, especially since I admit I can’t invent a better group, but: a) Ultras are small and thus easy to replace, b) disliked/joked about to the point where people I bring to Quakes games comment on it and mysteriously never return (sorry, it’s true), and c) there’s a sort of fan-dom here that will just fill seats because, hey, it’s something to do while you’re drunk on a Wednesday. With all the hype of a new stadium and SF/Eurosnobs willing to travel for a REAL stadium… the Ultras are expendable.

      • ever occurred to you that the reason they never return is because of the amateur venue where the games are held? the 3 teams you mentioned have really nice stadiums and KC has been having a hard time filling those stands even with a brand new stadium…

      • QuakerOats speaks the truth!

        I’ve been in CA for a year and I’ll be here for one more and I don’t live terribly far from the stadium (around 2 hours drive depending on traffic) and the atmosphere there is so weak and not very fun because these “ultras”. It’s kind of pathetic that these hardcore “ultras” try to alienate some folks that are not part of their group. Maybe it’s a few bad apples or a group mentality thing…

      • I am not an ultra myself, but I have to completely disagree with you about 1906 being ‘expendable’. Were at the game against Chivas USA? The atmosphere was miserable without them. And, to be frank, everyone I have spoken with enjoy the atmosphere the ultras create when they’re singing all game long. You’d be foolish to think they don’t have an actual effect on the team, and it also provides an ‘authentic’ fan experience for those who are sick of baseball games and other American sports where the spectator is there only for 50 cent hot dog night.

    • Cause Garber has an NFL mentality regarding EVERYTHING, including how fans should express themselves.

      Note to 1906 Ultras. Forget about remaining silent. Just defy the bans. Bring tifo and travel to away games. Giving up your season tix is just giving in to what they want – which is for the Ultras to go away.

      • Ummm, no there are not ten members in most team’s supporters groups…there are way more than 200 too, which you would think would cause the Ultras to think what are we doing wrong.

        Obviously that is beyond their capabilities.

      • I’m pretty sure he/she is referring to the other Quakes SGs. Support outside of the Ultras at Buck Shaw is atrocious…lots of soccer moms. In general, the majority of their fans need a jumbotron to tell them when to make noise. One thing for sure is not having the ultras will hurt the FO financially. I’m sure they noticed a hit in the amount of beer not purchased by the group for the last match.

      • Its not that simple man,
        how do you “discreetly” get into the stadium w 150lb tifo?

        don’t worry man, The 1906 aren’t going anywhere.we will keep doing our thing no matte how much effort the haters put into it (and they’re putting A WHOLE LOT as you can see from this comments).

      • How about putting a Tifo on your undershirt, then when the moments right you take off your Jersey to reveal. Now that would take some effort but you would go down in history. Works at football games with guys painting their chest.

      • …this is stupid. The Ultras need to grow up, if you would bring tifas that supported your club instead of tifas that could instigate more problems this wouldn’t be happening.

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