Chivas USA fans cheer on their team during a match against the Seattle Sounders… (Ric Tapia / Getty Images )
Jorge Vergara and his wife, Angelica Fuentes, became sole owners of Major League Soccer's Chivas USA on Wednesday, buying out brothers Antonio and Lorenzo Cue, their co-owners since the club's founding eight years ago.
“We are very excited about the future of Chivas USA,” Vergara said in a news release issued on Chivas USA letterhead but written by the media relations staff of Chivas de Guadalajara, the Mexican league club Fuentes and Vergara also own.
Vergara and Fuentes had owned 50% of the team, sharing the team with the Cues. According to a league source, the Cues had an opportunity to assume sole ownership but declined, opening the door for Vergara and Fuentes to take over.
Vergara, founder of the nutritional supplement company Grupo Omnilife, and his wife, chief executive of the company, have owned Chivas of Guadalajara, a popular Mexican First Division soccer club, since 2002. They have been active owners in Mexico, having changed managers 16 times in 10 years while winning just one title.
That quick trigger probably isn't good news for Chivas USA Coach Robin Fraser, whose team is on pace to set an MLS record for offensive futility after scoring just 17 times in 24 games.
In 2004 Vergara and Fuentes joined the Cues in founding Chivas USA, which shared a name and a uniform design with his Mexican cousin but not much else. After reaching the MLS playoffs four times in its first four seasons, the team finished eighth in its nine-team conference in each of the last two years.
Antonio Cue, a Mexico City native, was the MLS team's president and co-owner before Wednesday. He formerly worked as an investment banker and entrepreneur in Mexico City. His brother, while a part owner of the team, did not have a formal position in the front office although he was actively involved in Chivas USA's day-to-day operations.
“It has been an exciting time for Major League Soccer and we are proud of the role that we played in the growth of the League,” Antonio Cue said. “We have enjoyed our time with Chivas USA, and we would like to thank our fellow MLS owners and the league office.”
Chivas USA, which played Wednesday in New England, began Wednesday 10 points out of the Western Conference's final playoff berth with 10 games to play. Only two of the league's 19 clubs have won fewer games than Chivas, which has seven victories.
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