Last week, the formation of Los Angeles Football Club was announced via a press conference on Sunset Boulevard. LAFC is meant to replace Chivas USA and create a formidable rivalry for the Los Angeles Galaxy. The team has some well known owners like king of LA Magic Johnson, Dodgers co-owner Peter Gruber, Mia Hamm Garciaparra, Tony Robbins and 17 other co-owners. The team is set to debut in 2017, at which point the Galaxy will have 21 years as a staple of Major League Soccer.
What does this mean for the Galaxy? Well, a lot still depends on the development of the team in the next two years. The stadium is a big factor. MLS franchises have found Downtown stadiums to be a major marketing strategy. The now-obsolete Chivas shared the Stub Hub Center with the LA Galaxy in Carson, CA. Fans in the northern part of Los Angeles sometimes find Carson to be a difficult city to get to in spite of the major freeways near by. Galaxy club president Chris Klein has expressed that the team loves their current location and the facilities they have. The smart but challenging move for LAFC is to build a stadium in Downtown LA. If it’s built in the Downtown area, it could be an expansion of soccer passion in Los Angeles.
Still, the general consensus is excitement about having a new and let’s face it, worthy rival for the LA Galaxy. A lot of fans might feel like Los Angeles already has the only team it will ever need, but even the Galaxy players have expressed enthusiasm about the new adversaries. Galaxy captain Robbie Keane reportedly said that the Galaxy needs a “fierce rivalry,” calling to example Seattle and Portland. LegenD Landon Donovan agreed, saying “I think it’s great. This city, when Chivas were good, it made this rivalry good and made it special for everyone.”
“I think it’s great. This city, when Chivas were good, it made this rivalry good and made it special for everyone.” Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy Legend
LAFC has its work cut out as it takes to the pitch in only two years. They still need to pick a name (“LAFC” is a working title), design kits and a logo, and find a stadium space. Meanwhile the Galaxy continue on to next weekend’s conference semi-final as the team works toward a fifth MLS Cup. This MLS expansion doesn’t change much in the immediate future for the Galaxy or its sterling history, but it could mean a future full of cross-town rivalry.