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Founded on August 2, 2004, as Major League Soccer's then-eleventh team, Los Angeles-based Club Deportivo Chivas USA has achieved some success in MLS. In 2007, the Mexican-owned club finished first in the Western Conference, qualifying for the playoffs for the second year in a row.
In 2005, Chivas USA kicked off its inaugural season in Major League Soccer at The Home Depot Center with a 2-0 loss to then MLS Cup Champions D.C. United on April 2, 2005, under the guidance of Chivas USA's first head coach Thomas Rongen. After a 1–8–1 start (their sole win coming against fellow expansion club Real Salt Lake), Thomas Rongen was named Chivas USA's sporting director and assistant coach Javier Ledesma became the club's interim head coach. On June 3, 2005, Hans Westerhof was named Chivas USA's second head coach. After a disappointing season, Westerhof did not return to coach the team in 2006.
On November 23, 2005, former MLS Coach of the Year Bob Bradley became Chivas USA's third head coach, replacing Hans Westerhof. Under Bradley, the 2006 season saw a major turnaround for Chivas USA. The team finished the 2006 season with a 10-9-13 record and earned a spot in the Western Conference playoffs. Bradley was named MLS Coach of the Year, becoming the first two-time winner of the award and Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein was named 2006 Gatorade Rookie of the Year. After the season ended, Coach Bradley was named interim head coach of the US men's national soccer team and head coach of the U.S. men's Olympic soccer team by the U.S. Soccer Federation, and was replaced by Chivas USA's fourth head coach, Predrag "Preki" Radosavljevic.
The team's third season, under Preki, was the most successful to date. Chivas USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan was named MLS's Goalkeeper of the Year for the 2007 season. On November 7, 2007, Preki was named MLS Coach of the Year for 2007 after the first-year manager led the Red-and-White to a 15-7-8 record and first place in Major League Soccer's Western Conference. In January 2008, Preki signed a multi-year contract with Chivas USA securing his position as head coach for the 2008 season. Chivas finished the 2007 MLS season atop of the Western Conference. However, they lost in the Conference Semifinals of the MLS Cup 2007 playoffs to the Kansas City Wizards, who were the conference's No. 4 seed under new MLS seeding rules despite being in the Eastern Conference.
In 2008 Chivas USA competed in their first official international tournament, playing Pachuca in the 2008 SuperLiga. Jonathan Bornstein and Sacha Kljestan were named to the MLS All-Star team. Goalie Brad Guzan became the first Goat to transfer to a European first division club. The Red-and-White clinched a playoff berth for the third consecutive season, losing to Real Salt Lake in the first round. Kljestan scored the U.S. Soccer Goal of the Year while playing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He was also named to the MLS Best XI, and was selected as U.S. Soccer's Young Male Athlete of the Year.
Jonathan Bornstein and Sacha Kljestan competed with the U.S. National Team in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa. Chivas USA goalkeeper Zach Thornton was named to the 2009 MLS All-Star Team. Chivas USA announced the Team Award Winners, naming Thornton the team's Most Valuable Player. Thornton was also named the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and MLS Comeback Player of the Year, and he was nominated to the MLS Best 11. Martín Vásquez was named the team's head coach after serving as an assistant coach from 2005-2007.
Kljestan and Bornstein were named co-captains for the 2010 season. During the World Cup break Kljestan signed a deal with Belgian club Anderlecht, leaving Chivas USA after parts of five seasons. Bornstein played in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, starting in two matches for the United States as they made it to the Round of 16. On October 27, the team released head coach Martín Vásquez from his contract. On November 2, president and CEO Shawn Hunter announced he was stepping down. On December 14 the club's vice president of soccer operations, Stephen Hamilton revealed he too, was leaving his post. Both he and Hunter will continue to serve in advisory roles for the club. After Hamilton stepped down, Jose L Domene was named Interim General Manager. On January 4, 2011, Robin Fraser became Head coach of Chivas USA.
On August 29, 2012, Vergara and his wife, Angélica Fuentes, became sole owners of the club, buying out former partners Antonio and Lorenzo Cué. In a discrimination lawsuit filed on May 29 by dismissed non-Latino youth coaches Dan Calichman and Ted Chronopoulos, shortly after the acquisition Vergara is alleged to have told his staff that those who did not speak Spanish would be fired, with Jose David, the team's new president and chief business officer, asking Chronopoulos for a list of youth players and coaches who were Mexican or Mexican American and of those that weren't. The lawsuit was the subject of the lead segment of the July 23, 2013 broadcast of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.