BALTIMORE - JANUARY 13: Domene's out. Estupinan's gone. Fraser...(Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)
Update: Jose Domene tweeted tonight that he had not been fired. Here's the story.
Following yesterday's blockbuster announcement that Jorge Vergara and his wife Angelica Fuentes have taken over full ownership of Chivas USA comes the first reverberation from that move, likely the first of many. Multiple outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, are reporting today that General Manager Jose Domene, in the job since December 2010, has been fired. The club has not released any statement on the move, but even MLSsoccer.com has reported the move, although they are also using the LA Times report.
Domene is young, at only 32, and he seemed to learn the ropes as he went along. His first year as general manager left many wondering what his role was with the team, and he had virtually no public presence. On one hand, that left Robin Fraser as the public face of the club, and considering Chivas' struggles in 2011 and Fraser's reticent nature, Domene appeared to be a silent partner. But starting this past offseason, Domene emerged publicly to interact with fans and the press. He interacted with fans on twitter, interacted with people at games, and seemed to take on a more public role for the club. He still wasn't as accessible as other front office personnel around the league, but by emerging from the shadows and stepping up the club's acquisitions this season, Domene seemed to gain the favor of many Chivas fans.What does Domene's firing mean for Chivas USA? Hard to say. There are many questions coming from this new situation with the Vergaras, and Domene's dismissal is almost certainly just the beginning. Robin Fraser has not been fired yet, but speculation will run rampant for the remainder of the season, and regardless of the team's record, he could very well be out the door. That means that another rebuilding project would be in store, and another makeover of the roster would be imminent. While Chivas look unlikely to make the playoffs this season, there's no question there needs to be some changes in the offseason, but I think some people, including myself, were looking forward to some stability for this team, where the roster would not go through wholesale changes year after year. But I'd hazard a guess that is quite likely at this point.
And while the club may move in a direction that continues an MLS-first orientation, I think another shakeup (which appears likely) means no player on the roster is untouchable - a sobering fact considering continuity has not been a hallmark of this club so far.
It seems clear that Jose Domene was Antonio Cue's guy, and now that Cue is out of the picture, Domene is gone as well. We won't know if he had the ability to build a winner with Chivas USA, or if he would continue to learn along the way. It's just another day on the Chivas USA roller coaster.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!