LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As part of a fresh strategy mapped out by Major League Soccer (MLS) for the Los Angeles market, struggling Chivas USA formally ceased operations on Monday and will be replaced by a new club later this week.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement that the new Los Angeles franchise and its ownership group would be announced on Thursday with the club set to begin play in 2017.
The decision on Chivas USA was made unanimously by the MLS board of governors, after a comprehensive review of the league's strategy for the Los Angeles market. Consequently, the league will feature 20 clubs in the 2015 season.
"As part of our new strategy for Southern California ... we believe that engaging with a new ownership group which has the resources and local community ties, and a plan for a dedicated soccer-specific stadium, provides us with the best chance for success," Garber said.
With the addition of Orlando City and New York City in 2015, MLS will have 20 clubs for the league's 20th season and will feature a new conference alignment, with the Houston Dynamo and 2013 MLS Cup Champions Sporting Kansas City moving to the West.
MLS will conduct a dispersal draft of the Chivas USA roster in the near future, and further details will be announced at a later date.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Frank Pingue)