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LA Galaxy get into hot water over LA Galaxy II venue search

Club issues statement denying desire to evict other teams.

MLS: US Open Cup-LA Galaxy at California United Strikers Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Galaxy organization spoke up on Monday about a story that had broken open days earlier, concerning an alleged effort by the club to undercut local rivals and effectively evict them from their home venue starting next year.

On Friday, USL Championship defending champion Orange County SC announced the Galaxy had submitted a proposal for their reserve team to play at Championship Soccer Stadium at Orange County Great Park in Irvine starting in 2023. The issue at hand was that the Galaxy’s proposal to the City of Irvine, which owns the venue, was for exclusive use of the stadium, which would therefore evict Orange County SC from the stadium they’ve called home since 2017, as well as NISA side California Strikers United FC, who hosted the Galaxy first team at the venue earlier this year in a U.S. Open Cup match.

Needless to say, this generated plenty of bad press about the Galaxy. Among other things, fans of OCSC were upset at their club potentially losing their home, but fans from around the country rallied behind Orange County SC as the Galaxy did not look like they were doing anything but trying to bully other, smaller teams in the market to extend their own local footprint.

While the Galaxy were asked for comment over the weekend and remained silent, they released a statement on Monday addressing the allegations. The statement read, in full:

The LA Galaxy are a proud partner to the local soccer community and are committed to positively growing the sport of soccer in the Southern California region.

LA Galaxy are not interested in an exclusive arrangement for LA Galaxy II to play at the Orange County Great Park Championship Soccer Stadium and have advised all parties of our willingness to open conversations with the City of Irvine and other stakeholders on mutually-acceptable arrangements pertaining to the use of the stadium moving forward.

It appears, based on the statement, the Galaxy are walking back efforts to take over the venue outright, and so the efforts to rally support for OCSC appear to have worked. And while the Irvine City Council was scheduled to discuss the Galaxy’s proposal during their regular meeting on Tuesday, that effort has been tabled, as first reported by Kevin Baxter and confirmed by LAG Confidential.

Orange County SC said they would like to share the ground with other teams, provided their partners are doing so in good faith. That seems to open a path where OCSC and the Galaxy can potentially find a way to work together in the future, should the Galaxy want to use Championship Soccer Stadium as the future home of LA Galaxy II. As a result, the Galaxy’s statement sounds promising in finding a workable solution.

It is worth noting, however, that it could still be potentially contentious moving forward. First, it’s not clear if the City of Irvine will not consider the Galaxy’s original proposal for the venue at all, or if they are merely giving the matter some time to avoid a public relations nightmare in the moment, so that remains up in the air. Furthermore, should OCSC and Galaxy II come to an agreement to share the stadium in the future, they will be playing in different leagues from 2023 — OCSC will continue in the USL Championship and Galaxy II will move from that circuit to MLS Next Pro next year. The USL Championship is officially sanctioned as a Division II league by U.S. Soccer, and MLS Next Pro is a Division III league. In determining dates for the stadium, which team will get priority — the team higher in the pyramid, or the team will more financial support behind them? Will it be a true give-and-take or will it be a battle every year between the clubs?

That all remains to be seen, of course. This story is far from settled, but hopefully this can be resolved and everyone can be satisfied by whatever solution comes for 2023 and beyond. We’ll keep you posted.

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