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Chivas USA to suspend operations after MLS season, sources say

Chivas USA will suspend operations at the end of the MLS regular season, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation have told ESPNFC.com.

One source added that the league has agreed to sell the club to an undisclosed investment group for a fee in the neighborhood of $100 million, and that going on hiatus is a condition of the sale.

The club is expected to go dark for a minimum of two years until the new ownership group can plan and build a new stadium for the team. MLS has confirmed the land in Exposition Park where the L.A. Sports Arena sits as a potential site for the new venue.

The time period will also allow the club to be rebranded with a new name.

MLS purchased the troubled club -- which will miss the playoffs for the fifth straight season, and is last in the league in attendance -- in February, and officials have stated that they expected to sell the team by the end of the season.

Chivas USA has drawn the smallest crowd in Major League Soccer this season.

A report earlier this month from Sports Illustrated first raised the possibility that the club would shut down. MLS commissioner Don Garber told reporters at the unveiling of the league's new logo on Sept. 18 that no decision had been made.

In a statement released to ESPNFC.com on Monday, Garber said the future of the club is still to be determined.

"As I stated last week, we have met with multiple potential ownership groups during the last few months and expect to finalize a sale for Chivas USA by the end of the season," Garber said. "Once we have confirmed a new ownership group, we will discuss the future of the club with the MLS Board of Governors, including whether or not we are going to operate the team in 2015 and beyond.''

Chivas USA president Nelson Rodriguez told ESPNFC.com earlier this month that he was proceeding as if the club would still play in MLS next season. Now it appears that the new owners will shut the club down and start from scratch.

C.D. Guadalajara owner Jorge Vergara purchased the club as an expansion team in 2004 and christened it Chivas USA in a bid to appeal to the Mexican parent club's extensive fan base in the Los Angeles area.

That plan wasn't successful, even after Vergara and his wife Angelica Fuentes bought out co-owners Antonio and Lorenzo Cue in August of 2012. Not only did the club struggle on the field and at the gate for the majority of its existence, but also played in the shadow of city rivals Los Angeles Galaxy.

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.

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