So after two days of meetings the MLS and MLSPU officially released this statement yesterday:
Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Union met in Washington, D.C. under the auspices of George H. Cohen, the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). MLS and the Players Union have agreed to continue collective bargaining agreement discussions with the FMCS.
Of course it was then time for the latest round of the PR comments, this time from Toronto's Nick Garcia who says players will strike on the 24th:
Major League Soccer's simmering labour dispute heated up Wednesday as Toronto FC defender Nick Garcia said he expects the players to strike if a new collective bargaining agreement is not negotiated before the start of the regular season - in two weeks.
It will be interesting to see if the mediator can make any progress in the next couple weeks, while this isn't a situation where the mediator can mandate a decision and new contract, one would hope that someone who is an expert is listening to both sides, looking at the facts, and trying to help both sides find middle ground would be given the time to do so.
I know the current CBA leaves a lot to be desired by the players and I still think they have some legit points and demands, at the same time the league is trying to protect the last few years of growth and success after 10 plus years of huge losses. It will mean some tough decisions on both sides to get to an agreement, meanwhile fans are left sitting with season tickets that may not be worth anything, making travel plans to matches that may not take place.
One thing is clear, a lockout or strike, will have victims and they will be the fans.
A little bright news
It appears (according to KIR) Alvaro Saborio has agreed to a loan deal with MLS and has joined RSL in Charleston. Many people have been waiting for RSL to add a striker to replace Yura Movsisyan and give Real Salt Lake some more offensive punch.
If you haven't been following the ongoing drama around Saborio, several teams were interested in him but RSL owned the discovery rights on him in MLS, so when he joined the league he was assigned to RSL. Saborio is a 27 year old striker who has an impressive resume including a lot of national team duty for Costa Rica. You can read more on his wikipedia page.
So the next couple weeks could get real exciting for RSL fans, last year we had to fasten our seat belts and enjoy the crazy ride the last two months of the season. It looks like the 2 weeks before the regular season could be just as crazy this year, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.
OFF MY SOAPBOX