Although negotiations are ongoing, the prospect of a strike by the players of MLS grows likelier with every passing hour. Reports on Wednesday stated that, unless deal for a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached by next Monday, the players will down tools four days before the scheduled start off the regular season.
There are myriad unresolved issues to reach a new deal. One of the most fundamental is free agency, which is as craved by the players but opposed by the league and its owners. AEG president Tim Leiweke said this week, "We will wait as long as it takes. We will never, ever agree to change the [single-entity] system."
Perhaps a new CBA will be agreed upon, and the brinkmanship that we have endured over the recent days, weeks and months will be seen merely as the effective use of legitimate negotiating techniques employed by opposing sides keen to get the best outcome for those they represent. This is the best-case scenario.
The alternative, more unthinkable outcome is that the most eagerly anticipated season in the league's history will not begin on time. In that instance, everyone suffers: administrators, coaches, players and fans. Furthermore, the global image of MLS would take a hit.
U.S. confirms Australia friendly
The U.S' pre-World Cup schedule is complete following the addition of a June 5 friendly against Australia, which will be played in Roodepoort, a suburb of Johannesburg. Following that, the U.S. will play the Czech Republic (May 25) and Turkey (May 29). The encounter with the Socceroos completes a trio of testing ties, which should have Bob Bradley's side well prepared for its tournament opener against England on June 12.
The difficulty level of this year's schedule is in welcome contrast to the final three games played prior to the 2006 World Cup. With due respect to Morocco, Venezuela and Latvia, contests against nations currently placed 25th, 41st and 23rd in FIFA's rankings will provide a more realistic reflection of the competition that is to follow for the U.S.
Good luck, recovering man
In case any of you have been hiding under a rock for the past few days, David Beckham suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon on Sunday, an injury that will keep him out of action for at least six months.
Of course, much of the immediate attention centered on the fact that he will miss the World Cup, but Los Angeles Galaxy fans are no doubt more concerned by the loss of one of their star men in 2010. Indeed, some may even be fretting that they have seen the last of Beckham in a Galaxy uniform. Approaching 35, could this be the end of an outstanding career?
Beckham has insisted that the most serious injury he has ever suffered will not cause him to prematurely hang up his boots, and barring any serious complications in his recovery, I expect this to be the case. After all, it was not too long ago that he stated his desire to play until the age of 40. The Galaxy should reap the benefits of his desire for such longevity, given that they, not England or AC Milan, will likely be his one and only priority.
A thing that made me go hmmm
According to a report on the club's Web site, Valencia is to play three games on a preseason tour of the U.S.' northeast this summer.
The six-time La Liga champions claims it will play games against Philadelphia, New England and DC United between July 31 and Aug. 8, although it should be noted that nothing has been confirmed by the prospective opponents. Indeed, New England has flatly denied the story. In previous years, Valencia has been linked with providing All-Star game opposition.