Anyone who has followed recent labor disputes in professional sports will tell you that information about the negotiation process can go from good to bad to worse in the course of a few hours. Naturally, the negotiations between MLS and the MLS Players Union are no different. One has to be careful of the information coming out of these negotiations though, as much of it can be rhetoric or old news. However there were a few interesting tidbits about where things stand with the two parties.
The biggest bit of news came from Steven Goff of the Washington Post.
Owners' apparent lone proposal: player age 32 with 10 years' experience with same club can become free agent. #mls— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) March 3, 2015
For those of you keeping track at home, that means one player in all of MLS would be eligible for free agency - Brad Davis of the Houston Dynamo. He also wouldn't be able to exercise this option until 2016. But like I said above, things can change in a matter of hours and reports came out later refuting that initial information.
Source close to negotiations on the 10 year/32 year old MLS FA proposal: "old info. we've moved and improved it since then."— Jorge Arangure (@jorgearangure) March 3, 2015
If nothing else, it appears that the owners are at least budging from their initial stance of no free agency under any circumstances, but time is still running out to get a deal done. A vote for a strike could happen as soon as tonight or tomorrow seeing as a deal was not reached today.
It almost seems as though both sides are seeing who will blink first in regards to concessions. Both the owners and players stand to lose if the season does not start on time. In addition to bringing in two new franchises with big name players and the league's popularity is at an all-time high, it would seem that MLS can't afford a work stoppage. On the other side, the players may not have the funds to stay on strike for long. The MLSPU could receive financial support from the NFL Players Association, which has been rumored in recent weeks, but the MLSPU reportedly has yet to reach out to their NFL counterparts.
Despite all this negative news, the players seem optimistic that a deal can be reached and that they are willing to compromise on several issues. The rhetoric coming from the players seems to have been toned down as well which could mean that a deal may be on the horizon. With the season starting on Friday, time is running out to reach an agreement, but there is likely to be further negations between now and then in hopes of reaching a deal.