Seattle Sounders FC have begun game-week training for a week in which there may be no games.
While most of the Sounders prepared today at Starfire Sports Complex for their scheduled MLS opener Sunday against the New England Revolution, captain Brad Evans was in Washington, D.C., with other team union representatives for what was scheduled to be the first of three days of collective bargaining with the league. If no new agreement is reached, there could be a lockout or strike before the league season is scheduled to begin Friday, with the Chicago Fire visiting the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy.
The players have said they want some form of free agency, while the league has appeared to be against that.
Back in Tukwila, the Sounders have admitted that the topic unavoidably crosses their minds.
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Coach SIGI SCHMID:"I’m sure it’s on their minds. One thing that I’ll held back off as a coach is I don’t want to go in there and say, ‘All right, here we go, let’s go,’ and then all of a sudden it’s not let’s go for a while. I want to wait until that all gets resolved. I think everybody will feel better from both sides, and hopefully I will."
Defender ZACH SCOTT:"It’s in the back of everyone’s head, but the only thing that we can control at this point is how we prepare for Sunday. We have no control over what happens in the boardroom. We have great leadership in there, and hopefully something gets done. For both sides, the best possible outcome is the games go on."
Midfielder GONZALO PINEDA:It’s different, but what we have to do is just focus on training while we have some training sessions. That’s it. We can’t do anything else: just wait and try to prepare in case the next game is Sunday, and if we have to play we have to be ready.
Goalkeeper STEFAN FREI: We all are training hoping that everything is going to get figured out. Trust me: I know that no professional athlete wants to go through double-days in preseason and then get that dessert – that home opener – taken away from them. So we’re all hoping things are going to get worked out and we can play in front of our fans.