We got our first in-person crack at the Sounders today since the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement, and took advantage by asking several about what's going on.
Here are a few of their comments:
Kasey Keller: "I know it’s still ongoing and they’re trying to figure out a solution for everybody. But I’ve been told by many people that we still have a long distance to make up. Hopefully we can get it done. But I don’t know right now. I’m quietly optimistic that it will get done. But at the same time, I’m that little bit nervous that we’re going to have some issues."
Taylor Graham: "The players are unified. We’re standing together from the last player on this roster to the last player on Dallas’ roster to the last player in New York. We’re fighting for the same things, and those things are the same rights that every other soccer player in the world has, and we feel that it’s time for America to embrace those rules."
James Riley: "Negotiations can still occur. It’s not like both sides aren’t going to talk anymore. But we feel from what they put on the board last week there’s some change and some room where we can negotiate and counterpropose and propose that way and kind of get back into the process. Right now, it’s just a bit of a sabbatical – a breather you can say – and then we’ll get back on the table."
Sigi Schmid: “It really hasn’t been a distraction at training at all. I think the guys have been good about being focused. And we haven’t really talked about it as a staff as we go into training. So it really hasn’t been an emphasis for us, hey what’s going on. Once in a while we’ll talk about it, ‘have you guys heard anything?’ As sort of the deadlines came and went we’d ask. Outside of that the guys have come out and they’ve performed, they’ve worked, and we’ve taken the approach like there’s going to be a tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow and continue to go about our work on a daily basis.”
(Everyone seemed to agree with Schmid that the issue isn't bleeding onto the pitch.)