Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Zero Hour Approaches

It’s getting late, now it’s time to go
It’s over the top now, it’s out of control
Just a matter of time ‘til the zero hour
The Plimsouls weren't singing about the MLS labor impasse when they penned their single in 1980.  It's just more fun to listen to them than it is to contemplate the possibility of a strike or lockout.  Ah, OK then.  I'll do my bit...

With the new collective bargaining agreement deadline looming tomorrow, the two sides did not meet yesterday, adding to the general sense that things are not going well at all. Steven Goff of the Washington Post reported last night that talks on Monday ended acrimoniously.  Meanwhile Nutmeg Radio did an excellent job of dissecting the MLS position on free agency.  If free agency truly is a major sticking point for players - rather than a hopeful negotiating tactic - with no apparent progress being made at the bargaining table (or away from it), fans face the very real possibility of a work stoppage when the clock strikes twelve tomorrow.

For Red Bulls fans, a strike or lockout extending into March or beyond would presumably mean no opening game against Santos at Red Bull Arena, in addition to the postponement of league games and a freeze on new signings.  Talk about a a buzzkill.  It's all a little hard to stomach after expectations have been raised so high for the new season.  On the other hand, it would be an oddly fitting turn of events for the franchise.

A few other tidbits:
  • As expected, the Kansas City Wizards won the Luis Gil lottery and promptly traded him to Real Salt Lake for a package that included a second round pick, an international slot and a cut of any future transfer fee.  Props to ThreeFourThree for breaking both this news and the fact that...
  • KC also cut ties with midfielder Claudio "El Piojo" Lopez after they couldn't agree on terms with the Argentinian.  Could the Red Bulls be interested in his services?  His profile fits the bill for the sort of game-changing midfielder that Hans Backe and Erik Solér have been seeking.  We are still trying to determine Lopez's status.  One would assume that the Wizards would not be due compensation, but is this a true waiver situation, meaning that the Red Bulls would have first bite at the apple, or can Lopez end up at any club?  More importantly, perhaps, does he have any interest in signing on with MLS with a work stoppage looming?
  • Season ticket holders interested in attending the Turkey-Czech Republic friendly at Red Bull Arena can obtain seats by calling the Red Bulls today.  Midfield and sideline seats are $30, while endline and corner flag tickets can be had for $25.  Tickets go on general sale on Friday.  The club will be selling tickets for the lower bowl only for this match.

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