Here’s an excerpt from MLS commissioner Don Garber’s comments Monday:
Garber called Sounders FC, who led the league in attendance and became the first expansion team to advance to the MLS Cup Playoffs since the Chicago Fire in 1998, “arguably one of the best expansion launches in all of pro sports.”
He said the team had relevance and created a buzz in Seattle, providing the case study for other teams in the league to follow.
“When you take a step back, the credibility that we have, the awareness we have of the great success in Seattle on the field and off the field gives us something that we’ve never had before, which is a real indication as to what the sport can be in this country,” Garber said.
There was more from the commissioner. He was asked about the collective bargaining agreement that expires soon.
As for the league’s collective bargaining agreement, which expires on Jan. 31, Garber said the league and the players union have met about six times over the course of six months.
“I expect this will be a difficult agreement to finalize, but I am very confident that we will be able to reach a productive agreement with our players,” Garber said. “I know that both we and the union are committed to do that.”
Referring to a published report, Garber said any talk of a work stoppage “is totally premature.”
“We, the league, will not agree to a CBA that will negatively impact our ability to continue to grow this sport in the United States and Canada,” Garber said. “We’ve been very committed to doing that and quite successfully, I might add, for the last 14 years and we’re not going to compromise any of the key issues that we’re discussing confidentially within this agreement in order to avoid a stoppage.”