SALT LAKE CITY -- Real Salt Lake players are preparing for a game against Portland on Saturday, but the season opener is in jeopardy because of a looming players strike.
Nick Rimando, Chris Schuler and Tony Beltran have been in Washington D.C. for days trying to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. The negotiation relies on the MLS owners and players coming to an agreement on free agency.
If players don't get what they want, they've threatened to strike before the start of the season.
"Guys are getting paid more and more each year, so that wasn't too much of our concern," said midfielder Kyle Beckerman. "Our concern is movement; you should have a choice where you get to play. We are all strong, we are all together and we have guys down in D.C. representing all of us that we feel are the right guys there representing us. They'll make the right call."
If an agreement is made RSL will be on their way to Portland come Saturday. They will be putting their new 4-3-3 formation to the test.
Instead of their traditional diamond with two forwards, they are now playing with three forwards. It will allow for more attacking, but it is still a work in progress.
"There is a lot of moving parts that we are trying to do and as we get more comfortable and better in the system, I think we are going to be a very, very dangerous team," said head coach Jeff Cassar.
In Portland, they will meet up with their old teammate Nat Borchers. Everyone is looking forward to seeing him, even if he is on the other side of the ball.
"We won't be able to recognize between him and Joey Timber... who has got the biggest beard?" Cassar joked.
"We hope that he forgets that he's playing for Portland for a little bit in the game so we can score some goals," Beckerman joked. "No, we wish the best for him and hopefully it's a good, hard fought game that we come out on top."
Thursday afternoon would be the latest that the MLS players union would be able to announce whether or not there would be a stoppage to the season.