[MLS] Days after returning from English club Everton, Landon Donovan will join Thursday's talks in Washington, D.C., where negotiators for Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Union will meet in attempt to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. He says players are unified in their effort to gain free agency and other rights.
"Nobody wants to go on strike if it can be avoided," Donovan said at a press conference Wednesday in Carson, Calif. "We've made it very clear from the beginning that we're not trying to bankrupt the league and ask for tons of monetary increases. But we need basic rights if we're going to continue playing. We want rights afforded other players in other countries that we don't have. We're very unified on the way we think."
If no agreement is reached, the players are expected to striker Monday, three days before the MLS opener between Seattle and Philadelphia.
Donovan says he might return to Everton if there's a strike, though it was not clear if the nature of the Los Angeles Galaxy's loan deal with Everton would allow a second loan deal when the European transfer window is closed.
"There's nothing concrete set up," Donovan said. "I think we've all been very clear about the possibility that I could go back if something happens. It's crossing that bridge when we get to it, right now."
Donovan called teammate David Beckham's Achilles' tendon injury that will keep him out of the 2010 World Cup and most of the MLS season "devastating" for the Galaxy.
"He's sacrificed, I think, more than anybody in the world to have a chance at playing in a World Cup," Donovan said. "When you do that and something like this happens, it's awful."