Taylor Twellman: MLS 'missing window of opportunity' amid lockout talks

Taylor Twellman: MLS 'missing window of opportunity' amid lockout talks

Major League Soccer is on the verge of a lockout.

If the league and the MLS Players Association can't come to terms on a deal concerning economic concessions for the 2020 season before 12 p.m. ET on Tuesday, ESPN's Herculez Gomez reports a lockout will be initiated. 

Former New England Revolution star Taylor Twellman joined 98.5 The Sports Hub's Felger & Mazz on Monday to discuss the current situation in MLS and why he believes the league is missing a golden opportunity to return to action.

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"72 hours. Friday night, I got word that the players voted 'yes' and they were going to be the first league to kick off July 3. Literally, Sunday night at midnight my phone turns into 'the owners are thinking about locking out.'

"You are completely missing the window of opportunity. And I understand that it's not in the top three or four sports in this country, but it's on the precipice of being there with the younger generations. You are 100 percent missing the opportunity, and they can't get out of their own way.

"And by the way, in a global pandemic? If you're going to argue about future pay or play? You lose the paying customer. No one has time for that."

At a time in which fans are craving sports -- any sports, really -- now certainly would be the time for MLS to capitalize on the opportunity to gain new followers and grow the sport. Instead, as Twellman emphasizes, it looks like they may be heading in the opposite direction.

MLS play has been suspended since March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Awesome Gustavo Bou goal powers Revolution to win vs. Impact in MLS tourney opener

Awesome Gustavo Bou goal powers Revolution to win vs. Impact in MLS tourney opener

The New England Revolution returned to game action Thursday night with a statement win.

The Revs earned an exciting 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact in their first Group C game of the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando.

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A sensational goal by star forward Gustavo Bou and a spectacular performance from goalkeeper Matt Turner earned the Revs a crucial three points ahead of next week's group stage clash with D.C. United.

These teams were deadlocked 0-0 until Bou unleashed a rocket of a shot from just inside the 18-yard box to give New England the all-important first goal in the 56th minute. Bou showed impressive control to fake a shot with his right foot, bring the ball back to his left foot and power it past Impact goalkeeper Clément Diop.

Bou had eight shots total, with three on target. New England had 19 shots (four on target) overall, far outpacing Montreal's seven shots (two on target).

The Impact nearly evened the score and earned a point deep into stoppage time but Turner came up with one of the best saves of the tournament so far. He was barely able to get his left glove on a shot that appeared to change direction right as it was approaching the net.

Revolution midfielder Carles Gil also had a great game, including an assist on Bou's winning goal. 

How important was this win for the Revs?

It gives them an opportunity to clinch a spot in the knockout round of the tournament if they beat D.C. United next Thursday or Toronto F.C. on July 21. Group stage points also count toward the 2020 MLS regular season standings, so the Revs have picked up three points for that campaign as well. 

Bruce Arena: Revolution players have had 'real good approach' to MLS bubble

Bruce Arena: Revolution players have had 'real good approach' to MLS bubble

The New England Revolution begin MLS Is Back Tournament play Thursday night against the Montreal Impact, ending a four-month break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic forcing sports leagues around the world to delay, pause or cancel their respective seasons.

In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, the MLS has gathered all of its teams in a bubble in Orlando for a World Cup-style tournament. The stakes are high as a berth in next year's CONCACAF Champions League is on the line, and group stage games will count toward regular season points.

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The Revs' first group stage game against the Impact is a tough one. The Impact boast a talented team, and they have won each of the last three meetings versus the Revolution, including a 2-1 win at Montreal in February. 

In a video conference call with reporters Wednesday, Revolution head coach Bruce Arena spoke about how his team is adjusting to the conditions in Orlando ahead of Thursday's showdown.

“The food is actually very good. Before we went, I saw that somebody wrote an article about how bad everything was here and the food was terrible. Actually, the food’s been very good," Arena explained. "The fields are very good. A hotel is a hotel. When you get into professional sports and you’re traveling a lot and you’re staying in hotels, you’re sick of all that. We’ve been here now a week. It’s going to be challenging as the tournament continues to grow. But we have no complaints.

"Listen, there’s going to be issues along the way with everything, with testing for the virus every other day. We’re getting on buses and traveling to training and all of that, and it gets a little bit of wear and tear on you mentally but, for the most part, our guys have had a real good approach to the whole thing. And as I said at the beginning of this, this is what we’d rather be doing anyway instead of just sitting quarantined in a house or an apartment in Boston. I don’t know why anyone would be complaining about being here. This is what we do for a living and we’re going to get the opportunity to do it. I’m excited for this competition to start.” 

There will be plenty of mental challenges for the Revs. Playing in a bubble is a new experience for these players. However, Arena is confident his team will be able to handle the adversity that comes its way.

“These are the things you do every day with teams. Whether you’re in a bubble or not, or you’re going on a long road trip, it’s the same thing," Arena said. "If your team is a real team and they want to play and they want to be successful, they find ways to overcome any of these small, little issues in life. Maybe there’s a day where the meal isn’t good, the bus is late, we have a thunderstorm. Come on. Let’s get on with it.

"That’s generally our attitude. There’s nothing here that really is troubling to our team. We have no excuses. There are really no excuses from our end. We don’t find anything here to be that difficult that we can’t deal with it.”