Strike possible for soccer league

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The Major League Soccer season is scheduled to start on March 25. (Joseph Kaczmarek/AP file photo)

The union for Major League Soccer players accused management of failing to bargain seriously but wouldn't say whether it would play under the terms of its expired labor contract.

A day after MLS president Mark Abbott went public with the league's offer to start the season next month without a new deal, the union issued a pair of statements that weren't directly responsive and left open the possibility of the league's first strike.

"It is unfortunate that MLS doesn't see the modest changes we have proposed as being good for the league, especially since until these changes are made, more and more quality players who should be playing in MLS will not be doing so," MLS Players Union executive director Bob Foose said yesterday in an e-mail to the Associated Press. "It will also be a shame if the league's refusal to improve its system results in a work stoppage."

While training camps - including that of the expansion Philadelphia Union - began on time and the season remains set to open March 25, the league's first collective-bargaining agreement expired Jan. 31. The sides have twice extended bargaining, and talks resume today in Washington. The current extension runs to Thursday. Abbott said the league made a full proposal after the last bargaining session on Wednesday, and MLS hopes to find out the union's response today.

Tennis

* Roger Federer withdrew from the Dubai Championships - which begin today - because of a lung infection.

* Unseeded Michael Llodra won his fourth career title, beating eighth-seeded Julien Benneteau, 6-3, 6-4, at the Open 13 in Marseille, France.

* Sam Querrey rallied in the second tiebreaker and took advantage of a faltering John Isner in the third set to win the Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis, Tenn., 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5), 6-3.

* Juan Carlos Ferrero defeated David Ferrer, 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, to win the Copa Telmex in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Philly File

* Villanova captured its first Big East women's indoor track and field title since 2000 in New York, and 12th overall. The Wildcats' Sheila Reid won twice yesterday, taking the mile in 4:51.33 and the 1,000 meters in 2:45.02. Notre Dame won the men's title, with Villanova taking fourth.

* Tom Lawrie earned most outstanding rookie honors to lead La Salle at the 2010 Atlantic 10 swimming championship in Buffalo, and Shannon Duval led the women's squad with gold medals in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Each squad was fifth in the team standings, with identical scores of 382.5.

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