Shalrie Joseph

Saturday’s second big surprise: Shalrie Joseph’s contract bought out by Seattle

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No, the headline isn’t serious, but building on the theme established when Colorado confirmed Paolo Mastroeni as their permanent head coach, Seattle delivered a second piece of ‘we saw this coming’ news. Shortly before the team kicked off their 2014 season against Sporting Kansas City, the Sounders announced veteran midfielder Shalrie Joseph’s contract had been bought out, making the four-time Best XI midfielder a free agent.

Joseph was acquired in early 2013 from Chivas USA, with the Grenadian international’s second MLS club throwing in various sundries to send him and his Designated Player contract on the Sounders. Injured through much of the 2013 campaign and eventually renegotiating his contract so that he no longer a DP, Joseph was a non-factor for Seattle last year, his most memorable moment coming when he was a surprise starter at forward in the second leg of the team’s conference semifinal.

(MORE: Stoppage time goal gives Seattle 1-0 opening day win over Sporting Kansas City (video))

Joseph spent much of the preseason training with New England, raising the possibility a deal that would send him his original team, but given the place the 35-year-old is at in his career, a trade was always unlikely. Seattle was always destined to buy-out his deal.

Now, having be let go by the Sounders, Joseph is free to sign on the cheap with New England, or whichever team wants to see if one of MLS’s great has anything left in the tank.

A roster spot in New England for Shalrie Joseph? Far from a done deal

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There aren’t many figures around MLS who are reservists, at best, and probably heading toward a bunch of late-appearances and U.S. Open Cup starts, who can still command our attention.

Shalrie Joseph is one of them.

Joseph, as we all learned last week, is in the New England Revolution’s preseason camp.

This wonderfully thorough piece from The Bent Musket, a New England Revolution blog, does a great job of detailing all those pot holes and low-hanging branches along this road.

There are contract complications and perhaps some politics that brush up against the possibility of hard feelings.

Here’s just a slightly different take, or perhaps the very same take, just seen a little different way: It’s all about Joseph and what he’s willing to accept.

He has always been a fiercely proud man. But at this point, as a 35-year-old midfielder who spent a significant portion of his career playing on artificial turf, he has to realistically assess his ability to contribute.

And he has to be willing to accept a completely different role. Scott Caldwell is this team’s holding midfielder.  That’s not to say Joseph cannot come in and fight for a spot; that’s fine.

But he’s probably not going to unseat Caldwell, who performed so well last year as a rookie. And he has to show right now that he’s going to be a loyal soldier, a total professional and 100 percent supporter of all coaching decisions, no “ifs,” “ands” or “buts.”

Joseph is in that small group MLS men who served brilliantly over a bunch of years but never won an MLS Cup. Taylor Twellman and Jason Kreis are other fine examples.

So it would be great to see Joseph finish a remarkable career where it started – but he’ll have to make some personal concessions to get there.

Shalrie Joseph back with New England, this time on trial

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Some things just ought to be. Shalrie Joseph in a New England Revolution uniform is certainly one of them.

Word is that Joseph, 35, is on trial with the New England Revolution. That is the same Revolution where Joseph made his MLS bones so many years ago.

Joseph won his starting spot at Gillette Stadium in 2003 and didn’t lose it for almost 10 years, establishing himself as one of the league’s top men during much of that time, guiding the Revs into three MLS Cup finals.

In all honesty, Joseph just never looked right in subsequent stops at Chivas USA (where nobody ever really looks completely right, although that may changing with this week’s news) and Seattle.

He never made a significant contribution for Sigi Schmid at CenturyLink, so the Sounders had no interest in bringing him back. Now he’s on trial for Jay Heaps’ club. Heaps played for years behind Joseph, as a defender on a back line that Joseph was protecting in his preferred holding midfield role.

Sounders restructure Joseph’s contract to free up DP spot

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The Seattle Sounders have agreed to a new deal with defensive midfielder Shalrie Joseph to remove his Designated Player label, freeing up a spot.

With Obafemi Martins and Mauro Rosales already on the Designated Player books, the open spot gives the Sounders a chance to refill it before the window closes, although there’s not much time as August 8 is the final day.

Joseph has made the MLS Best XI four times previously, but has been limited to just four starts and three substitute appearances this season due to nagging injuries.

Joseph hasn’t played since July 7.  He’s missed 11 of the club’s matches this year.

With limited cap room this season, the move allows Seattle to at least add one piece that can be for as much as they want, a major change from their limiting position previously.

Bad result was a one-off for Seattle, or sign of larger trouble?

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There seem to be schools of thought on the Seattle Sounders latest collapse at the Home Depot Center, a “house of horrors,” as they say for the team from

On the one hand, this Southern California suffering has become pretty routine stuff for the Sounders. Sigi Schmid’s team is 0-5-1 at the Home Depot Center against the Galaxy since 2010, not on the wrong side of a pretty hideous minus 11 goal difference (13-2).

Besides, Bruce Arena’s team is good at home, now 4-1-1 in Carson and holders of a salty 12-2 goal advantage. So, it’s not just the Sounders who struggle there.

So, it’s a hiccup, right? Schmid seems to believe so, saying more or less that his team played like pooh and indicating a faith in the one-off-ness of Sunday’s 4-0 loss. Said the only MLS coach the Sounders have had:

When you beat San Jose 4-0, that’s not going to say you’re going to win every game 4-0. And when you lose here 4-0, it’s not going to say you’re going to lose every game 4-0. You have to evaluate a body of work. You can’t react to an individual game or an individual 10 minutes or a half or whatever. There’s got to be some accountability, and we’ll address that. The guys know they’re a better team than that, than what they showed in the first half.

So the previously high-flying Sounders, who had won three in a row and were unbeaten in six before traveling south for Sunday’s late match, will get right back into the clobbering business, right.

Well…

There is another school of thinking that says … well, our very own Richard Farley put summed it up nicely within those 140-character parameters:

source:

Osvaldo Alonso sat out with a groin strain – and he is clearly a central element in every Seattle arrangement. Brad Evans, Shalrie Joseph and Servando Carrasco all have their strengths, but none of them is Alonso.

But can that be it? Is the whole thing so rickety that one man’s absence – granted an important one, but still – can cause things to unravel so spectacularly?

And what of the discipline issues increasingly creeping into the Sounders’ effort? Eddie Johnson was lucky to escape a suspension two weeks ago, and Shalrie  Joseph was  correctly ejected late Sunday.

Either way, they’ll need to sort it out fast. Seattle plays Tampa Bay on Wednesday in Florida in U.S. Open Cup play, and then travel right back into Carson for a match against Chivas USA.