A four-time MLS Best XI midfielder and seven-time MLS All-Star showed up at Sounders FC training today at Starfire.
Shalrie Joseph, the 34-year-old midfielder who has terrorized Seattle with three goals and two assists in nine career games against the Rave Green, was brought in but head coach Sigi Schmid for Friday’s training session. But bringing the Grenadian international to Seattle on a permanent basis may not be as simple.
“He’s still property of Chivas and we have permission to look at him, so we’re looking at him a little bit,” said Schmid, who has spoken glowingly of Joseph in previous seasons when he played for the New England Revolution.
Joseph played 10 seasons with the Revolution, helping them reach the MLS Cup final in three straight seasons from 2005-2007, falling in the final each year. He filled several different needs for the Revs from the defensive midfield position, proving equally effective for the team in 2008 when he played a more defensive role and finished with just one goal and one assist as he was in 2009 when he had eight goals and eight assists. In both campaigns, he earned MLS Best XI recognition.
In total, he had 37 goals and 34 assists in 251 matches while never playing fewer than the 22 matches he played in 2010. Midway through the 2012 season, he was traded from New England to Chivas USA, where he posted two goals and one assist in 12 starts, several of which came as a center back.
With a new coaching staff came a new approach though and Joseph found himself on the outside of the plans for Jose Luis Sanchez Sola.
“It’s been a frustrating two weeks, now I’m just here enjoying getting back to playing again. I’m getting a great opportunity to come train with some good guys and a great organization,” Joseph said. “I think this is one of the greatest organizations in the league and I want to be a part of it.”
Schmid had plenty of praise for Joseph after he trained with the Sounders on Friday, noting his tremendous success with the Revolution.
“He’s always been a quality player. He was a main cog on their team that got to MLS Cups for a lot of years. He’s the kind of guy who talks a lot on the field and helps direct younger players. There are a lot of positive qualities to him,” Schmid said, noting that acquiring him would not be simple. “We are a team that’s cap-constrained and there are a lot of things to work out.”
If it sounds like the Sounders have a lot of interest in Joseph, the feeling is mutual.
When asked by his agent which team he’d like to play for if things didn’t work out with Chivas USA, the Sounders were the first club Joseph mentioned, in large part because of the respect he has for Schmid.
“He pushes people and motivates them to be better players,” he said. “I want to win a trophy. I want to get back to the championship and I think this team, if I can be a part of it, can make that jump.”
While the Sounders have actively pursued players to fill the voids left by the departures of Fredy Montero at forward and Jeff Parke at center back, they have been far from desperate to offer those roster spots to just anyone, opting instead to patiently find the right combinations of players that will give them the best chances of reaching their goals.
“The main urgency is to make the right decision. To make an impulsive decision that’s the wrong decision and then be locked in and you can’t get out of that and something better comes along at the end of the day, it doesn’t help you,” Schmid said. “We want to do well and we want to be prepared and we want to get off to a good start in the season and also do well in Champions League, but the main thing is to make sure the team’s right to make a run at MLS Cup.”