New England Revolution: Shalrie Joseph

Joseph thrilled to be back where he started

April, 24, 2014
Apr 24
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Shalrie Joseph didn’t know if he’d ever get the chance to return to the Revolution after his trade to Chivas USA two summers ago. But now that he’s back, he couldn’t be happier.

A day after the Revolution selected him in the Waiver Draft, Joseph spoke about his return to the club where he not only made his name as a player, but etched his name into the record books.

“I’ve been practicing with the guys for a couple of days now,” Joseph said. “It just feels good to actually wear the uniform again, and finally get out there and practice with the guys.”

The story of how Joseph found himself back in a Revolution uniform is one of persistence and humility, with an air of mystery for good measure.

Shalrie Joseph
Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesJoseph's stay with the Seattle Sounders didn't last long, and after they bought out his contract this winter he considered retirement. But now, he says, he's right where he belongs.

After spending nearly a full decade with the team that drafted him out of St. John’s in 2002, the record holder for most games played in a Revolution uniform (261) was abruptly traded to Chivas USA in August 2012. Days after the trade, Joseph told the Los Angeles media he had a “rocky relationship” with coach Jay Heaps, leading some to believe that he’d worn out his welcome in New England.

Joseph’s time with Chivas USA was brief. He was traded for the second time in less than seven months when he was jettisoned to the Seattle Sounders in February 2013. Like his tenure in Southern California, his stay in the Pacific Northwest didn’t last long.

Following a campaign marred by injuries and struggles with fitness, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid essentially wiped his hands of Joseph, telling the Seattle media in January 2014 that the Grenadian midfielder was “not in our plans for this season.”

Though he was still under contract with Seattle at the time of Schmid’s comments, the writing was on the wall. Soon, he’d have to find another place to play.

He was invited back to the Revolution for an extended trial that lasted for weeks, but even after the Sounders bought out his contract, league rules prevented New England from outright signing him. With road blocks threatening his hopes of returning, Joseph contemplated retirement.

“Some days, it was frustrating,” Joseph said. “I know where I wanted to be, I know where I wanted to play, and if that wasn’t possible, then I probably would’ve thought about hanging them up. But I always wanted to be here, this is my first (choice) once I decided to come back.”

Once the front office negotiated its way to getting Joseph -- via the Waiver Draft -- Joseph’s return was official on Tuesday. And nobody was more ecstatic about it than Joseph himself.

“My first inclination was to come here, and to have a conversation with Jay and the guys in charge,” Joseph said. “Once it was possible, then it was just trying to make sure that (we) dotted our I’s and crossed our T’s.”

Another person who was pleased about Joseph’s return was none other than Heaps, the coach Joseph admitted he clashed with during his final days in New England. But nearly two years removed from the trade to Chivas USA, whatever differences there may have been are history.

“I’ve always loved Shalrie as a teammate,” Heaps said. “I loved coaching him. I think he worked too hard -- that was probably the problem. I think he trained too hard and wanted to do too much.”

Joseph admits that he’s changed since the last time he stepped onto the pitch as a member of the Revolution. And with good reason.

“I’m a lot more mature,” Joseph said. “(I have) a lot of mileage on this body. I have to get in shape with our strength and conditioning coach. The guys have been great (and) the coaching staff has been awesome to me.”

In an ideal world, Joseph would step right back into the number six role, and lead the charge for the Revolution. However, the reality is that, at 35, Joseph’s best days are behind him.

Even so, Heaps believes Joseph’s leadership will be an asset to the young Revs squad.

“I think that’s the most important (thing) -- what he’s going to bring in training, his voice, mentoring some of the younger guys, and (showing them) what they need to do on the field,” Heaps said.

Whatever his role may be, whether he’s a season-long reserve or he goes on to make a number of important cameos, Joseph is excited about the opportunity before him.

“I’m happy to be back,” Joseph said. “I’m happy to be running again and just playing again. I look forward to just practicing and working out and trying to get on the squad.”

Revs won't underestimate Union in Philly

July, 28, 2012
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It was a lesson that could only be learned one way: the hard way.

In a July 18 contest against the Impact at Stade Saputo, a careless and lax Revolution XI were taken to task by the plucky expansion side, who used the 2-1 win to leapfrog the guests in the conference standings.

The lesson: Don't fall victim to underestimating an opponent whose point total is lower than yours -- especially on the road.

With a trip to PPL Park to face the Union on tap for Sunday, you can bet the Revolution won't be lacking in the respect department against their eighth-place hosts.

"I don't really see Philly as a being a team (near) the bottom of the standings," Revolution center back AJ Soares said after Wednesday's training. "We're definitely not taking them lightly. They've gotten some really good results."

Since taking over for Peter Nowak as head coach on June 16, interim Union head coach John Hackworth has turned the struggling club into a team on the rise. And the results don't lie.

By winning four of their past six -- including a 4-0 stunner over Sporting K.C. on June 23 -- the Union have turned the tide, something that hasn't gone unnoticed by Revolution head coach Jay Heaps.

"Philadelphia has shown that they've gotten some really good results," Heaps said after training Wednesday. "They were going for four in a row (prior to the 2-0 loss to New York on July 21).They're a tough team to play. We'll have our hands full."

Although credit is due to Hackworth for the team's resurgence, the Union wouldn't be mounting a midseason run without the help of their defense.

Thanks to the improved play of their backline -- anchored by Carlos Valdes and strengthened with the promising performances of Gabriel Farfan and Amobi Okugo -- the Union have conceded only four goals in their past six matches.

With that in mind, Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph believes the key to breaking Philadelphia's back four can be summed up in one word: movement.

"It's going to start with us," Joseph said after training Wednesday. "If we move the ball, we'll create chances (by) getting it to Lee [Nguyen], Benny [Feilhaber] and Saer [Sene] and these guys who are offensive threats. We have to get them touches in dangerous situations. If we can do that, then it's going to lead to a goal."

But the attack won't be the only area where the Revolution will have to be sharp. While the Union aren't exactly lighting up the scoreboard this season (20 goals in 18 games), Joseph knows that he and his teammates have to stay defensively sound for 90 minutes.

"Defensively, we just have to be like we were in K.C.," Joseph said. "(By) digging in deep, working hard together, (keeping) our shape and staying together."

In other words, the Revolution have to adopt the exact opposite attitude they brought with them to Montreal last week. Three points is never guaranteed -- something Soares and the rest of the Revolution are now very well aware of.

"You can't take any team lightly," Soares said. "Everyone has to defend, everyone has to attack and that's just soccer. You can't play with a few guys defending and a few guys attacking. It just doesn't work."

Minutes mark long time coming for Joseph

March, 26, 2012
3/26/12
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Shalrie Joseph
Gail Oskin/Getty ImagesShalrie Joseph became the all-time leader in minutes played by the Revolution on Saturday, passing his current coach, Jay Heaps.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It may be hard to fathom now, but there was a point early in Shalrie Joseph’s career when serious doubts existed whether the Grenadian international would ever play a single minute in a Revolution uniform.

Following a stellar collegiate career at St. John’s, where he scored 21 goals for the Red Storm from 2000-01, the allure of European soccer swayed Joseph to bypass MLS altogether after New England selected him in the second round of the 2002 draft.

But he never got a serious shot overseas. After months of failing to find a European side to sign with, Joseph made his Revolution debut on Apr. 19, 2003.

Nine years after that first MLS match, the skipper became the franchise record-holder in minutes played when the 54th minute of Saturday’s 1-0 win over Portland arrived.

Not that he was counting.

“I read it the other day on Twitter, somebody sent that message to me on Twitter and I was kind of surprised,” Joseph said. “But it feels good to have that kind of longevity with this team.”

Of course, few could have predicted exactly how the script would unfold for the record-breaking achievement.

Injuries along the back line forced head coach Jay Heaps to direct the skipper from his normal central midfield spot to central defense, alongside center back A.J. Soares.

It could have been ugly. Instead, Joseph played remarkably well in his new position. The midfielder-turned-defender frustrated Portland striker Kris Boyd from the start to finish.

“He played unbelievably,” Heaps said. “He and A.J. had a good partnership and to be honest, we were hoping to have [newly signed defender] Flo Lechner start there, so Shalrie was playing a lot of midfield leading into the week.”

Even without the opportunity to focus on the new position in practice leading up the match, there was Joseph, ever the team-first player, willing to fill in wherever needed. And perform particularly well, mind you.

“Shalrie had to be reactive and be the captain that he is,” Heaps said. “And I’ll tell you right now: He was spot-on all night. I don’t think he took a bad spot and he was able to lead us from there.”

Although Joseph has never been one to take full credit for a win, the film doesn’t lie. With the Revolution required to hold onto a one-goal lead for nearly 90 minutes, Joseph did more than cancel out Boyd.

In stoppage time of the first half, the skipper cleared a dangerous Darlington Nagbe header that nearly leveled the game at one apiece.

Even after breaking the Revolution's minutes record -- which, incidentally, was previously held by Heaps -- Joseph wasn’t interested in dwelling on the moment. The past is done. Instead, Joseph focused on the future.

“I look forward to playing many more minutes,” Joseph said. “And hopefully, setting standards for the Revolution minutes [mark].”

Who would have thought it 10 years ago?

Keys to the game: Revs at Earthquakes

March, 9, 2012
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The Jay Heaps Era officially begins on Saturday when the Revolution step onto the field at Buck Shaw Stadium against the Earthquakes for the season opener.

Heaps, who was appointed head coach in November shortly after Steve Nicol parted ways with the organization, will be making his MLS coaching debut against a squad that beat the Revolution twice last year.

Even so, the Revolution will enter the game riding the momentum of a positive preseason under their new coach. The team went 6-0-1, and racked up wins against Real Salt Lake, Los Angeles and New York. Although Heaps admits that he doesn’t put too much weight into preseason results, there’s no denying that the victories served to bolster the squad’s confidence -- especially after last year’s dismal finish. And with 11 new faces on the squad this year, the re-tooled Revolution is anxious to put the 2011 season behind them.

Much like their adversary, the Earthquakes fell on hard times last year. Amid a season brimming with promise following a playoff in 2010, the Quakes stumbled right out of the gate and never fully recovered. Although striker Chris Wondolowski put together another All-Star caliber season (16 goals, 3 assists), the rest of the team was plagued by inconsistency. And after a 3-1-4 preseason record, it appears that the ‘Quakes may still have some kinks -- especially in the rear -- that may need untangling before they can return to their 2010 form.

Saturday marks the dawn of a new day, for both teams. With the records reset at 0-0-0, San Jose and New England are looking at the opener as the first opportunity to distance themselves from last season. So what will the Revolution have to do come out on top?

1. Set the tempo. With a successful preseason under their belts, there’s no excuse to come out tentative. The midfield needs to set the tone right after the opening whistle. Shalrie Joseph and Clyde Simms will need to assert themselves in the middle of the park and set up the outside wingers and forwards with accurate passes.

2. Close the gaps. If there’s one thing the Revolution has to continue to work on is shutting down passing lanes in front of its own net. But the onus shouldn’t fall on the defense alone. The midfielders will have to do their part to help out the back four when tracking back. After all, the best way to limit your opponent is to limit their options.

3. Play to the whistle. Last year, the Revolution was often guilty of easing up not only from the run of play, but in the waning minutes as well -- and their record (5-16-13, 28 points) reflected that. To avoid the same pitfalls, each of the 11 has to put forth their best from start to finish. Under Heaps, who preaches hard work and tenacity, anything less than full effort is unacceptable.

With a new coach introducing a fresh philosophy, Saturday’s opener will be the first of many tests. A test to find out where the team is after last season’s struggles. A test for the newcomers. A test for the rebuilt striking corps. A test for the Joseph-Simms central midfield.

Although the season may not be decided during the first week of the season, you can bet the Revolution are inclined to kick off the Jay Heaps Era on a positive note.

Brian O'Connell is covering the Revolution for ESPNBoston.com. He is the co-founder of New England Soccer Today (www.nesoccertoday.com), which covers professional soccer within New England. He can be reached at BOConnell21@aol.com.

Revs enter 2012 with lots of new faces

March, 5, 2012
3/05/12
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The 2012 season couldn’t come soon enough for the Revolution.

After a dismal 2011 that saw them finish with a franchise-low five wins and a spot at the bottom of the Eastern Conference table, everyone from the players, management and fans was anxious to put the season behind them and look toward the future.

But before the organization could set its sights on the following season, it realized changes would have to be made.

The first -- and most dramatic -- was the decision to part ways with long-time manager Steve Nicol. Although the affable coach led the team to eight consecutive playoff appearances from 2002-2009, back-to-back losing seasons spelled the end of the Nicol Era in Foxboro less than three days after the season finale.

Following Nicol’s exit, the Revolution restructured its front office by tapping former COO Brian Bilello to succeed Sunil Gulati as President and naming former VP of Player Personnel Michael Burns to the general manager’s post. Though neither is a stranger to the organization, the appointments were designed to give the front office greater transparency.

The first order of business for the duo? Finding a new head coach. After weeks of interviews, the team went with another familiar face, former Revolution defender Jay Heaps. And while Heaps may not have been the most experienced candidate, his work ethic and modern approach to game preparation were enough for the organization to hand him the head coaching reins.

With only eight weeks to revamp the roster prior to the start of the preseason, Heaps hit the ground running. Veterans Pat Phelan, Ryan Cochrane and Kheli Dube had their options declined, while international signings Rajko Lekic, Milton Caraglio and Monsef Zerka were allowed to take their services elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Heaps and the front office made sure they locked up perennial All-Star Shalrie Joseph and the reliable Matt Reis for the 2012 season. With two proven veterans on board, the team began to build around them.

It started with the addition of midfielder Clyde Simms in Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Process. From there, the team added center back John Lozano and midfielder/forward Fernando Cardenas, both from Colombia. Then came the SuperDraft, which opened the door for the team to select the technically-sound Kelyn Rowe with the third overall pick.

But the moves didn’t end on draft day. To sharpen the attack up top, the team recruited another Colombian -- Jose Moreno -- and former Bayern Munich reserve striker Saer Sene. Although doubts were cast about Moreno after reports in Colombia surfaced that he wanted to remain in his native country, the Revolution insist that he will join the team shortly.

The moves worked wonders in the preseason as witnessed by the Revolution winning six of seven contests. And while the squad still has room to improve -- particularly on defense, where rookie Tyler Polak hasn’t taken over the left back spot as quickly as anticipated -- the team has claimed something it was desperate to find last year, confidence.

It may be too early to tell how the changes made in the winter will impact the Revolution in the spring and summer. But the returns thus far have been promising.

During the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, a four-team preseason tournament, Rowe has shown the skills to be a game-changer. Lozano became a strong and steadying presence in the back. Simms has proven a capable partner alongside Joseph in the center. Sene has shown flashes of potential by getting into good positions. That, along with solid performances from Joseph, Reis and 17-year-old Homegrown sensation Diego Fagundez have brought a renewed sense of optimism to Foxboro in the aftermath of last season’s failures.

It’s taken a particularly active offseason to rebuild the Revolution -- so much so that Burns often quipped that there was no offseason for him and Heaps. But the parts that the pair has assembled -- including recently-signed midfielder/forward Lee Nguyen -- during the winter has put the squad in a position to extend their season come autumn.

The 2012 season is right around the corner. And for everyone involved, it’s about time.

Brian O'Connell is covering the Revolution for ESPNBoston.com. He is the co-founder of New England Soccer Today (www.nesoccertoday.com), which covers professional soccer within New England. He can be reached at BOConnell21@aol.com.

Re-signing Joseph makes prefect sense

December, 5, 2011
12/05/11
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There are very few scenarios in soccer that can be genuinely classified as “win/win.”

However, the Revolution and Shalrie Joseph were able to pull it off this weekend as the team and its captain agreed to a deal that not only keeps the eight-time All Star in Foxboro, but deservedly grants the Grenadian center half Designated Player status.

By re-signing Joseph, the club essentially acknowledged two key points. One is that Revolution could not realistically target the postseason in 2012 without their skipper in tow. Two is that it absolutely needed Joseph on board to help first-year manager (and former teammate) Jay Heaps re-instill a winning attitude in New England.

Joseph’s unquenchable thirst for success has been constant since he made his Revolution debut in 2003. Whether it’s guiding his teammates or taking the initiative on his own, Joseph has never made his desire to win a secret.

As a pure performer, he has been the stalwart of a midfield that’s remained in flux for the past two seasons. His ability to spring the attack, settle the game down, or dish out a hard challenge single-handedly makes the Revolution better in middle of the park. When called upon to push into the attacking third, he becomes a ballwinner inside the 18, and gives the team a formidable target on set pieces.

As a leader, Joseph is all business on the pitch, constantly offering guidance and instructions to teammates -- many of whom have gotten younger and less experienced in recent years. But his easy-going personality off the field has endeared him to coaches and players alike.

With the Revolution seeking a return to the postseason after a two-year absence, Joseph’s importance to the club that drafted him over nine years ago has never been greater than it is. Perhaps the greatest testament to Joseph’s impact on the team occurred over the summer.

On July 17, an offensively-challenged Philadelphia squad marched into Foxboro and easily dismantled, piece by piece, the Revolution, who was without Joseph due to a one-game suspension. The final score was 3-0 and New England’s effort -- or lack thereof -- that evening seemed to be attributable to the absence of their field general.

When Joseph returned three days later against D.C., few could mistake the dramatic turn from the Philadelphia game in terms of the team’s effort. With their gritty midfielder back, the Revolution secured their first -- and only -- road win of the season, a 1-0 shutout.

During his nine seasons in New England, Joseph has always been the complete package. He is a proven performer who has always welcomed the leadership responsibilities. On the pitch, he’s shouldered the load when necessary and points the finger at himself when the team falls short. Off the pitch, he has become a presence in the community, often lending his services to local charitable efforts.

For a team that’s rebuilding after two losing seasons, it’s clear that, by and large, the Revolution couldn’t afford to let their captain go. For Joseph, who has a become an active member of the New England soccer community, the deal allows him to remain in a place he’s called home for the past nine years.

Rare, indeed, is the situation that makes perfect sense for both sides.

Brian O'Connell is covering the Revolution for ESPNBoston.com. He is the co-founder of New England Soccer Today (www.nesoccertoday.com), which covers professional soccer within New England. He can be reached at BOConnell21@aol.com.

Joseph re-signs with Revolution

December, 5, 2011
12/05/11
10:22
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The Revolution announced that captain Shalrie Joseph has re-signed with Major League Soccer and will remain in New England. He will occupy one of the team’s designated player roster spots.

“Shalrie has spent his entire MLS career here in New England and we are thrilled he’s agreed to return as a Designated Player for us,” General Manager Michael Burns said. “Getting him re-signed was a top priority for us this off-season. We expect that Shalrie will continue to lead this team on the field, but also off the field and in the community, as well, as we move ahead into 2012.”

Joseph, 33, will enter his 10th season with the Revolution. He is fifth on the Revs’ career goal scored list (36) and third in assists (31).

“I’m very excited to stay in New England,” Joseph said. “I’ve made this my home and I can’t imagine playing for another team besides the Revolution. I’m looking forward to getting back out on the field next year and going after an MLS Cup championship for our fans and for this city.”

Changes likely for Revs this offseason

October, 17, 2011
10/17/11
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It was difficult to escape the air of uncertainty swirling around Gillette Stadium following the Revolution’s 3-0 loss to Columbus in its home finale.

With the team anchored to the bottom of the standings and changes sure to unfold in the offseason, the most pressing issue remains which players -- and coaches -- had applauded the home crowd for the final time in Revolution blue.

Of particular concern is the status of longtime manager Steve Nicol, who’s contract is set to expire in the winter. Although the Revolution brass has been mum on the manger’s future, Nicol briefly touched upon his desire to remain with the Revolution beyond 2011.

“I certainly hope so,” said Nicol, who will wrap up his 10th season guiding New England on Saturday. “I have no idea (if I’ll be here next year).”

While Nicol may indeed be unsure about his future in Foxboro, another important piece of the Revolution puzzle was surprisingly optimistic about his own return.

Team captain Shalrie Joseph, one of the team’s longest-tenured players, had previously expressed doubts about re-signing with the club at various points this season. But on Saturday night, the skipper, who has spent the entirety of his nine-year career in New England, channeled his longtime manager when the topic of his future was raised.

“I hope so,” Joseph said. “I love being here. I love the fans (and) I love playing here.”

Despite the fact that he had told The Boston Globe last week that he “(doesn’t) want to be back if Stevie (Nicol) isn’t coming back” the skipper’s position may have been softened by the 16,285 fans that turned out for the last-place team’s home finale.

“The fans came out in so many numbers tonight and (even though) it was little bit cold, they still came out to cheer and show their appreciation,” Joseph said. “That's what makes it fun playing here. Even though we don't have our own (soccer specific) stadium, they still come out all the way to Foxboro and support us and I think that's why I love playing here.”

Whether Saturday’s fan support sways the skipper to stay will likely remain a question well into the winter. But, Joseph isn’t the only player who may have already played in front of the Foxboro faithful for the final time.

Fourth-year midfielder/defender Chris Tierney is another player whose status for 2012 is uncertain. After signing with the club in 2008, the Wellesley, Mass. native remained one the club’s most reliable players this year, picking up two goals and four assists in 26 games this season.

Of course, whether that translates into another contract remains to be seen. But, if the decision was up to the versatile veteran alone, he would certainly welcome any opportunity to continue playing in his backyard.

“I’m a hometown kid and this is the club that I want to be at,” Tierney said. “I can’t see myself wearing any other jersey. As long as I can be a part of this club and help this club, I’ll be here.”

Who else will remain in a Revolution uniform is a question only the front office can answer. In the interim, Joseph expects the impending offseason to be an eventful one.

“It's going to be an interesting offseason,” Joseph said. “We'll see what happens."

Brian O'Connell is covering the Revolution for ESPNBoston.com. He is the co-founder of New England Soccer Today (www.nesoccertoday.com), which covers professional soccer within New England. He can be reached at BOConnell21@aol.com.

Joseph starting to show frustrations

October, 11, 2011
10/11/11
11:33
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As one of the longest-tenured players on the Revolution roster, captain Shalrie Joseph knows a thing or two about the peaks and the valleys seen in New England during his nine seasons here.

And after the last place Revs dropped their fourth straight loss to a beatable-San Jose squad on Saturday, the nine-year veteran who’s never shy to mince his words, aired out his frustrations.

“We’ve got a lot of immaturity (on this team)” Joseph said. “We give up soft goals (and) we’re not able to convert our chances. We can’t play in this league and (expect to win) with so many mistakes and blunders.”

While Joseph had previously hinted at the team’s lack of maturity and form during the summer, the skipper, who had been part of three of the team’s four Eastern Conference championships, broadened his perspective to the team’s standing in relation to the rest of the region’s sporting landscape.

“Right now,” Joseph said. “We’re not one of those teams that people want to talk about or that people want to watch.”

By “one of those teams that people want to talk about,” Joseph is referencing the region’s other major sports teams: the Red Sox, Bruins, Patriots, and Celtics, all of whom have heightened the bar for success in New England by winning a combined seven championships in the past 10 years.

Despite reaching the MLS Cup final four times between 2002 and 2007, the Revolution have slipped under the radar thanks to back-to-back losing seasons. And for that reason, Joseph, who played in front of a scant 9,111 fans during Saturday’s penultimate home game, couldn’t help but notice that the team’s faltering form has hurt fan support this season.

“The fans don’t come out and support (us) which is our fault because we don’t produce enough or we don’t put enough players out there that are exciting or good enough for them to come out and support,” said Joseph. “That’s our fault for not winning games to have support. You could hear a pin drop tonight and it’s frustrating playing in front of a dead stadium.”

Although the team’s average attendance has increased by 10% this season compared to 2010, Saturday’s four-figure attendance statistic was unusually low taking into account how well the team typically draws during its autumn-month matches.

Yet, regardless of how many fans were at Gillette Stadium Saturday night, for Joseph to openly criticize the lack of atmosphere at the stadium is surprising. As a long-time fan favorite, Joseph has often gone out of his way to praise the fanbase for its support and regularly applauds the home crowd after every match.

But after two straight losing seasons and Saturday’s sparse crowd, it appears as if the team’s slide is starting to strike a nerve with the team’s leading scorer. In the past, Joseph would simply take each game one at a time, win, lose, or draw. It was an attitude that helped the team’s leader stay level-headed even after the most frightful defeats.

Now, it’s clear that Joseph’s patience and tolerance towards the poor performances has worn thin. With the team anchored to the basement and little hope of a revival in the near future, Joseph, who’s contract expires in the offseason, indicated that unless changes are made to bring the Revs back into Boston’s sports conversation, he may be taking his talents elsewhere.

“This is a championship town,” Joseph said. “This franchise deserves better. If we can’t be one of those sports teams (that) people talk about, (then) there’s no point for me to be here.”

Brian O'Connell is covering the Revolution for ESPNBoston.com. He is the co-founder of New England Soccer Today (www.nesoccertoday.com), which covers professional soccer within New England. He can be reached at BOConnell21@aol.com.


New England Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph talks about the MLS All-Star Game and the Revolution's 2nd half of the season.

Joseph added to MLS All-Star team

July, 18, 2011
7/18/11
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph was named to the MLS All-Star team for the eighth consecutive season, coach Hans Backe announced Monday.

Joseph was selected by Backe for the 22-man squad that will face Manchester United on July 27 at Red Bull Arena (8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2).

Joseph, the Revs’ captain, leads the club in goals (five) and shots on goal (16) in 17 appearances this year.

Revs will have Joseph for FC Dallas match

June, 1, 2011
6/01/11
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After falling in frustrating fashion to the Galaxy last weekend, the Revolution (3-5-4, 13 pts.) travel south this week to Frisco, Texas to face FC Dallas (6-3-4, 22 pts.) at Pizza Hut Park on Saturday night.

The game will start at 8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised live on Comcast SportsNet New England. The game will also be broadcast on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Saturday’s match will give the Revs back-to-back ballgames against the two best clubs in MLS, as Dallas currently sports the second-best record behind Los Angeles.

Although it’ll be a tough test for the offensively-challenged Revs, they received some much-needed good news on Tuesday when club captain and leading scorer Shalrie Joseph, who initially accepted the invitation to play for the Grenadian National Team during the month-long CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament, announced his intentions to stay with the Revs instead.

Yet, the news isn’t all good for New England. On Saturday, midfielder Benny Feilhaber, who also received a call for Gold Cup action and was expected to play for the United States on Saturday against Spain at Gillette Stadium, sprained his right ankle when he landed awkwardly on it near the end of the L.A. match. On Tuesday, the Revs injury report listed Feilhaber as “out” for Saturday night’s match. Additionally, center back Ryan Cochrane, who suffered a concussion during the first half of the L.A. match, is also listed as “out” on the injury report.

Despite the injuries to key players, the Revs can look back to their last match against Dallas for inspiration. In the final game of a tiring, three-game road set, the Revs took a 2-1 lead at Dallas into stoppage time and came within seconds of upsetting the hosts before Jeff Cunningham scored the equalizer in the 93rd minute. Although it was one of many heartbreaks the Revs suffered last season, it also signaled that the Revs could match wits against the best, as Dallas would go on to play in the MLS Cup final months later.

Here are some other notable facts as the Revs embark on their second and final regular season trip to the state of Texas in 2011:

-- Despite their differences in the MLS standings, the Revs have enjoyed considerable success against their original MLS counterpart over the years. New England boasts a 22-10-3 record against the Dallas franchise (formerly the Dallas Burn), and an astonishing 11-5-2 road record against the club.

-- However, the Revs have run into a recent dry spell against Dallas. Their last win against the Hoops came on April 9, 2009 at Gillette Stadium when the Revs took a 2-1 victory.

-- Shalrie Joseph leads all active players on the Revs roster with three goals against Dallas in his career.

-- Matt Reis has a sterling 9-3-1 record against the Hoops as a member of the Revs, and has blanked them five times in those 13 games.

-- The trip to Pizza Hut Park pitch must bring mixed emotions for Revolution manager Steve Nicol. As the host site for the 2005 and 2006 MLS Cup finals, the Revs fell short of the league title against the L.A. Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo, respectively. However, a year later, the Revs secured a serious piece of hardware at The Hut after they beat Dallas 3-2 in the U.S. Open Cup Championship and brought the Open Cup Trophy back to New England for the first time in 60 years.

The Revolution’s May 31st Injury Report lists the following players’ availability for the Dallas match:
QUESTIONABLE: Ousmane Dabo (R adductor strain)
OUT: Ryan Cochrane (concussion), Benny Feilhaber (R ankle sprain), Marko Perovic (L knee sprain)

Brian O'Connell is covering the Revolution for ESPNBoston.com. He is the co-founder of New England Soccer Today (www.nesoccertoday.com), which covers professional soccer within New England. He can be reached at BOConnell21@aol.com.

Revs better, but still can't find the net

May, 30, 2011
5/30/11
12:41
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- On Saturday night, the Revs unquestionably positioned themselves to take three points against an MLS powerhouse.

The defenders stepped up, the midfield played organized soccer, and the attack-minded substitutes added bite to the offense in the later stages of the match.

But, as it has been for much of the season, the Revs ongoing problems in the final third allowed this week’s opponent -- the formidable Los Angeles Galaxy -- to grab three points.

“I don’t think the reasons behind us not winning tonight are any different than they were the last few games, certainly the last home games,” said Revolution manager Steve Nicol. “When it gets to that critical point, we’re just not getting it done.”

And in a game in which inches proved to be the difference, it was obvious that when those critical points arrived, the Revs simply weren’t up to snuff Saturday night.

“We just couldn’t finish our chances,” said Revolution skipper Shalrie Joseph. “We created some chances here and there. We got a lot of players digging in and working hard.”

There’s no questioning that the want, nor the desire, aren't the problem behind the Revs lagging attack this season. The intent is often present. In fact, it was apparent shortly after the opening whistle that the team craved an early goal.

In the 2nd minute, Zak Boggs barely missed a Benny Feilhaber cross that skipped off target. And while the early opportunity was an encouraging development for the home club, it still did nothing to change the score.

“We had a good chance through (Zak) Boggs to start the game,” said Revolution midfielder Chris Tierney. “I think that if we had just snuck that early goal it would have been a different game.”

Boggs followed up seven minutes later when he sent a pass into the area to Rajko Lekic, who flailed his right foot at it before another bid for the opening goal waved goodbye.

The failure to execute twice in the first ten minutes not only cost the Revs a goal, but also signaled that the larger problem -- the team’s staggering inefficiency in the final third -- remains unresolved.

“Between the sync and the final third, we’re just that wee bit out,” said Nicol. “Whether it’s a bad decision or a bad pass or a bad run.”

By the second half, those questionable decisions became evident when the attack jammed itself in the middle without the creativity it needed to break into the box.

And while the Revs were contemplating solutions to jump start the offense, they neglected their responsibilities in the rear in the 69th minute

After the New England defense had smothered the Galaxy attack for better than an hour, a keen cross from David Beckham to Miguel Lopez suddenly put the Revs in a familiar position -- playing from a deficit going into the latter moments of the match.

“It’s hard to play from behind, especially for our team,” said Joseph. “Mentally, we have to stay with it for 90 minutes.”

Despite their lack of mental acuity for the full 90, the Revs were improbably afforded one final chance in stoppage time to atone for their earlier mistakes.

In the midst of a wild scramble inside the box during the 92nd minute, Zack Schilawski saw two quality shots come within inches of the equalizer, while Joseph nodded a last-ditch header destined for the back of the net before it was cleared off the line.

But, it shouldn’t have come to that. The Revs had their chances well before the waning seconds. And while another opportunity to get a result vanished into the Norfolk County night, the Revs cannot afford to see its chances -- both on the field and in the point column -- continually elude them.

“Tonight, we had three great chances, (but) we just didn’t quite get it done,” said Nicol. “And that kind of sums of a lot of the stuff we’re doing. Sometimes we look pretty good, but we just don’t get it done.”

Brian O'Connell is covering the Revolution for ESPNBoston.com. He is the co-founder of New England Soccer Today (www.nesoccertoday.com), which covers professional soccer within New England. He can be reached at BOConnell21@aol.com.

Joseph to play for Grenada in Gold Cup

May, 24, 2011
5/24/11
10:57
AM ET
The Revs announced that Shalrie Joseph will play for Grenada for the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Joseph will join the Grenada National Team following the Rev’s match against the LA Galaxy on May 28, and will miss at least two MLS matches -- at Dallas on June 4 and at New York on June 10.

Revs use early lead to beat United

March, 26, 2011
3/26/11
10:00
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- For the second time in as many games, the New England Revolution found an early lead. But unlike their last match against the Los Angeles Galaxy, it steered them to their first win of the season.

After Zack Schilawski and Shalrie Joseph scored the first two goals of the match in the 8th and 17th minutes respectively, it was clear to manager Steve Nicol that the two-goal lead led his squad to play with confidence and composure.

“It was huge,” said Nicol of the early cushion. “You start the game level and you want to get ahead and have the initiative.”

There was little doubt that the Revolution was ready to take the initiative in the opening minutes.

With Nicol utilizing the same 4-5-1 formation that secured a third minute goal last Sunday in Los Angeles, the club threatened often in the opening minutes with good passing and probing runs inside the attack third.

It didn’t take long to convert that attacking momentum into a goal. From a long ball deep in the midfield, Joseph dropped a perfect pass ahead to Schilawski, who’s initial shot was blocked by D.C. keeper Pat Onstad. But, Schilawski took a hold of the rebound banged it into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.

“I just tried to put a quick shot on goal as quick as possible,” said Schilawski. “Luckily, the ball popped back to me and I got a second chance at it.”

Joseph admitted that finding the lead so soon was instant validation of the club’s intentions going into the match.

“The first one was huge,” said Joseph. “We were trying to be aggressive and try to push the tempo early.”

Even after securing the opening goal, the team continued to push the attacking tempo as the game unfolded.

In the 17th minute, Revolution midfielder Pat Phelan broke into the box but was violently kicked down by D.C. defender Kurt Morsink. Referee Baldomero Toledo immediately pointed to the spot and moments later, Joseph put the penalty kick through for the two-goal cushion.

“It allowed us to settle down a little bit,” said Joseph of his goal. “It (also) allowed us to play a little bit better.”

Securing an early lead can sometimes become a double-edged sword. Naturally, a team holding the lead often plays with greater composure with the ball at their feet.

But, there are also times when a team allows a false sense of security to creep into their psyches. And it was something this team was well aware of in the locker room during halftime.

“At halftime, everyone was saying ‘Don’t relax too much’ because they’re going to come at us even harder (in the second half),” said Revolution defender Didier Domi. “It’s all mental.”

If keeping themselves mentally focused was the key to keeping the lead, it appeared that New England had lost some of their psychological edge by the 60th minute. With D.C. launching a string of ambitious attacks shortly after the hour, the Revolution had suddenly found themselves the hunted, rather than the hunter.

“It’s human nature,” said Nicol. “You’ve got something and you don’t want to lose it and sometimes you tend to back off.”

New England appeared to recover around the 70th minute by limited D.C.’s chances and resuming their early-match form. With Schilawski searching for another goal, it appeared that the home club was ready make it a three-goal game.

But, in the final moments, Toledo awarded a penalty kick to D.C. in the 89th minute, much to the dismay of many Revolution players. After the box was cleared, Charlie Davies cut the lead in half with a confident strike in stoppage time.

However, it was too little, too late for the guests. Minutes after Davies’ goal, Toledo blew the final whistle, as the Revolution’s early goals held to give them the victory.

“We’re so young and so eager to prove ourselves,” said Joseph. “Once we get that first one, it allows us to settle down and be confident.”

Brian O'Connell is covering the Revolution for ESPNBoston.com. He is the co-founder of New England Soccer Today (www.nesoccertoday.com), which covers professional soccer within New England. He can be reached at BOConnell21@aol.com

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