In what is a transformative move for both clubs, Chivas USA picked up gritty playmaker and New England Revolution club captain Shalrie Joseph today for the as yet unrealised potential of young midfielder Blair Gavin, the Goats’ second-round selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft and allocation money.
“Shalrie Joseph … has been one the most consistent players in this League,” said Chivas USA’s General Manager Jose Domene. “He brings his experience and he will help us make that final push for the playoffs and hopefully MLS Cup.”
Joseph, 34, the heart and soul of the Revs over the last decade, is arguably one of the premier playmakers and the best two-way player in MLS period, a gritty midfielder who leads by example going forward, but also tracks back and doesn’t shirk defensive reponsibilities.
“Trading Shalrie was a not a decision we made easily,” Revs General Manager Michael Burns said in a statement. “Shalrie has been one of the faces of the club for a decade, but we had to take a hard look at our roster and decide where we needed to be as we look toward the future. Shalrie has accomplished so much as a member of the Revs, and we wish him nothing but best wishes as he moves on to the next stage in his career with Chivas USA.”
“With this trade, we gain a significant amount of roster flexibility and add a player in Blair Gavin who has great potential, an additional draft pick next year, plus allocation money – all of which provides us options to improve the team.”
Joseph, the highest paid player on the Revs’ squad, is set to make more than $554,000 this year, according to figures released by the MLS Players Union earlier this year. Gavin is due to make $80,000.
Gavin, a first round draft pick in 2010, made 43 appearances for Chivas USA, including 31 starts, scoring three goals and adding five assists. But he never really stamped his authority on a team that lacked bite in midfield and creative purpose moving forward and has had awful problems in front of the net, scoring just 14 times this season, the league’s lowest total.
That lack of scoring threatened Chivas USA’s chances of making the playoffs behind a rock-solid defense that has allowed just 22 goals, tied for the second lowest total in the league.
Joseph is expected to solve those problems and more.
It’s difficult to understate his contributions to the Revolution. From the club:
Joseph leaves the club as its all-time leader in appearances (261), starts (254), minutes played (22,867), penalty kick goals (12) and fouls suffered (421). He ranks second in shots (321), shots on goal (130) and game-winning assists (13), third in assists (34) and fourth in goals (37).
A finalist for the 2009 MLS MVP award, Joseph is a four-time MLS Best XI performer (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009) and an eight-time MLS All-Star. He helped the club make a league-record six straight appearances in the Eastern Conference championship match, and also started all three of the team’s most recent appearances in MLS Cup (2005, 2006, 2007).
“This was a very difficult decision for us to make,” Revs coach Jay Heaps said. “For as long as I can remember, Shalrie has been the Revolution’s anchor and one of the team’s leaders. Through the years, he helped set the tone every day, gave everything he had for the Revs and was consummate teammate. As his coach – and his friend – we’ll miss Shalrie on the field and in the locker room every day, but we have to look ahead and make decisions with the best interest of the club in mind.
Joseph didn’t sound happy about the trade, however:
1 of the saddest days of my life, I believed n trusted that I would retire a Rev. It’s a tough business but am looking forward to the future
— Shalrie Joseph(@ShalrieJoseph21) August 1, 2012
Joseph will have time to meet his new teammates before presumably being unveiled on national television.
Chivas USA has a week off from MLS action as the club prepares for the third and final SuperClsico of the season at 8 p.m. Aug. 12 on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.