MLS great Joseph has Sounders FC on his wish list
Shalrie Joseph, a seven-time MLS All-Star, surprisingly showed up at a Sounders FC practice Friday. Seattle is reportedly in trade talks with Joseph's current team, Chivas USA.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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TUKWILA — One of the most accomplished players in MLS, who is under contract with another team, just strolled into Sounders FC practice Friday morning.
It didn't take long, however, for Shalrie Joseph's unannounced presence in Seattle to receive leaguewide attention.
Such is the case for seven-time MLS All-Stars and four-time MLS Best XI honorees.
Joseph, 34, has been allowed by his team, Chivas USA, to explore options, and his first choice was with the Sounders. The two clubs are currently in trade talks, according to multiple reports, but coach Sigi Schmid declined to confirm that.
"He's still property of Chivas and we have permission to look at him, so we're looking at him a little bit," Schmid said.
Only five players in MLS history have been named to the Best XI more than Joseph, a Grenadian international. He played 10 seasons for the New England Revolution — a three-time MLS Cup finalist from 2005-07 — before being traded to Chivas USA last summer.
"He's a quality player," Schmid added. "He's always been a quality player. He's been involved on good teams. I thought he was a main cog in (the New England) teams that got to MLS Cup for a lot of years. ... There's a lot of positive qualities to him, but it's also we're a team that's (salary) cap-constrained and there are a lot of things to work out."
Joseph has been a designated player for Chivas USA and made more than $550,000 in guaranteed compensation last season. If the Los Angeles-based team wants to get rid of him — new coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola has already said that Joseph is not in his plans for 2013 — it will likely have to assume some of the salary owed.
"Hopefully they can make it work," said Joseph, who hasn't been shy about the frustrations of his uncertain future.
After practicing for the first time with the Sounders, he noted, "It feels good to train with some guys who actually appreciate what I can bring to a team."
And when did Joseph know the relationship had gone sour at Chivas USA, which he joined in August?
"I think Day 2, to be honest about it," he said. "Day 1, it was frustrating to be there and Day 2 I realized this might not be the place for me."
Joseph has scored three goals and recorded two assists against Seattle the past four years.
"If I was the coach, I'd take him," forward Eddie Johnson said with a smile.
Joseph, a sturdy 6 feet 3, has played most of his career as a defensive midfielder — not exactly a position of need for the Sounders, which boasts Osvaldo Alonso (himself a Best XI choice and two-time All-Star). Joseph can also play as a central defender, where Seattle could use help.
"I think this is a good place for me, especially at this point in my career," Joseph said. "I want to win a trophy, I want to get back to a championship, and this team — if I can be a part of it — I think they can make that jump."
• Johnson returned Friday from duty with the U.S. men's national team. The three other Sounders also active internationally — Brad Evans, Mario Martinez and Adam Johansson — are expected back Saturday.
• Supplemental draft pick Kevin Olali and invitees Guy Essame and Mason Trafford are no longer with the team. Brazilian defender Leo Lelis has joined the team for a tryout.
• Midfielder Servando Carrasco was out Friday with concussion symptoms stemming from Tuesday's preseason game against Portland. Defender Patrick Ianni, who suffered a slight foot fracture a couple weeks ago, is still using crutches and wearing a protective boot.
• Reign FC has signed defender Elli Reed, who has played for the Boston Breakers, German club FCR 2001 Duisburg, and the U.S. under-23 national team.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @joshuamayers