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Joseph’s heart in right place

He chose to stay with Revolution

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / June 15, 2011

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FOXBOROUGH — The stakes were not Biblical, but Shalrie Joseph had to make a Solomonic choice between patriotism and his professional career in remaining with the Revolution during the Gold Cup.

As it turned out, Joseph likely could not have saved Grenada from first-round Gold Cup elimination — the Spice Boyz were outscored, 15-1, in three defeats. Now, Joseph will try to lead the Revolution out of the MLS wilderness of a 16th-place overall standing going into home games against Toronto FC tonight and Chicago Saturday.

“I just wish the results went their way,’’ Joseph said. “It is definitely frustrating to watch it, but I definitely made the right decision staying here.

“It definitely leaves a sore spot watching it. This is my country, this is where I was born, so it didn’t feel good watching it. But they understand what I did, hopefully, to the point where this is what’s best for me and best for my career. The best decision I made is to play for Revolution.’’

The Revolution (3-7-4, 13 points) are 2 points ahead of last year’s pace, but a year ago they had their worst 14-game record since 2004. If they fail to produce during this homestand, it will be difficult for them to be considered playoff contenders.

“It is huge that we pick up 3 points [tonight],’’ said Joseph, the Revolution captain. “We’ve been in a funk the last couple of games. And, being at home, we expect to win, we want to win.

“We have to come out from the starting whistle and take the game to them and definitely try and get that first goal, which allows us to play our game.’’

The Revolution have converted only one first-half goal in 11 matches since April 2. But they showed encouraging signs of offensive effectiveness after switching to a 4-4-2 alignment during a second-half rally in a 2-1 loss to New York last week.

“It’s always good for the psyche when you’re making chances and pushing forward and putting the other team under pressure,’’ said coach Steve Nicol. “So we have to make sure we take that into [tonight]. And the only way we do that is right from the get-go we get after it and make sure we’re working hard. Once we do that, everything else will fall into place.’’

Zak Boggs’s 54th-minute half-volley against the Red Bulls was the Revolution’s first goal in the run of play since April 23.

“It is about just being positive, really, and realizing the good things we do and try to create more chances and encourage each other to be better, especially around the [penalty area],’’ Joseph said. “With this team, we’ve got a loose bunch, we’ve got a good bunch, even though we’ve got a lot of young guys on our team. We all encourage each other and try and make each other better.

Midfielder Benny Feilhaber returned to training this week after sustaining an ankle sprain in a 1-0 loss to Los Angeles May 29, the day before he was scheduled to join the US national team. “Fitness is going to be a problem when I come back, but that comes back pretty quickly,’’ Feilhaber said. “They said three weeks and I’ve been gone 2 1/2 weeks now, so maybe an extra week. I’m not setting a date, that just leads to more problems. I don’t want to push myself before it’s ready. Of course, I would like to be back and I feel like I’m close.’’ . . . Midfielder Ryan Guy, who last played for St. Patrick’s Athletic in Ireland, was scheduled to arrive yesterday but will not play tonight, Nicol said. “We’re hoping he’s going to push somebody out in the [starting] team,’’ Nicol said. “He plays on the right and he likes to get forward.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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