Revolution make Joseph a priority
Shalrie Joseph has become the Revolution’s second designated player signing, the team announced yesterday.
Joseph, who has set standards as a defensive midfielder since joining the Revolution in 2003, led the team in scoring two of the last three seasons. Joseph tied the team record for regular-season appearances (243), set by Jay Heaps, who was named Revolution coach last month.
“It was a top priority to get Shalrie re-signed,’’ Revolution general manager Michael Burns said yesterday. “It started with ownership. He was out of a contract and it was going to take a DP contract to get the deal done.’’
In July, the Revolution signed Argentinian forward Milton Caraglio as a designated player. MLS team rosters can include three players with contracts valued at more than the maximum salary.
Burns and Heaps have been scouting in Central and South America.
“The last four or five days we’ve seen a bunch of games and we are going to be in discussions to try and get some of these guys signed,’’ Burns said. “It’s so early in the process that to talk about names and countries is premature. We are looking to sign players immediately. We’ve trimmed our roster and now we are in the process of trying to add to it.’’
The Revolution did not pick up options on Caraglio, Rajko Lekic, and Monsef Zerka, but could retain them with revised contracts. “We are in discussions with their representatives to bring them back but nothing has been finalized,’’ Burns said.
Adam Cristman thought he would be playing regularly for championships after joining the Revolution in 2007. Cristman performed as a substitute as the Revolution won the ’07 US Open Cup and ’08 SuperLiga, and was on the bench for the ’07 MLS Cup loss to Houston. But Cristman was traded to Kansas City for a draft choice and allocation money after the 2008 season and did not return to a title game until last month, when he was in the starting lineup as the Los Angeles Galaxy took a 1-0 win over Houston in the MLS Cup.
“This was a similar situation, because LA had been to the final and lost on PKs [in 2009],’’ Cristman said. “There were similarities in the team makeup - all the pieces were there for both [the Galaxy and Revolution]. The differences were only execution in the final game and having bounces go your way.
“The New England teams were amazing. It was more surprising they didn’t win with the teams they had.’’
The Galaxy’s designated players made the difference in the title game, Landon Donovan converting off a sequence involving David Beckham and Robbie Keane.
“I would argue New England had world-class players - Taylor Twellman, Shalrie Joseph, Steve Ralston, Jeff Larentowicz,’’ Cristman said during the Galaxy’s postseason Asian-Pacific tour last week. “Honestly, the only difference was there was almost like a pressure in New England - we keep losing in the finals, we can’t keep doing that, and we have to win one of these. In LA, it was like they had already won championships in the past and they knew - it was that subtle difference - we’re maybe going to win, but we don’t have to win.’’
Cristman scored 10 goals in 46 games for the Revolution despite foot fractures and a turf toe injury. Cristman played a total of 22 games in 2009 and ’10 for Kansas City and D.C. United, then started this season on the disabled list following knee surgery.
“Several times in the past two or three years I thought it was the end of the line,’’ Cristman said. “I have to thank Bruce [Arena] for giving me the chance to come back and believing in me and giving me the time to fully heal.
“When I was in New England, you get past the fact you are playing on [artificial] turf for all your home games. But knowing the difference playing on grass, the amount of wear and tear on turf is a lot greater and guys will tell you their knees and ankles hurt and there is a lot of joint stuff from the harder surface, and you get stiffer. If you do that over the course of a season it makes a difference.’’
Cristman has become accustomed to the Galaxy’s star power.
“When I came in for my first game in New England, they had Taylor Twellman and Shalrie Joseph and I thought they were high-profile guys,’’ Cristman said. “Playing with Beckham and Landon, they are pretty well-known worldwide, and there is a little more hype and a lot more attention to it. It makes you feel like you’re like all the teams around the world with the media attention, especially here in Asia, and when we play in Central America. I’ve never seen so many cameras and people swarming hotels and buses like here. These guys are icons worldwide. It’s a big hype and it feels like this is soccer on a global scale.’’
Cristman has started only 18 MLS games since leaving the Revolution, but he earned a starting role in the final last month after Chad Barrett sustained an injury.
“Every player works hard their whole career to win a championship,’’ Cristman said. “To be able to look back and say I played on two of arguably the best teams in the first 16 years of the league, I’m incredibly honored to have played with great players in New England and here.’’
Tops in his field
Jay Martin, a Hingham High and Springfield College graduate, became the men’s all-time winningest soccer coach in guiding Ohio Wesleyan to a 2-1 win over Calvin in the NCAA Division 3 title game Saturday. Martin is 608-115-49 since beginning his career with the Battling Bishops in 1977. Joe Bean had 607 victories at Bridgeport, Quinnipiac, and Wheaton (Ill.) from 1962-2006. The referee for the championship game in San Antonio was Boston’s Gus St. Silva, a former MLS referee.
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com.