FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Just as he’s done countless times, Shalrie Joseph will trot onto the Gillette Stadium field on Wednesday night wearing red, white and blue.
But instead of sporting the New England Revolution’s home colors – as he did for 10 years – this time Joseph will be representing the visitors as he returns to Foxborough for the first time since the Aug. 1 trade which sent him across the country to Chivas USA.
It’s sure to be a bizarre experience for Joseph, who came to call New England home during his decorated decade-long stint with the Revs, but it’s also a unique opportunity for the 34-year-old to perform in front of the loyal Revolution fans and against his former teammates.
“It’s going to be fun,” said Benny Feilhaber, who often played alongside Joseph in central midfield. “[Shalrie’s] a great guy, everybody loves him here, it’s great to have him back and I’m sure he’s going to have fun with it, too. When it gets going it’s going to be like any other game, but it’ll be good to see him again.”
While Joseph’s presence adds a significant subplot to Wednesday night’s encounter, the Revs are doing all they can to remain focused on the task at hand, which is presently to find a way out of their current slump. Emotions are sure to factor into the proceedings – particularly for those who were closest with Joseph – but any lingering sentiments will take a quick backseat once the whistle blows.
“First and foremost, we’ve got to treat it like any other game,” said right back Kevin Alston. “He was here for so long and he’s our friend so it might be weird at first, but you just have to treat it like another game. We’re still looking to get three points, but it’ll be an interesting feeling.”
For personal reasons, Wednesday night’s encounter will be important to Joseph, whose name is etched in stone into the Revolution’s record books. But it’s also a critical match for both his current and former clubs. Chivas USA has picked up just one point in its last three matches, while the Revs are eager to finally put an end to a frustrating eight-game winless run.
“Coming home, I’m sure he’s looking forward to it,” Alston said of Joseph. “I’m sure he’s excited and I’m sure he’ll be hyped for the game. But we will too.”