Joseph: Surprising suspension leaves "hole in my chest"
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph heard from Revolution coach Jay Heaps earlier this week that the MLS Disciplinary Committee planned to review his tackle on Ricardo Villar from last Thursday's 1-0 defeat at FC Dallas.
After picking up a yellow card from referee Juan Guzman at the time of the incident, Joseph thought little would come of it.
He thought incorrectly.
Joseph will miss Saturday's match with D.C. United after the committee handed him a one-match ban and an undisclosed fine on Tuesday afternoon for a “reckless challenge that endangered the safety of his opponent,” according to a release issued by the league.
“I didn't even think twice about it,” Joseph told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday morning. “I didn't think anything would come of it. To come into practice yesterday and have Jay tell me about it, it was frustrating. I felt a hole in my chest. I'm not that kind of player. I don't try to hurt anybody or go after anybody. For them to suspend me is really frustrating.”
Joseph said he didn't understand why his tackle warranted further scrutiny. He admitted that he conceded possession with “a heavy, bad, terrible touch” inside his own half and lunged to win back the ball with his 62nd-minute challenge, but he insisted that his actions did not meet the standards required to incur a suspension even in light of MLS' commitment to crack down on dangerous tackles this season.
“It was late, but it wasn't anything from behind or intentional or malicious at all,” Joseph said. “It's a yellow card offense at best, which I got [during the game]. For them to go back, review it and give me a red card, it's just frustrating and disappointing for them to see that as a red card offense.”
Heaps called the decision “disappointing” and noted the potential impact of the right mid-foot sprain Villar suffered on the play on the final verdict. He also said he didn't relish the conversation he had to have with Joseph about the supplementary discipline meted out by the committee.
“It was difficult,” Heaps said. “Shalrie's a competitor. He wanted to play in this game more than most. That's why this one is tough. It's D.C., at home. Now that there are six point swings, it's tough to lose your captain for a game like this.”
Those complaints, however, will not alter the situation at hand. Joseph must cope with the circumstances and prepare to watch from the sidelines, while the Revs must find a way to replace their captain ahead of United's visit on Saturday afternoon (4 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“We took a couple of hours to deal with it,” Heaps said. “Now, you move on. You make the next step and you deal with it. And that's what we're doing. We're making sure that we're ready for Saturday and that we're going to have the best team on the field that we can.”
WATCH: Joseph tackles Villar from behind