With Joseph in Seattle camp, both parties hoping for deal
TUKWILA, Wash. — There was a surprise participant at Seattle Sounders training on Friday: Shalrie Joseph.
The midfielder is currently under contract with Chivas USA, but coach José Luis Sánchez Solá has made no secret of his desire to rid himself of a player who currently occupies a Designated Player spot.
With the writing clearly on the wall, Joseph was given permission by the club to seek other opportunities, and the Sounders were at the top of his wish list.
"It's been a couple frustrating weeks," Joseph told reporters after being a full participant in Friday's Seattle training. "I'm just glad to be playing with a group of guys that truly appreciate what I can bring to a team. For me, it's just getting back to what I love doing."
Although Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid was vague about efforts to acquire Joseph, MLSsoccer.com has confirmed that the league is aware the teams are in talks over the four-time MLS Best XI selection and that Joseph has permission to train with Seattle.
The veteran would seem to be a reasonably good fit on the Sounders, assuming the price is right. The 34-year-old has spent most of his career as a central midfielder, but started to transition to center back with Chivas USA last year. The Sounders have just two center backs with MLS experience on their roster and recently brought in EPL and Ligue 1 veteran defender Djimi Traoré on trial.
"He's a quality player, he's always been a quality player," Schmid said of Joseph. "He's been involved in good teams. I thought he was a main cog in those [New England Revolution] teams that got to MLS Cup for a lot of years. He's the kind of guy who talks a lot on the field and helps direct younger players. There's a lot of positive qualities to him."
Those qualities weren't in much demand at Chivas USA, where Joseph said it was apparent by the second day of preseason training that he wasn't wanted.
"With all the changes they were making, and all the coaches and staff, I realized it," Joseph said. "Speaking to the coach and seeing how he feels and knowing the direction the organization was going, I knew I wasn't going to be a part of it. Once I realized it, it was just a matter of figuring out where I wanted to finish my career. I think this is one of the greatest organizations and I wanted to be a part of it."
Even if the Sounders want Joseph as much as he says he wants to be here, there remain significant financial issues. While the Sounders have an open DP spot, Schmid said fitting Joseph under the salary cap would be a challenge.
If the various parties can work out an agreement, though, adding Joseph has the approval of at least one prominent Sounders player.
"If I was a coach, I'd take him," Sounders forward Eddie Johnson said. "He's a very good player, a very experienced player and someone I wouldn't mind having here."
Chivas USA did not immediately respond to MLSsoccer.com's request for comment.
WATCH: Joseph on why he came to Seattle