HARRISON, N.J. — New England captain Shalrie Joseph probably would have had a grin plastered on his face anyway as he returned home this week to play in Wednesday's MLS All-Star Game. But the New England Revolution's successful road swing through DC and Colorado made it just a little easier to crack a wide smile.
Joseph, a native of Grenada who spent his teenage years not far from Red Bull Arena in Brooklyn, N.Y., slotted home a 90th-minute penalty kick in Commerce City to give the Revs a 2-2 draw against the Rapids on Saturday and he said his side's recent revival provided the perfect prelude to his All-Star Game jaunt.
“It definitely put a smile on my face getting four points on that last road trip,” Joseph told MLSsoccer.com after the All-Stars went through their paces on Tuesday morning. “We needed it badly. Hopefully, we can make a run during the second part of the season.”
The second-half surge will have to wait until Joseph features in his eighth All-Star Game. Joseph called the chance to play in New York “unbelievable” and noted that he had to field several ticket requests from friends and family for the sold-out match at Red Bull Arena.
In addition to relishing a brief return to his home town, Joseph said he plans to revel in the opportunity to mingle with top-tier players from across the league.
“This doesn't get old,” Joseph said. “For me, it feels great. It's like the first one. I get to meet new players and talk to people about how the season is going. To me, it feels great because it shows what the team has been doing in the first part of the season.”
Although his club duties remain on his mind, Joseph will now train his focus on yet another meeting with Manchester United. Joseph lost to United with the Revolution earlier this month, but he believes this select group can pick up a result against the Premier League holders on Wednesday night.
“I think this group is very confident,” Joseph said. “The last few days, you can see in practice that we tried to move the ball well to get a feel for each other. We've got guys who have played at the top level, so that will be huge.”