CARSON, Calif. – After a full week of training and anticipation, Shalrie Joseph finally debuted with Chivas USA.
His debut, though, fizzled out. Joseph had little impact his first time out with his new club as the veteran midfielder – like the rest of his teammates – spend 90 minutes chasing shadows in a 4-0 drubbing courtesy of the LA Galaxy.
“It’s not good enough, bottom line, what I did tonight,” Joseph said after Sunday's match. “We just have to be better next week. I have to work my tail off in practice this week and make sure everybody’s on the same page for Colorado.”
Coaches were not necessarily pinning their hopes on Joseph, but expect him to be an integral part of the club this year. It didn't happen at the start, but trying to judge Joseph’s performance in a match like Sunday’s is a difficult thing.
The veteran paired with Ben Zemanski in the middle of the field, a move that sent Nick LaBrocca wide. Fraser played with two forwards – Juan Pablo Ángel and Juan Agudelo – but not much went right.
HIGHLIGHTS: CHV 0, LA 4
“I’m sure on a day we play better, we get more out of Shalrie, we get more out of everyone,” Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser said. “Shalrie was part of a team that didn’t play very well tonight but that certainly doesn’t dictate how he played. I think the group didn’t play well and as the group doesn’t play well, no one really shines.”
Sunday was the first time Joseph had played with any of his new teammates, but the team worked to make the transition as smooth as possible. Still, trying to hit the ground running with Chivas, particularly in an ever-difficult SuperClasico matchup, was a challenge that was ultimately too much to overcome.
But the time to better is at hand.
“The more practice and the more games I get, the more comfortable I will get with my teammates,” Joseph said. “[This] week, we’ll be working on a little bit more strategic stuff and making sure we get everybody involved and just keep everybody’s heads high and making sure that everybody knows we have a lot of games left in the season.”
Joseph was not immune to one of the areas that plagued Chivas on Sunday – losing possession of the ball. That too will improve, he said.
“I know I’m comfortable and confident to know I’m not going to lose [the ball]. I did lose a couple but I’ll be better next game,” Joseph said. “Whoever is in the middle, whoever is up front, we’ll be better as a team next week for sure.”
Luis Bueno covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.