For the second straight week, the New England Revolution's injury report was void of Shalrie Joseph's name. The 36-year-old hasn't played a minute this year, but you have to admit that at least part of you is thinking that Joseph could be a contributor during the final stretch for the season.
Joseph is a league legend with a resume that includes four MLS Best XI selections, seven MLS All-Star nominations and candidacy for the 2009 MLS MVP title. In 283 appearances, he has contributed 40 goals and 35 assists. He has also made more than 20 appearances for the Grenada national team.
Joseph was drafted by the Revs in 2003 and regularly served as the team's midfield boss. The 6'3 player could also be deployed as a forward as was seen in 2009 when he offered a career high eight goals and eight assists. Joseph was one of the Revolution's most consistent players until his decline in 2012.
The Revs dealt Joseph to Chivas USA on August 1, 2012 in exchange for Blair Gavin, a second-round draft pick and allocation money. Joseph's biggest contribution after the trade came on August 29, 2012 when he scored two goals against his former team.
Joseph was again on the move once the 2012 season ended. The midfielder unexpectedly appeared at a Seattle Sounders preseason practice before being added to the team's official roster. Joseph was hardly used during the 2013 season, but did end up starting as a forward during the MLS playoffs. The results were disappointing and the Joseph was once again looking for employment during the offseason.
Joseph rejoined the Revolution on trial in Arizona but the audition was put on hold after he suffered an injury. He traveled back to New England with the team and was eventually granted a second stint with the Revs. Struggles with a left calf strain has prevented Joseph from seeing action this year.
Now fully healthy, Joseph could be a contributor somewhere on the field.
The most obvious role that Joseph can fulfill is that of a midfield general. With Andy Dorman still on the injury list and Scott Caldwell not being the destroyer type, Joseph could see minutes as a defensive midfielder. This is the position that he excelled at during his glory years and a return shouldn't be out of the question. Joseph could even play alongside Caldwell or Dorman if the coaching staff is unsure of his ability to cover sufficient ground.
Perhaps Joseph could be an effective holdup forward that fights for every ball and uses his height to win aerial duels. Joseph has never had a problem using his head to put the ball into the back of the net, which could be a valuable trait if the Revs are pushing for a goal late in the game.
Don't rule out the prospect of Joseph playing center back. The Revolution's defense hasn't looked great recently and the team might benefit from having Joseph, a former captain, providing instructions from the back. This wouldn't be a new experience for Joseph as he has played center back in the past.
There's no question that Joseph is closer to the end of his career than the beginning. In fact, it's debatable whether or not the Grenadian will ever see the field again. However, longtime Revolution fans can't be blamed for thinking that Joseph, an absolute club icon, has something left to offer.
Last year the Revs relied on Matt Reis during their playoff push with the netminder announcing his retirement after a series of stellar performances. Could Joseph, who was on the bench this past weekend, receive the same type of treatment before riding off into the sun? Only time will tell.