FOXBOROUGH — Revolution coach Jay Heaps does not plan to appoint a captain in place of Shalrie Joseph, who was traded to Chivas USA Wednesday.
“Just the fact Shalrie was captain for so long, naming a captain is too far away right now,” Heaps said Friday. “We’ll name captains for the game, but for now I want everyone to be leaders in there, from young players to the senior players. Everyone has to be accountable and step forward where he led.”
Joseph was a driving force in the midfield for nine-plus seasons with the Revolution, and is among the most accomplished and versatile performers in MLS history. Joseph, 34, was the longest-serving player in Revolution history and totaled 282 playoff and regular-season games, surpassing Heaps on the list this season.
“It’s an emotional group in there,” Heaps said of the Revolution locker room. “I think that’s a good thing. We’re not exactly sure, myself included, how game days will be without Shalrie, how training will be without Shalrie. We’re looking forward, we’re moving forward. And one guy leaves, more players have to step up. We’ve had a really good week of training and we’ll be ready.”
The Revolution play host to Sporting Kansas City Saturday night in the second game of a doubleheader at Gillette Stadium. Italian Serie A power AC Milan will meet Olimpia of Honduras in the opener.
Heaps, Joseph, and Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis were in the starting lineup in MLS Cup finals losses from 2005-07.
“It was really personal, face to face, in person, and it wasn’t easy,” Heaps said of telling Joseph about the trade. “That’s all I’ll say. What was said is between us.
“I think it’s clear what he meant to the team. He’ll always be a legend. In professional sports, you always want that perfect ending, but, unfortunately, there aren’t so many of those. It isn’t easy.
“Shalrie will always be a Rev, he’ll be a part of this club forever.”
The Revolution acquired midfielder Blair Gavin, a second-round 2013 draft pick, and allocation money from Chivas USA.
“It’s a little surprise, a little shock,” Reis said. “But, you know, if you take the emotions out of things and look at us as a whole, we had an asset we thought we could move and get something for it. In the past, people have complained we don’t make any moves and the Revolution always sits around and does nothing. Well, this is what happens when you actually do something.
“It’s a sad day, but it’s a day that was going to come. It’s going to be the same when I’m leaving. It’s something, as a group we try to focus and come together and try to move forward and that’s all that we can do. As a group we have to be better.”
Clyde Simms captained the Revolution in a 2-1 loss at Philadelphia last Sunday, with Joseph entering the match in the second half.
“He’s a person that has the respect of everybody in this locker room,” Reis said of Joseph. “He’s very good at voicing his opinion and very good on the field, a great soccer player. And you’re not going to be able to replace that with anybody. So we have to be better.
“He has a bite, and you know, I think teams need that. That’s something we’re going to have to try and find other places. Not many can compare to him – he does the job of two players. You get so much out of a player like that that can help you both defensively and offensively. He’s pretty much the total package.”