FOXBOROUGH — Shalrie Joseph has been a member of Chivas USA for less than a month. But Joseph, the ex-Revolution captain, already has enough clout around his new teammates to be a leader. Even when his current team is trailing his old one by three goals.
“Just believe. Just believe,” Joseph recalled telling his teammates. “We’ve been in holes like that. We were in a hole last week against Seattle.”
Actions can be even more effective than words.
Wednesday marked Joseph’s first game against his former employer since being traded to Chivas on Aug. 1. When things looked their bleakest, Joseph grabbed his teammates by the collars and throttled them out of their slumber.
Joseph triggered a three-goal rally by scoring his club’s first two goals. Early in the second half, Chivas completed the comeback to produce a 3-3 tie before 10,945 fans at Gillette Stadium.
“To be in the away locker room was something different,” Joseph said. “It’s the first time I’ve seen the away locker room in 10 years. It’s definitely different. But it’s not about me right now. It’s about the team trying to make a playoff run. Even though it feels good to get one point and score two goals, we definitely had opportunities and chances out there tonight.”
For the Revolution, the tie extended their winless streak to nine games, tying their longest in club history. It is the third time they have gone nine games without a win. New England hasn’t won since July 8 (2-0 vs. New York).
The Revolution stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the first 21 minutes. But by the 47th minute, when Miller Bolanos had tucked a ball behind goalkeeper Matt Reis, that lead was nothing but a memory.
“I don’t know exactly what to say when it comes to the tale of the way we started the game,” said Revolution coach Jay Heaps. “Just some textbook errors we made and the timing of it. I haven’t seen the film. But it was the timing of the goals. They have a set-piece goal, then two minutes before halftime, and two minutes after halftime. Those are just critical times of the game — times we stress, times we work on. It’s a disappointing result.”
The Revolution looked like they were in for a laugher. Chivas defender Rauwshan McKenzie headed a ball into Saer Sene’s wheelhouse for the Revolution’s first goal. Seven minutes later, after Kelyn Rowe had sent a cross toward Jerry Bengtson, McKenzie tapped the ball into his own net.
Even Joseph was at fault for a New England goal. The ex-Revolution captain bobbled away a ball that gave Sene a shooting lane. With goalkeeper Dan Kennedy leaning the wrong way, Sene booted in his second goal of the night and the Revolution’s third score in the 21st minute.
Two minutes after Sene’s goal, Joseph started the comeback. Joseph found an opening off a Bolanos corner kick. Before Reis (six saves) could punch the ball away, Joseph popped over his old teammates and headed in his first goal for his new club. Instead of celebrating, Joseph fished the ball out of the net and ran back up the field.
“Conjured up out of nothing,” Chivas coach Robin Fraser said of the goal.
During stoppage time in the first half, Joseph struck again. Juan Agudelo spotted Joseph cutting toward the middle and hit his teammate with an in-stride pass. Joseph, having gained a step on Ryan Guy, cranked a left-footed ball that sailed over a diving Reis to make it a 3-2 game.
“No. No,” Heaps answered when asked if he was surprised by Joseph’s performance. “Shalrie’s a gamer. I bet you he circled this one. Give credit to him. He put his team on his back. He did a nice job. He’s always going to be a Rev. It’s just a little bit of a time right now where he’s not. In terms of what he did tonight, I’ve never questioned the guy.”
After Bolanos’s tying goal, the down-and-out Revolution couldn’t create the chances that came in bunches during the first half. They had just one corner kick in the second half compared with 10 in the first half. They put only two shots on goal.
In the 65th minute, Sene hit the deck with an injury to his left leg. He limped off the field with assistance and was replaced by Benny Feilhaber. According to Heaps, Sene was undergoing tests after the game.
At the other end, Chivas had several chances to score the go-ahead goal. A pair of close-range attempts by Juan Pablo Angel and Agudelo forced Reis to make back-to-back saves. Chivas put five shots on goal in the second half.