It would appear that Shalrie Joseph has played his final match as a member of the Seattle Sounders. The 35-year-old midfielder was not in attendance when the Sounders officially opened training camp on Saturday and head coach Sigi Schmid did not suggest that would be changing in the future.
"I'm not sure what the ultimate resolution will be, but right now he's not in our plans for this season," Schmid told reporters after the morning session.
While it's possible the Sounders could trade Joseph, the more likely scenario is probably that they'll end up buying out the former Designated Player's contract. There's no official word, but I've previously estimated that he was likely due about $300,000 this year as that was about what he would have needed in order to justify his acceptance of a pay cut last year. His willingness to restructure was one of the key components to the Sounders being able to make room for Clint Dempsey on the roster.
Of course, Joseph will more likely be remembered for other things. Namely, his run out at forward in what turned out to be the Sounders' final match of 2013. Although Joseph was far from the biggest problem, he was hardly a standout performer, either, as the Sounders surrendered the first three goals and ultimately lost 3-2 to the Portland Timbers.
To remember him only as that player, though, is unfair. At his best, Joseph was among the best players in MLS history, making four Best XIs in his 11-year career. While he never flashed that kind of form with the Sounders, he proved himself a capable passer and a calming midfield force when he managed to stay healthy. Unfortunately, that was less common that he or the Sounders would have liked as he made just 10 appearances and six starts in the regular season.
The salary cap space the Sounders would create by cutting ties with Joseph would likely give them enough room to sign at least one impact player and possibly two. The Sounders' most obvious need at the moment is probably a true left midfielder, but they are also a bit thin at defensive midfielder behind starter Osvaldo Alonso.