American striker Jozy Altidore will not take part in Sunday’s friendly against Trinidad and Tobago, partly due to an injury and a possible transfer of the Toronto FC star, US manager Gregg Berhalter said.
Berhalter, who spoke to reporters from Zoom before the game, said Altidore was training well and hard, but had suffered a very, very minor injury two weeks ago that doesn’t show up in the photos.
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He just came back from there, and he also had a full workout today, Berhalter said of Altidore. But with the transfer window approaching and tomorrow’s game, it’s a risk we didn’t want to take with Josie, so he won’t be there.
The American manager added that a number of clubs have shown interest in Altidore. Sources have confirmed the possibility that he is away from home, pointing out that the player’s relationship with TFC, and in particular GM Ali Curtis, has reached a breaking point and he no longer wants to play in Toronto.
Sources have told ESPN that the serious issue is the remaining years and money in Altidore’s contract. Altidore has signed a three-year contract, from 2019 to 2022. The source indicated that there is a non-exchange clause in the contract. According to the MLS Players’ Association, Altidore paid $6.33 million in guaranteed compensation in 2019, the most recent year for which data is available. A source told ESPN that an unnamed MX League club had expressed interest.
Altidore has already confronted Toronto’s leaders. Last year, he criticized an ankle injury to midfielder Michael Bradley, which eventually required surgery and sidelined him for several months. ESPN-TV analyst Herculez Gomez then indicated that Toronto was considering going to Altidore.
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Toronto FC did not respond to a request for comment on a possible transfer of Altidore.
Altidore has spent the last six seasons in Toronto, scoring 67 goals and providing 24 assists in 136 league and playoff games. During that time, he led the Reds to a triple-double at home in 2017, but has had to deal with injuries in two of the last three seasons.
Over the course of his career he has worked for the New York Red Bulls, Villarreal, Xerez, Hull City, Bursaspor, AZ Alkmaar and Sunderland. At international level Altidore made 115 appearances for the United States, in which he scored 42 goals.
Meanwhile, Berhalter continues to prepare the United States for Sunday’s game. As for his team, the American coach said that Miles Robinson of Atlanta United will play alongside Aaron Long of the New York Red Bulls in the center of the American defense. Matt Turner of the New England Revolution will be in goal for his first international.
Berhalter is also developing contingency plans in case the MLS thwarts those involved in the dispute over a new collective bargaining agreement. In the short term, consider an international window in March and Olympic qualifiers at the end of March.
In the first scenario, they would have to arrive early to training camp in preparation for the European Games in March, Berhalter said. The second scenario would be to take the European team as a whole. A trip to Europe is planned for March. We’ve already done it with COWID, and we can certainly adapt to it. My intention would be to bring in our strongest team, and that certainly includes players from the first division. But we’ll see.