US striker Jozy Altidore will not play in Sunday’s friendly against Trinidad & Tobago, partly due to an injury and a possible transfer of the star from Toronto FC, US manager Gregg Berhalter said.
Berhalter, who reached reporters on a Zoom call ahead of the game, said Altidore had trained hard and well but sustained an injury two weeks ago that was “very, very minor exposure” that scans did not show .
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“From then on he just worked his way back and was in full training today,” said Berhalter of Altidore. “But with the transfer window looming and the game is tomorrow, it’s a chance we didn’t want to take with Jozy, so he won’t take part.”
The US executive added that “a number of clubs” have shown interest in Altidore. Sources confirmed the possibility that he might be on the move, stressing the fact that the player’s relationship with TFC – and GM Ali Curtis in particular – had reached a breaking point and that he no longer wanted to play in Toronto.
Sources told ESPN that a significant sticking point is the years and money left on Altidore’s contract. Altidore signed a three-year extension in 2019 that runs until 2022. According to a source, the deal includes a no-trade clause. According to the MLS Players’ Association, Altidore’s salary paid him $ 6.33 million in guaranteed compensation for 2019, the last year for which data is available. A source told ESPN that an unspecified club in Liga MX had expressed an interest.
Altidore previously quarreled with Toronto management. Last year he criticized the club’s handling of an ankle injury against midfielder Michael Bradley, who eventually had to undergo surgery, and suspended him for several months. ESPN television analyst Herculez Gomez later reported that Toronto was “considering moving” for Altidore.
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Toronto FC didn’t respond to a request for comment on a possible Altidore transfer.
Altidore has spent the past six seasons with Toronto. During that time, he scored 67 goals and added 24 assists in 136 league and playoff games. During that time, he led the Reds to a domestic triple in 2017 but has struggled with injuries in two of the last three seasons.
During his career he spent time with the New York Red Bulls, Villarreal, Xerez, Hull City, Bursaspor, AZ Alkmaar and Sunderland. At the international level, Altidore has played 115 games for the United States, scoring 42 goals.
In the meantime, Berhalter continues to prepare the US for Sunday’s game. Regarding his line-up, the US manager said Atlanta United’s Miles Robinson will partner with New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long at the center of US defense. Matt Turner of the New England Revolution will start in gate which would give him his first cap.
Berhalter is also putting together contingency plans in the event MLS locks players out in a dispute over a new collective agreement. In the short term, the international window for March and the Olympic qualifying at the end of March must be taken into account.
“The first scenario would be to get them to camp early to prepare for the European Games in March,” said Berhalter. “The second scenario would be to take over a purely European team. We plan to travel to Europe in March. We have already done that because of COVID and we can certainly prepare for it. My intention would be to bring our strongest team. ” and that certainly includes major league soccer players. But we just have to see. “