Sports Altidore long on love for Toronto but short on why he fell out with TFC
Altidore long on love for Toronto but short on why he fell out with TFC
TORONTO — Jozy Altidore returned to the Toronto FC fold Monday, saying he was happy to be back after being exiled from the MLS club more than seven weeks ago. But the star striker, despite repeated questions, was short on details about what led to his prolonged falling-out with the team. He came closest when asked if reports he had wanted out of Toronto were accurate. "At the end of the day, nobody wants to be somewhere where they weren'tBut the star striker, despite repeated questions, was short on details about what led to his prolonged falling-out with the team. He came closest when asked if reports he had wanted out of Toronto were accurate.
TORONTO — Jozy Altidore returned to the Toronto FC fold Monday, saying he was happy to be back after being exiled from the MLS club more than seven weeks ago.
But the star striker, despite repeated questions, was short on details about what led to his prolonged falling-out with the team. He came closest when asked if reports he had wanted out of Toronto were accurate.
"At the end of the day, nobody wants to be somewhere where they weren't wanted," he said during a virtual media availability. "And I'm never going to be in a place if I'm in the way. I want to make sure quickly that doesn't happen.
Teenage substitute Ralph Priso scores first MLS goal as TFC ties the Red Bulls 1-1
TORONTO — It's slow progress and there's a long way to go but Toronto FC is digging its way out of the deep hole it dug itself this season. Thanks to a goal by teenage substitute Ralph Priso, TFC rallied to tie the New York Red Bulls 1-1 in MLS play Wednesday. Toronto (2-8-4) is now unbeaten in three games (1-0-2) under interim coach Javier Perez, who took over from the fired Chris Armas in the wake of a six-match losing streak (and seven-game winless run). In those three matches, Perez has already matched the points total Armas had in his 11 games in charges.
"Things change in football. Things change all the time. And I'm just so happy to be back in the team. I love Toronto. All of you know that. You know my family loves this city. And I just look forward to getting back on the field … and trying to turn this season around."
Asked if he had been treated fairly by the club, Altidore paused for some 13 seconds before answering.
"Things happen, man, all the time. And I think sometimes when you've been in a workplace a long time, it's important to remember you've been through a lot together," Altidore, in his seventh season at TFC, finally replied. "And so, for me, I don't hold any grudges against anybody. I don't believed in burning bridges. I don't believe in wishing bad on people.
"All I want to focus (on) now is the positive. I just want to focus on my teammates, focus on this amazing city. I just miss being a part of this group and representing this city for the last couple of months."
TFC, CF Montreal get green light to play at home
Toronto FC and CF Montreal have been given the green light to play at home this weekend, with a limited number of fans in the stands. Wednesday's update from Major League Soccer on Canadian home-market games only covers the next few weeks, with two TFC and one Montreal match affected. "During this temporary window, Vancouver Whitecaps FC will host their home matches on July 17 and July 20 at Rio Tinto Stadium (in Sandy, Utah) as conversations continue with the Canadian government regarding the three Canadian teamshosting future home matches in Canada," MLS said in a statement.
At 2-8-2, languishing in the league basement, Toronto could use the help.
Club president Bill Manning, who helped broker Altidore's return, said the team now has a chance to move forward.
"I think we're going to be a better team with him on the field," Manning said.
Altidore's future with the club has been up in the air since a confrontation with former coach Chris Armas after being substituted in the 70th minute of a 1-0 loss to Orlando City on May 22.
"The technical team was upset about it," Manning said of the incident. "And that's basically what caused the suspension."
The 31-year-old Altidore has been training on his own ever since. Until Monday.
Armas has since been fired, paying the price for a 1-8-2 start to the season. The club is now under the guidance of assistant coach Javier Perez, who oversaw last week's 3-2 win in New England.
Altidore said Manning reached out to him in late June, asking him to come back.
Toronto FC beats New England, rises from the ashes of heavy D.C. United defeat
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Yeferson Soteldo and Kemar Lawrence scored their first goals for Toronto FC, helping the slumping MLS side snap a six-game losing streak with a hard-fought 3-2 win over the New England Revolution on Wednesday. Tsubasa Endoh also scored for Toronto (2-8-2), recording his first goal of the season. Carles Gil and Adam Buksa replied for New England (7-3-3), with Buksa's 78th-minute header making for a tense finale as the Revs rallied from a 3-0 early deficit. New England piled on the pressure with a string of late corners but TFC hung on through six minutes of added time. Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono preserved the win with a 95th-minute stop.
"I was really appreciative of that, because I hadn't heard from anybody for a long time," he said. "I've been with Bill here a long time so I really appreciated him calling me and trying to work things out."
He also said Perez called him the day after he was put in charge, saying he wanted him back with the team. That was roughly a week after the Manning conversation.
Manning said his message to Altidore was "Let's rewrite the story. Let's move on. And let's put this behind us. And help us win."
Asked if Armas' July 4 departure helped heal the rift, Manning replied: "It certainly didn't hurt."
"And I don't want to make too much of that," he added. "But when we had our conversations, part of it was there had to be some kind of reconciliation. My role, one of the biggest things, is to try to make sure everything is in alignment, from the team on the field to the front office to the business staff to the stadium staff."
Altidore made no mention of general manager Ali Curtis during his nearly 14-minute availability.
Altidore returned to full training with the team Monday, TFC's first session at its north Toronto practice facility since returning last week from the U.S.
Toronto FC suffer disastrous 7-1 loss for sixth-straight defeat
WASHINGTON — Another disastrous result left Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley without words on Saturday. His club had just suffered its worst defeat of the season, a 7-1 drubbing at the hands of D.C. United that left TFC (1-8-2) at the bottom of the Major League Soccer standings. Bradley called it one of his worst days with the team. "After 90 minutes like that, there's nothing to say," said the 33-year-old midfielder. "When you play like that,His club had just suffered its worst defeat of the season, a 7-1 drubbing at the hands of D.C. United that left TFC (1-8-2) at the bottom of the Major League Soccer standings.
Manning said Perez called the training session with Altidore back "joyous."
"There's energy there," said Manning. "The big guy, when he's in a good place, we know what he can do."
With 75 goals in all competitions, Altidore is second on TFC's all-time scoring list, behind Italian star Sebastian Giovinco's 83. And with a salary of US$3.6 million, the U.S. international ranks sixth on the MLS pay scale this season.
But he has only appeared in four MLS games this season, with one goal in 189 minutes played. Altidore said he will probably take "a few weeks" to get game-ready.
He signed a three-year contract extension in February 2019 that will keep him in Toronto through the 2022 season.
Altidore has bumped heads with Toronto management in the past, complaining about medical treatment and support. But he has also often cited his love for the club, its fans and the city. And TFC players have said he is a caring, supportive teammate.
Thanks to loosened restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers, the MLS club flew north last Thursday,
An announcement on TFC's return to BMO Field is also expected soon. The club has not played at home since Sept. 1, 2020, finishing last season in East Hartford, Conn., and starting this year in Orlando — playing 31 straight games on the road.
Toronto's next scheduled game is a home matchup Saturday against Orlando.
"We're hoping to get confirmation that we can play there this weekend," said Manning.
Altidore, for one, believes normal service will soon resume at club.
"If there's anybody out there that's counting us out, they're making a big mistake," he said. "Because that locker room is a locker room of champions. It's a locker room of winners. We have a new guy in (Venezuelan winger) Yeferson Soteldo that's ready to set the world on fire. And we're motivated and as hungry as ever."
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 12, 2021.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Vancouver Whitecaps to join Toronto FC, CF Montreal in playing at home next month .
Major League Soccer says all three Canadian teams will host August matches in their home stadiums. Toronto FC has already held two matches at BMO Field this month with CF Montreal staging one at Saputo Stadium. The Vancouver Whitecaps have continued to play out of Sandy, Utah, because of scheduling conflicts at B.C. Place Stadium. The Whitecaps open August with three straight road games before hosting Los Angeles FC on Aug. 21 and Real Salt Lake on Aug. 29. The LAFC match comes 539 days after the last game at B.C. Place. "We are very, very excited to finally return home and play in front of our amazing supporters at B.C.