Two Toronto FC players have arrived in Denver, Colorado for the 2015 MLS all-star game, but they are not the two that were originally expected to attend. Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco are on their way to the league's annual festivities, as Michael Bradley, who was on the fan voted started eleven, has withdrawn due to a calf injury.
While there will be two Toronto players in Denver, only one will play in the match as Altidore is accompanying Giovinco as a replacement should the Italian be too injured to play.
Giovinco has been carrying a heel injury throughout the past couple of games, and aggravated it enough to be subbed off early in Toronto's 3-3 draw against the Columbus Crew on Saturday. Giovinco had a goal and an assist in that match.
Both Bradley and Giovinco have been called questionable for this weekend's matches, begging questions as to why the latter is travelling to Denver at all.
There may be extra pressure, however, as a slew of stars have already announced they will not be playing in the match, including Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. Chris Tierney, Obafemi Martins and Robbie Keane will also be joining Bradley on the sidelines.
Replacing these players are Waylon Francis and Ethan Finlay of the Columbus Crew, Dax McCarty of the New York Red Bulls, ex-TFCer Sam Cronin of the Colorado Rapids, and Juninho and Gyasi Zardes of the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The club has sent a member of the training staff with Giovinco to Denver and he will be evaluated before being cleared to play in the match.
The Italian has scored 13 goals so far this season and 10 assists, second in the league in both categories. So it is evidently in Toronto's best interest to not let him play should there be any concern as to whether or not minutes in this game could affect his play long-term.
Altidore, on the other hand, is just getting back in form after a calf injury of his own. He also scored in the club's game this weekend against Columbus, his first goal since June 24.
So far this season Altidore has seven goals, good for 20th in the league in scoring. He has only played 14 games however, and his goals per 90 minutes among players who have played 10 or more games is 9th in the league.
The game will be played tomorrow at 9:00 PM at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Tonight Toronto FC's Jay Chapman and the Major League Soccer homegrown team will take on Club American U-20 in the MLS Homegrown Game. That match will be available live on the Major League Soccer website.