It happened in the cruellest way imaginable. Jozy Altidore, who had been heavily criticised of late for his lack of goals in 2016, stepped up to take a penalty on Saturday against Vancouver hoping to finally get the monkey off his back. Instead, he felt pain in his hamstring in the run-up, and his penalty was saved by David Ousted.
News out of training today is that Altidore will now miss six to eight weeks with a hamstring injury. It is the same injury that he sustained in pre-season and forced him to miss the first few weeks of the season. Altidore also suffered a hamstring injury at the 2014 World Cup, but according to Kurt Larson of the Toronto Sun, that was his left hamstring. His current injury is to his right hamstring.
Altidore worked hard during the offseason to improve his fitness and shed weight in order to decrease the risk of injury. The results have not been promising, however, as his is just the latest in a string of injuries for the 26-year-old.
With this news comes the likelihood that he will not be joining the American team when they kick off their Copa America Centenario campaign on June 3. This will be the second major tournament for the United States that Altidore has missed the majority of due to injury.
The host United States are playing in the tournament's Group A alongside Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay. Toronto FC's Michael Bradley is still fully expected to captain the American side at the tournament.
So far this season, Altidore has no goals and a pair of assists in eight appearances, six of which were starts. Overall in his time with Toronto FC he has scored 13 goals and added 2 assists in 33 appearances.
The injury comes at a bad time for Toronto FC, as the club are looking to pick up at many points as possible from an all-important homestand following their home opener. This stretch of the season is incredibly important, especially considering the fact that Michael Bradley, and potential Sebastian Giovinco, could soon be gone on international duty.
Despite his lack of goals, Altidore had been playing well this season and was crucial to Toronto's attack setup. Without him, the team will likely have to turn to young Canadian Mo Babouli, and potentially Jordan Hamilton, who is currently away with Canada U-23.