Toronto’s two biggest offensive threats, who have 28 goals between them, are unavailable for the team’s trip to California due to minor injuries. The news was confirmed at training today after both Giovinco and Altidore had been noticeably absent from practice earlier in the week.
Both players were removed before the full-time whistle against San Jose this past weekend. Risking them further would be foolish when that game’s 4-0 win means that Toronto has already locked up a playoff spot.
The club also has a busy week ahead, as they face Montreal on Wednesday - never a restful affair. They then travel to New England on Saturday, where they will be greeted by the infamously unforgiving turf of Gillette Stadium.
Those matches, against Eastern Conference opposition, are more important in the long run. Both clubs are on the playoff bubble, with results against Toronto crucial to the fate of their respective seasons.
The absences are unfortunate for the team’s rhythm: Toronto is undefeated in five matches and a big reason why is roster consistency. Altidore and Giovinco have also been in form of late, with each scoring four goals in the past five games.
But being without two players basically written in pen on the teamsheet means an opportunity for Toronto to give a run to some of its depth options. Tosaint Ricketts has seen very few minutes lately, and could be crucial come playoff time. Meanwhile, Jordan Hamilton has been playing well of late for Toronto FC II.
One or both are likely to be in the starting lineup on Saturday, depending upon what formation Greg Vanney decides to roll out.
The other good news for Toronto? They are hardly headed into the lion’s den. The Galaxy have only won twice at home all season, the lowest total in MLS.