TORONTO, Canada—Already looking ahead to
Wednesday’s match Thursday’s match against Montreal, it appears as though Toronto FC will still be without the services of Jozy Altidore and Jonathan Osorio.
Head coach Greg Vanney provided an update on the status of both players in his post-match media scrum following Monday’s disappointing 2-2 draw to D.C. United.
“Jonathan (Osorio) is kind of targeted for the third game to get ready,” said Vanney. “These first two games are so close together. He had a bit of a quad injury from a few weeks back. He’s on schedule and/or slightly exceeding schedule to get back. I think the Montreal game—as quickly as it’s coming around—is going to be a tough one, but we’ll see.
“And Jozy (Altidore), from the time when he was able to get back in, he’s only got about 10 training sessions under his belt, four of those were individual quarantined training sessions. So, we’re just trying to make sure we’re getting him ready to play without putting him out there and putting him in harm’s way.”
Both Osorio and Altidore missed out on the 23-player matchday roster
Altidore re-joined the team for full training on July 3 after reportedly seeking (and getting) permission from the club to stay in his home state of Florida and train. While he did arrive in Toronto on June 21, he was subject to a 14-day quarantine per the regulations of public health officials.
Thus, as Vanney mentions, Altidore hasn’t been able to go through the same steps that the rest of his teammates have gone through.
“While this event is important for us,” Vanney adds, “it’s the first part of this new season and we want to make (sure) Jozy (Altidore) is healthy and we don’t put him at risk. Part of that is just trying to get him as much high intensity work, some sprints and things like that. He hasn’t been able to do as much, coming back from being basically in isolation for so long.
“And so, we taking a progression. All the guys are on the same progression except for Jozy and now he’s getting close. We hope to have him ready for, if not for some minutes next game, for sure by the third game is a definitive target to have him ready to be a part of it on some level.”
Maybe this is a bit of mind-games from the TFC head coach ahead of their fixture vs. Thierry Henry’s Montreal, but prior to the start of the year, Vanney mentioned that the club would play it safe with Altidore, given his history of picking up knocks; load management was the word being thrown around at the time.
And while frustrating for TFC fans who understand what Altidore can do when on the pitch, that burden was sort of eased on Monday thanks to the stellar play of 20-year-old Ayo Akinola.
Akinola scored two goals, including a first-half screamer which (as I could imagine) woke most fans up playing in Jozy’s No. 9 role. If he’s fit, (he picked up a little bit of a knock towards the end of the match), expect the Homegrown talent to get the start up top once again.
With Osorio out in the midfield, and both Bradley and Marky Delgado playing the full 90 minutes Monday, we may also see Liam Fraser get his first start of the season. The 22 year old Canadian has only played a handful of minutes so far and has been itching for playing time.
Will Thursday finally be his chance?
Vanney also mentioned that defender Justin Morrow was subbed off at halftime vs. D.C. after “some Achilles tendinitis issues,” while centre-backs Omar Gonzalez and Chris Mavinga were forced to come off due to cramps, likely as a result of the hot Florida sun.
The status of those players are still up in the air.
Either way, the 401 derby is shaping up to be another dandy and it’s looking like the Reds will have to dig in and do it again without the services of—at least—two of their most trusted veterans.