TORONTO, Canada—It’s a topic that just won’t go away, and on Tuesday afternoon, Michael Bradley spoke to media where he was once again asked about the ongoing Jozy Altidore situation.
For context, Ali Curtis was asked about Altidore following the dismissal of Chris Armas on Sunday and the effect Armas’ departure had on the status of the Reds’ designated player, who has been exiled from the team following a rift with the club’s former head coach. Before we get to Bradley’s comments, here’s what Curtis had to say:
“We’ll have those conversations with Jozy. I mentioned, made a comment to another journalist a couple of days ago that I think that there were some more, increased conversations between Jozy and his representation over the last week. We’ll probably have a conversation with Jozy tonight, as well as I spoke with Javier about Jozy earlier today to figure out what the path moving forward looks like.
So, stay tuned in terms of what next week looks like. Of course, we’ve got the game on Wednesday, but then the game after that is on the 17th. And so I don’t want to say anything before first having a conversation with Jozy, but once we have those conversations with Jozy, I’ll be able to give you a better update of what that next game will look like.”
Now the TFC captain, to his credit, spoke candidly when asked about his good friend on Tuesday, but one interesting tidbit that really stood out to me was just how much Altidore has seemed to have been separated from the rest of the pack.
“It’s not my place to talk about that situation for a lot of different reasons—mainly because I’m in the dark as well,” said Bradley. “Yes, Jozy is a good friend, we’ve been teammates for a long time. In this last stretch, he has not been around. How different discussions have gone between him or his agent and the club, I genuinely have no information. I have not seen Jozy in a while, so I don’t know the direction that is headed.”
Bradley would go on to reiterate what his position and stance on the matter was last month, highlighting how he wants what is best for both Altidore and the club, whatever that may be.
“As I said, the last time we spoke regarding Jozy, you can’t overstate how important he has been for this club,” said Bradley. “He has come through the biggest days and biggest nights in this club’s history. What it all means going forward, I genuinely don’t know, and I’ll repeat what I said the last time which is I’ve shared some incredible moments both with TFC and the US National Team with Jozy, and I care an incredible amount for him, for his family, and I want the best for him, whatever that means.
“And at the exact same, I care an incredible amount for Toronto FC. I’ve had some of the few best moments for my career in this city, playing for this club, and when we go through a stretch as bad and as difficult as this last one, it hurts a lot. And I want nothing but success for the club and I want to be a big part of that. I want us to get things back going in a way that we’ve all grown to expect. Whatever the solution is for both sides, whatever the discussions have gone on, will continue to go on between Jozy and his agent, between Bill and Ali, and hopefully things can work out in a way that everybody is in a position to be successful going forward.”
Javier Perez, Toronto FC’s assistant coach who will be in charge on Wednesday when the team travels to Massachusetts to take on Eastern Conference leaders New England Revolution, was also asked about Altidore, and he implied that the Reds’ No. 17 will not be available on Wednesday.
“I know that this has been the topic that has been in the air for a long time,” said Perez. The only thing that I can say is that this has been handled internally. All I care about is our game on Wednesday, to fight for these three points that we have in play, and after that, we will figure out the situation. The management will make a decision.”
I’ll reiterate what I mentioned in my latest TFC Notebook, and I’ve been told that Altidore and Toronto FC are heading towards a reconciliation, however, nothing is official until we get confirmation from the team. With Bradley’s comments, specifically highlighting how Altidore has not been around, one has to wonder, how he will be welcomed back within the TFC dressing room if he does return?
I guess for now, let’s take it one step at a time. We’ll likely get a further update on Altidore’s status before the club’s next match after New England, on July 17 vs. Orlando City SC.