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Jozy Altidore yet to train but expected to play in MLS Cup final

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The striker came off with an ankle injury - after scoring on it - in the Eastern Conference final.

Columbus Crew SC v Toronto FC - Eastern Conference Finals - Leg 2 Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Jozy Altidore wasn’t too bad with an ankle injury, scoring the most important goal of Toronto FC’s season so far on one leg against the Columbus Crew on Wednesday night.

But the Reds are keeping the American out of training until he is ready to step up his preparation for Saturday’s MLS Cup final. He did not take part in the sessions on Saturday or Sunday, but Toronto say the signs so far are good and that they fully expect Altidore to be in the starting lineup when the Seattle Sounders visit BMO Field for a rematch of the 2016 championship game.

Altidore, for his part, told the media on Wednesday night that “it doesn’t matter how the ankle is”; he will be on the field.

“He’s doing well,” Greg Vanney told TSN on Saturday. “He’s getting his treatment.

“In the rehab process, I think he’s feeling okay. We’re not in a rush. We have still a number of days between now and when we really have to start our main preparation. But he’s doing a good job of doing what he needs to do.

“I think every day he’s feeling better and we’ll really start progressing him back into the picture next week.”

“We are confident he’ll be ready,” Vanney said at training on the same day. “Obviously, until we really get him on the field running and sprinting and changing direction, [we won't] know exactly where he’s at.

“But we know the MRI, the reports he’s giving and how he's feeling, are positive and we’ll progress how we need to progress. We’ll have everybody ready to go and we’ll see where he’s at as we get closer.”

Provided, as Vanney seemed to suggest of the MRI, there is no serious underlying damage to Altidore’s ankle, pain-killing injections should enable him to get through the final even if the problem area has not fully healed.

In the seemingly unlikely event the 28-year-old is unable to play or start, Vanney would have a decision to make.

He could either insert Tosaint Ricketts into the lineup or play with an extra midfielder - likely whichever one of Jonathan Osorio or Marky Delgado was not already starting.