Jozy Altidore hasn't appeared in a match for Toronto FC since May 22, but that will soon change. In his first public comments since a reported argument with former head coach Chris Armas following that loss against Orlando City, in which the veteran US national team forward was substituted out in the 70th minute with his side chasing a goal.
After taking part in his first full team training session since the disagreement, Altidore confirmed reports his freeze-out was over and he'll be returning to the first team. He is available for selection on Saturday when Toronto face Orlando (again).
"Sometimes things go how they go," Altidore told media on Monday. "My commitment, wanting to win, that hasn't changed. It was tough being away from the team. This team comes first, always."
Toronto parted ways with Armas on July 4 after the club's 7-1 loss to D.C. United the day prior. GM Ali Curtis noted in the aftermath of that change that it was possible Altidore could return to the group. Altidore revealed that he got a phone call from club president Bill Manning recently after not hearing from anyone at the club for weeks.
“Things happen all the time," Altidore said after a long pause when asked if he felt he was treated fairly during his time away from the team. "… I don’t hold any grudges against everybody. I just want to focus on the positives.”
Altidore has made four appearances this season, including a pair of starts, this season. The 31-year-old has one goal in those four appearances. He's in his sixth season with Toronto FC and has scored 59 regular-season goals and another eight in the postseason, helping lead the Reds to the 2017 treble, capturing MLS Cup, the Supporters' Shield and the Canadian Championship.
Altidore is ready to resume play and, despite the club currently sitting bottom of the Eastern Conference, has a warning for the rest of the league.
"If there is anyone out there who is counting us out, they're making a big mistake," Altidore said. "We have a locker room of winners and champions."
The club won their first game under interim boss Javier Perez on Wednesday, beating the New England Revolution 3-2. They are 14th in the East with eight points after 12 games and are nine points below the playoff line. DPs Alejandro Pozuelo and Yeferson Soteldo are both working back to full fitness following injuries as they aim to have something resembling a first-choice XI after the Concacaf Gold Cup ends.
“It’ll probably take me a few weeks to get going, but it is what it is. I’m just excited to be back," Altidore said. "I’m excited to play again. Watching so much soccer but not being able to play is not easy.”
Toronto have spent the first portion of the season playing in Florida, but could reportedly be back at BMO Field soon, for the first time since September 1, 2020.