TFC learned on Wednesday that Jozy Altidore, whose suspension for a red card shown after a fracas in the tunnel at halftime against the New York Red Bulls in Leg 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals was upheld by the Independent Review Panel, which consists of a representative each from the US Soccer Federation, Canadian Soccer Association and Professional Referees Organization.
“We got notice from the independent panel that Jozy's suspension was upheld, so he won't be available for this first match,” said Toronto head coach Greg Vanney. “Ultimately the referees had given him a red card, so the burden of proof was on us to unequivocally prove that what we understand to have happened, happened.”
“We weren't able to do that conclusively with the video because there are still little gaps in [it] that don't give enough information for us to prove [our case],” continued Vanney. “With that they have upheld the suspension, so he will be out.”
Toronto kicks off the Eastern Conference Championship next Tuesday, November 21, in Columbus against Crew SC. Sebastian Giovinco was already ruled out, having picked up yellow cards in each leg against New York, but there was some hope that Altidore's would be overturned upon review.
There were various stories as to what exactly happened in the tunnel at BMO Field. Both Altidore and Sacha Kljestan did not return after the break and it was later reveal each had been shown red cards for their roles.
“It went down as violent conduct,” explained Vanney. “It happened, according to the official, in one of the time periods and areas where the videos were not conclusive. The proof wasn't enough for them to overturn.”
Upon hearing the news, Vanney said that Altidore was, “frustrated with the whole process, but he's going about his business. We have to move on.”
There was no news as to whether the Red Bulls' appeal of Kljestan's involvement suffered a similar fate.
“I don't know,” said Vanney. “The only thing that matters is that Jozy won't be with us for the next game.