The Audi 2016 MLS Playoffs may demand their undivided focus for the time being, but the US national team is never far from Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley's minds.


Following a 3-2 defeat in Montreal on Tuesday in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Championship series, Toronto FC's US national team stars took a moment to reflect on the coaching change that saw Jurgen Klinsmann dismissed as head coach and technical director and LA Galaxy boss Bruce Arena take charge in the wake of defeats against Mexico and Costa Rica.


“It's never easy when someone loses their position,” said Altidore at TFC's Kia Training Ground on Thursday afternoon. “We all thank Jurgen for his efforts, everything he's done, his attempt to move the program forward.”


Following a pair of disappointing losses in the opening fixtures of the Hex, the final round of CONCACAF qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati announced on Monday that Klinsmann had been relieved of his duties, opening the door for Arena's appointment on Tuesday.


“It's never a good thing when the coach gets fired; when we have to go through a night like we did in Costa Rica,” Bradley said following TFC defeat at Olympic Stadium. “The reality of sports is the coach is the one that takes the fall. As players, that's not a nice thing. We understand that we're the ones on the field, we have to look at ourselves in the mirror, be very honest, and say it's not been what it's needed to be in this stretch. As captain, nobody takes that harder than me.”


“Once a change is made, you have to turn the page quickly,” Bradley continued. “I'm very excited to work with Bruce again. He gave me my first opportunities with the national team. [We've] maintained a relationship from afar. I have a lot of respect for the career he's had and the way he has gone about making every team he's coached better. His record speaks for itself. I'm excited to work with him again.”


Added Altidore: “Now it's on us to turn it around as players. Bruce is going to come in and he can only control so much. [The players] have to make sure we're the protagonists; make sure we give everything for the shirt.”


Toronto FC are back in action on Wednesday, as the Impact travel to BMO Field with an aggregate lead for Leg 2 of the Eastern Conference Championship series (7 pm ET; FS1 in the US, TSN/RDS in Canada).