ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle has reported that Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore is training on his own after a dispute with head coach Chris Armas that stems from their 1-0 defeat against Orlando City SC last weekend.
Armas opted to substitute Altidore off in the 70th minute for promising young striker Ayo Akinola as TFC chased an equalizer, a decision that Carlisle reported the longtime US men’s national team forward took exception with.
The report was later confirmed by The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio, Sam Stejskal and Josh Kloke several others on Friday morning, creating a possible impasse ahead of Toronto’s Week 7 match on Saturday afternoon at the Columbus Crew (3 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).
Altidore has been with Toronto since 2015, playing an instrumental role in their 2017 side that won MLS Cup, the Supporters’ Shield and the Canadian Championship. He has 75 goals and 26 assists in 160 matches across all competitions with the Reds.
But the 31-year-old has also dealt with persistent muscle injuries in recent years, limiting his availability. Armas, still relatively new to the role after last leading the New York Red Bulls, has sought to keep their star striker healthy by managing minutes.
Altidore is one of three Designated Players in Toronto, with winger Yeferson Soteldo and midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo also holding that roster status. Ahead of the 2019 season, he signed a contract extension through the 2022 campaign.
Toronto have a 1W-3L-2D record in Armas’ early days and fell in the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals against Liga MX side Cruz Azul. Altidore has featured in four games (two starts), scoring in their 2-0 win over Columbus back on May 12.