TORONTO – Michael Bradley may not be there and Jozy Altidore definitely won't be, but when Toronto FC return to MLS action this weekend against the LA Galaxy, they will will gladly welcome back a healthy Sebastian Giovinco.
“Sebastian is good,” coach Greg Vanney said after training on Tuesday. “We were cautious with him [when he played 16 minutes against Montreal in the Canadian Championship], and he'll have 10 days since to have continued his progression. He's in training, as normal.”
Giovinco suffered an adductor strain against the New York Red Bulls on May 28, keeping him out of the first leg against the Impact.
His return to the starting lineup will benefit a side looking to end a four-game winless streak when MLS ramps back up on Saturday.
It also sets up an exciting encounter between the two Gios: Giovinco and the Galaxy's Giovani dos Santos.
Bradley, on international duty with the United States readying for Thursday's Copa América Centenario quarterfinal against Ecuador, will not be available if the US beat Ecuador and advance to the semifinals.
Altidore, meanwhile, will not be ready any time soon, according to Vanney, though the Toronto boss did sound optimistic about the forward's recovery from a hamstring injury suffered last month.
“Jozy is progressing,” Vanney said. “He's moving into faster-paced [drills], getting closer to full speed. He's not fully into training sessions, but he's looking good and taking the work in front of him.”
For Altidore and Vanney, this time away is not just about overcoming injury, but rebuilding foundations.
“Not just full recovery,” explained Vanney. “But to a position where he is solid, can get this behind him and move forward focused on being on the field, which is what everybody wants.”
Altidore limped off against the Vancouver Whitecaps on May 14, and days later it was announced he would be out for 6-8 weeks, ruling him out of Copa América.
This being his third hamstring injury in the past year, TFC have done a thorough analysis on Altidore.
“There's a number of contributing factors,” Vanney said of Altidore's hamstrings. “From fatigue to stress to imbalances between muscle strength in the quad versus the hamstring, all these little things become factors. There's no one thing. We look at all those, balance those out. Getting him back to where he wants to be and where we want him to be is an all-encompassing thing. We're taking that approach.”