With Toronto FC's long-awaited rematch against Seattle Sounders FC at BMO Field now six days away, the availability of the striker who scored the goal to help them reach that point is not a sure thing, according to coach Greg Vanney.
“Until we get him on the field, running, sprinting, and changing directions, we [won't] know exactly where he's at,” Vanney said Saturday. “The MRI, the reports he's giving, how he's feeling, are positive. We'll progress how we need to and see where he's at as we get closer.
“We're confident that he will be ready."
“It looked like [Harrison] Afful slipped into Jozy as [he] was stepping back,” said Vanney the day after the match. “His toe was up and his ankle rolled at the same time. Some form of a roll, that's what I would define it as. I don't know to what degree. He seems to be doing OK.”
Anticipating a more dangerous Seattle side this time than the side that won the 2016 MLS Cup on penalties following a scoreless draw, Toronto know that having Altidore healthy is crucial.
“He was the difference [against Columbus]. He was the difference a lot of games this season,” said defender Eriq Zavaleta. “We need our big players to show up in big games. He did that with essentially one ankle. I don't know what it [would] take to [keep] him off the field next weekend, but I can't imagine a sprained ankle is going to.”
The awkward collision happened in the 49th minute, leaving Altidore on the ground. He tried to make it work after brief treatment on the far touch-line, but was down again minutes later, leaving Toronto down a man for an extended spell.
Eventually, Altidore got back to Toronto's bench, had his ankle taped and returned to the fray. Minutes later, after some sublime interplay between Sebastian Giovinco, Victor Vazquez, and Altidore himself, the American striker surged onto a Vazquez through-ball to finish past Zack Steffen and inside the far post.
After scoring in the 60th, Altidore made way for Armando Cooper eight minutes later, clearly unable to go on.
Should Toronto be concerned?
“There is no concern,” said defender Steven Beitashour. “He will play with a cast if he has to. He's playing.”