TORONTO – Whenever a season ends prematurely there will be questions.
Even more so in the case of the defending MLS Cup champions, Toronto FC, who were eliminated from Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoff contention on Saturday night following a 2-1 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BMO Field.
Another was added to the pile post-match: Will Jozy Altidore be with TFC come 2019?
“It's not in my hands,” said Altidore. “I've tried to show every night I stepped on the field since 2015 when I arrived, to give everything I could, all the time. [I] tried to play for the fans, for my family, for everybody that has followed this club. I've done what I can.”
“If my future isn't here, it's been nothing but a pleasure,” continued Altidore. “I thank the fans for all the support through the years and all the best in the future.”
The 28-year-old striker, who has scored 45 goals in regular season 88 appearances for Toronto, is under contract for 2019, but rumors about his future have been a constant refrain. And with the disappointment of the early exit, speculation about changes at the club will be rife.
Having reached successive MLS Cups in 2016 and 2017, losing the first in a penalty shootout to Seattle Sounders FC and winning the second against those same opponents, part of a historic domestic treble-winning season, TFC capped off that period with a scintillating run to the final of the 2018 Concacaf Champions League, where penalties again went against them.
Back in league play, results have been harder to come by.
“I feel like it's a blip,” maintained Altidore. “Lightning stuck 40 million times.”
“I can't help but think that there is still something here. These things happen. Any organization that strives to do special things, you have a season like this that tests you,” continued Altidore. “We were tested a lot. It matters how we come back next year, how we all respond... if we're all around.”