TORONTO – Fireworks on the pitch, explosive comments off.
Altidore was coming off a match which saw him forced off in the 82nd-minute with what manager Greg Vanney called hamstring tightness following his assist on Jordan Hamilton's game-winner.
“We'll see, hopefully better,” said Altidore when asked how he was feeling. “This could have been avoided, but you'll have to ask Bill Manning [club president] why it's not. It's just disappointing, I'm just disappointed.
“We had a trainer here the last three years that has been helping me avoid muscle injuries, but because he was attached to Seba [Giovinco, transferred in January], he's not allowed in the club, which I think is ridiculous,” explained Altidore. “And so now, this is what I'm faced with.
“Hopefully he can put his ego aside and I can get the guy that has kept me healthy, kept Michael [Bradley] healthy, kept a bunch of guys healthy and we can move forward,” continued Altidore. “To run a club, you've got to put your ego aside and put the players first... hopefully, that will change.”
The trainer in question was Giuseppe Gueli, who was a regular face around the BMO Training Ground over recent years.
Altidore, who signed a contract extension through 2022 on February 28, said he has tried to get clarity on the situation, but he has not been able to speak to Manning in person on the topic. According to Sportsnet, team officials informed reporters that Manning had no immediate response to Altidore’s comments.
The hamstring issues for Altidore against Minnesota appeared to begin as early as five minutes into the match.
“I was trying to get through it,” Altidore said. “I've been having trouble all week. You give everything on the field, everything for the city, for your teammates, and because of a little misunderstanding, players have got to pay the price. I think that's ridiculous.”
Said team captain Michael Bradley: “Jozy is a guy who feels like, at this point in his career, he knows exactly what he needs, what he needs to do, day-in and day-out to keep himself healthy, fit, and ready to play at the highest level.
“A lot of us feel strongly that making sure the staff behind the scenes is in place and is right. In time, it will get taken care of,” continued Bradley. “After a game, there's emotion. Big three points, frustration to lose one of our best, most important players for a little bit. I understand his frustration, I'm with him.
“Greg [Vanney], Jim Liston [Director, Sports Science], Ali [Curtis, GM], Bill [Manning], they're all working hard to try to make sure that as players we have everything we need,” added Bradley. "I'm hopeful, behind the scenes, we can find the right solution for everyone.”