6:45 PM ET
Jeff CarlisleU.S. soccer correspondent
- Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC.
Forward Jozy Altidore and club side Toronto FC are in the final stages of a reconciliation that could result in the player being allowed to resume training with the full team as soon as Monday, sources have told ESPN.
At this stage, everything points towards Altidore – who has been forced by the club to train on his own for over a month – being available for selection for TFC’s next game on July 17 against Orlando City.
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Soroosh Abdi of Paradigm Sports, who serves as Altidore’s agent, would only issue a two word statement to ESPN: “Jozy’s back.”
Altidore is currently en route to Toronto from the team’s training base in South Florida and is expected to have one more conversation with Toronto management to make sure that all parties are on the same page.
Toronto FC president Bill Manning told ESPN: “We’re looking to resolve the situation [with Altidore], and I think we all want to move forward.”
Altidore was ordered by the club to train on his own following a verbal altercation with then-manager Chris Armas during a 1-0 defeat to Orlando City on May 22. Altidore was replaced in the 70th minute by Ayo Akinola, and sources tell ESPN that Altidore forcefully told Armas that both strikers should have been on the field together. Toronto responded by ordering Altidore to train on his own, though he was not officially suspended.
Armas was relieved of his duties last Sunday after a 1-8-2 start to the season, opening the door for Altidore’s return. On the day that Armas’ dismissal was announced, GM Ali Curtis said that he would be holding additional discussions with Altidore and to, “Stay tuned.”
Bringing Altidore back into the fold is the latest development in what has been a rollercoaster ride between the player and TFC. Back in January, with rumors swirling about a potential transfer involving the U.S. international forward, sources told ESPN that Altidore’s relationship with Curtis had reached a breaking point over his contract.
Back then, sources told ESPN that the years and money remaining on Altidore’s current deal was the main sticking point. Altidore signed a three-year extension in 2019 that runs through 2022. A source said the deal has a no-trade clause. According to the MLS Players’ Association, Altidore’s 2021 guaranteed compensation is $3.6 million, and is expected to be paid in full.
Given Altidore’s contract, a trade within MLS would be difficult to pull off unless Toronto picks up a significant portion of his salary. Earlier this year, a source told ESPN that one Liga MX side had been interested in acquiring Altidore.
Altidore has spent parts of the last seven seasons with Toronto, a period where he scored 67 goals and added 24 assists in 140 league and playoff appearances. In that time he led the Reds to a domestic Treble in 2017. During his career he has spent time with the New York Red Bulls, Villarreal, Xerez, Hull City, Bursaspor, AZ Alkmaar and Sunderland.
At international level, Altidore has made 115 appearances for the U.S., scoring 42 goals.