Toronto FC: Will Jozy Altidore be fit for the MLS Cup final?

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 29: Jozy Alitodore
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 29: Jozy Alitodore /

Jozy Altidore scored the goal which secured a second successive MLS Cup final appearance for Toronto FC, but will he be healthy enough to take part?

If you were to ask media and fans alike who is the best player for Toronto FC, the answer is still probably Sebastian Giovinco. Heck, he’s probably still the best player in the entire league.

However, even the best need help in the world of team sports at the professional level. In that respect, there is no denying how important Jozy Altidore is to Giovinco’s, and by extension the team’s, success.

This importance was on display once again on Wednesday night, at BMO Field. With the game — and the tie — delicately poised at 0-0, Altidore worked his magic (along with Giovinco and Victor Vazquez) to break the deadlock and seal the win.

As a result, Toronto FC will now play in their second straight MLS Cup final. The question is, will their number one striker be a part of the quest to win the first championship in franchise history?

Altidore injured his ankle during a tussle with Columbus Crew defender Harrison Afful. After receiving some treatment, he tried to play on and then came off for more medical attention.

The 28-year-old discussed the injury after the game. As reported by Jeff Carlisle of ESPN , he said:

"“We taped it up, tried that out, but I just really couldn’t put any weight on it. So it kind of defeated the purpose of trying to stay on there. We’d be like a man down, so I just wanted to give the chance for whoever was coming on [for me] to get some runs in and be ready to help contribute.”"

Altidore toughed it out long enough to leave him impact on the game. He finally made way for Armando Cooper on 68 minutes.

The 2006 17th overall MLS SuperDraft pick received a lot of criticism early in his stint with TFC, regarding his inability to stay healthy. You imagine thoughts of more criticism spurred him on during Wednesday night, despite previously injuring the same ankle at the beginning of this year.

In that respect, it didn’t matter how much the ankle was hurting Altidore, he was going to grit it out as long as he could. Again reported by Carlisle, he said:

"“I felt it, I felt it the whole time actually, unfortunately. But these moments, this is what you live for.”"

Undoubtedly it as an admiral show of toughness by Altidore. In addition, it is probably why Toronto FC are now headed to a second successive MLS Cup final appearance.

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However, the irony is the US international could have sabotaged his own ambition to play in MLS’s showcase event, on Dec. 9. Will he be able to take part and if he does, how effective will he be?

Certainly, it would be a shame if Altidore is unable to participate. Spurred on by a fantastic postseason last year, he took his game to new heights in 2017, as he had his most consistent campaign yet in a Reds’ jersey.

For what it’s worth, while TFC fans will likely be fretting between now and the final, the Livingston, New Jersey native has no doubt he will be playing. As per Carlisle, he said:

"“I’m playing in the MLS Cup final. It doesn’t matter how or what the ankle is. You’re not taking that game from me.”"

With the determination and toughness Altidore has shown, who are we are to argue? Besides, who would want to be the one to try and stop him? (Just ask Sacha Kljestan.)

Next: Greg Vanney wins MLS Coach of the Year

Are you concerned at all about Altidore missing the final, or do you expect him to take part? Worst-case scenario, if he is unable to play, how confident are you in Toronto FC’s ability to win their first championship? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.