2) The Jozy Altidore factor
When TFC beat the Impact 1-0 on Friday night, Jozy Altidore was a noticeable absentee from the squad. The official reason for him sitting out was ‘personal reasons’, although it wasn’t difficult to read between the lines.
However, for those who oppose professional athletes using their position to voice concerns in society, don’t expect Altidore’s absence to have a negative impact on the Reds. Consider the words of Michael Bradley, as reported by Ari Liljenwall of Mlssoccer.com:
"“One thousand percent [I support him],” Bradley said. “And not just me. Every single person on our team, in our club, we support Jozy in every part of the decision that he made tonight.”"
Bradley’s words certainly carry some weight, especially when you consider he and Altidore have known each other for nearly two decades. Staying with the TFC captain, he was another prominent figure on Friday night as the only starter not to take a knee prior to the game.
Again though, this is not something that should be seen as detrimental to team unit, and not just because Bradley has previously criticised a certain president. As per Doug McIntyre of Yahoo Sports, the U.S. international said:
"“I wholeheartedly support Black Lives Matter. I have seen firsthand the emotion and just how difficult some of these days have been for our Black players. The way that they have led us, and the way that they have shown such courage and leadership in all of this, it’s been incredible to see.”"
Going back to Altidore, there is no denying his stance is admirable and entirely understandable. Interestingly though, you can make the argument that TFC will be fine without him, if he does not play again on Tuesday night.
Consider that the 30-year-old has yet to score in five games — including four starts — so far this season, with just a solitary assist on the stat sheet. At the same time however, the Reds will need him to return to his form of previous seasons if they are to remain in contention later on in the season.