Toronto FC says striker Jozy Altidore out 6 to 8 weeks with hamstring injury - InfoNews

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Toronto FC says striker Jozy Altidore out 6 to 8 weeks with hamstring injury

Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore (17) leaves the pitch after losing 3-0 to the Montreal Impact in Major League Soccer sudden death playoff game Thursday, October 29, 2015 in Montreal. Altidore will be out six to eight weeks with a hamstring injury.The U.S. international was hurt Saturday night taking a penalty in a 4-3 MLS loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
May 16, 2016 - 1:12 PM

TORONTO - A lot of people wanted Jozy Altidore to score Saturday night.

The burly U.S. international, his start to the season delayed by yet another hamstring injury, had yet to score for Toronto FC in 2016. His coach and teammates were quick to praise his work on the field, but he kept facing questions about when the goals would come.

So when Vancouver Whitecaps defender Tim Parker hauled him down to trigger a penalty kick, star striker Sebastian Giovinco gave the ball to Altidore rather than take it himself. The five-foot-four Italian wanted to get the big American going.

"All of us wanted that one to hit the back of the net," said Toronto coach Greg Vanney.

Instead Whitecaps 'keeper David Ousted saved the penalty and an injured Altidore, feeling his right leg, left the field.

An MRI revealed a Grade 2 hamstring pull (Grade 3 being the worst) with a preliminary diagnosis that Altidore will be out six to eight weeks.

Vanney sat down with a disappointed, frustrated Altidore after the game.

"And then I walked away and I thought man if this guy didn't have bad luck, he wouldn't have any luck," Vanney recalled. "It was my exact thought and I know exactly where I was walking where I thought it.

"And it's unfortunate ... He's played well."

Barring a medical miracle, the 26-year-old Altidore will miss the June 3-26 Copa America. Eight weeks means being out until July 9, which covers nine TFC games includes two Amway Canadian Championship matches. With the MLS taking a 10-day break during Copa America and the European Championship, Altidore would have missed fewer matches had he been healthy and away on national team duty.

The good news is surgery will not be needed for the designated player, whose salary last season was listed at US$4.75 million.

"It's time, it's rehab, it's strengthening. It's all those things," said Vanney.

There is also concern at a fourth hamstring issue dating back to the 2014 World Cup when Altidore went down clutching the back of his left leg in the Americans' opening game against Ghana.

Last season, he injured his hamstring playing at New England on May 16. He missed two matches then only played a total of 40 minutes in the next two. Altidore made the U.S. Gold Cup team that summer but was released before the knockout round after being substituted in two group games.

"He's just simply not in the shape right now to help us," U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann said at the time.

Altidore also injured his hamstring — the group of three muscles that run along the back of the thigh — in the 2011 Gold Cup.

A leaner Altidore showed up this season, having changed his diet and exercise regimen in a bid to prevent more hamstring problems. It didn't work as he tweaked his right hamstring in pre-season.

Vanney says the team is looking at everything, from diet and sleep patterns to stress.

"It's not been we're just treating the muscle and hoping that that's going to be the solution ... We've looked at every angle and approached every angle — different treatments and variations and different specialists' thoughts," he said.

Altidore, under the spotlight, has been subject to stress.

"Stress equals tension. Tensions means your muscles tighten up and you're at risk," said Vanney. "All these things are factors and they're connected ... So we have a lot of things to look out and try to figure."

The league's challenging travel schedule may be one reason. So is the nature of the sport.

"You've got to remember that they're big, powerful muscles that extend the hip and flex the knee, so they cross a couple of joints," said Jim Liston, TFC's director of sport science. "And they're what allow us to sprint really, really fast. They're acceleration muscles, they're shock-absorption muscles, they're decelerating muscles. Every time you kick the ball, hamstrings are decelerating.

"They're involved in what's beautiful and great physically with the sport of soccer and track and field, rugby, all the explosive sports require explosive hamstrings. They're at risk for sure."

Liston says hamstring are the No. 1 strain in MLS, ahead of groin, quad and calf.

Toronto could also lose Giovinco to Italy for the June 10-July 10 European Championship. The former Juventus player was not included in a preliminary roster announced Monday but could be part of an expanded squad announced next week.

Vanney said he may revert to the 4-3-3 formation he used at the start of the season, rather than the 4-4-2 or 4-3-1-2 he has used with Giovinco and Altidore.

Goal-scoring is a sensitive issue for Altidore, who scored two goals in 70 English Premier League matches for Sunderland and Hull City.

But prior to England, he had 51 goals in all competitions in two seasons with Dutch team AZ Alkmaar. He was the first U.S. international to score in Spain's La Liga (for Villarreal in 2008). And he has 34 goals in 93 appearances for the U.S. national team.

Altidore has 13 goals and two assists in 33 career games with Toronto.

There was better news on Canadian midfielder Jonathan Osorio, who had to be helped off Saturday with an ankle injury.

Vanney said he is feeling better but is still questionable for Wednesday's home game against New York City FC. The midweek game may also be too soon for midfielder Marky Delgado (hamstring).


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News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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