Miami (AFP) – Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore will not play Sunday for the United States against Trinidad & Tobago, US coach Gregg Berhalter said Saturday, as European transfer deadlines approach.
Berhalter said that Altidore had a minor muscle strain but also cited interest from multiple clubs and Monday transfer deadlines in Europe for benching the most experienced player in camp with 115 caps.
“With the transfer window looming and the game being tomorrow, it’s a chance we didn’t want to take with Jozy, so he will not be participating,” Berhalter said.
“We’ve gotten calls about a ton of players. Jozy is another focus of transfer speculation. I don’t think it’s my place to go into details of that. I think that’s a place for his club and for Jozy. But there have been a number of clubs interested in Jozy.”
Altidore downplayed the chances of his departing the Major League Soccer squad in a Twitter posting Saturday.
“Don’t believe everything you read,” he tweeted. “The devil is working overtime.”
Altidore, 31, has scored 58 goals in 123 MLS appearances for Toronto since joining the Canadian club in 2015.
Toronto FC has made three trips to the MLS Cup final, winning in 2017, and five playoff appearances in his six seasons, but was ousted in the first round in 2020.
MLS clubs and players are locked in a money dispute that jeopardizes the planned April start to the 2021 campaign, with the league threatening a lockout if no deal is struck by Thursday.