Altidore: It would take a miracle to be ready for MLS Cup

The Toronto FC star is not hopeful of returning from injury in time to take on the Seattle Sounders

Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore says it would take “a miracle” to be ready to play in this Sunday’s MLS Cup final against the Seattle Sounders.

Altidore has missed each of Toronto FC’s first three playoff wins with a quad strain as the Canadian side topped D.C. United, NYCFC and Atlanta United to reach the MLS Cup final for the third time in four seasons.

In each of those MLS Cup appearances, Altidore’s TFC have met the Sounders, who booked their own spot, and hosting duties, by taking down Supporters’ Shield winners LAFC in the Western Conference final.

Altidore has not played since coming off with the injury in the 70th minute of Toronto’s 1-0 win over Columbus on Oct. 6 and, while the U.S. men’s national team striker said he is feeling “better and better”, he’s not too hopeful of playing a role as his team looks to win a second MLS Cup in three seasons.

“It’s been a while. At this point, it’ll take a little bit of a miracle to be out there on Sunday,” Altidore told reports. “But that’s where I am. And I’ve just got to try to keep trying to get myself there.”

He added: “As simple as that. That’s where we’re at at this point. Like I said, I just keep trying to chip away, trying to get myself there.”

While Altidore says it would take some sort of divine intervention for him to be ready to join his Toronto FC teammates at CenturyLink Field, his manager, Greg Vanney, says that he does have some faith that the USMNT forward could be ready in time to contribute in the MLS Cup finale.

“I believe in miracles,” Vanney said. “Just keep working and put your head down and go for it and we’ll see. It’s a big game. It’s going to take a lot to keep anybody out of it.”

“We’ll see, but I’m optimistic that we can keep pushing him there.

“With each game, we have optimism — more as we get farther and farther down the road,” Vanney added. “But we knew the first few were going to be really challenging.

“This one, again as I’ve said the whole time, he’s not going to be 100 percent. The question is will he be far enough along and be functionally mobile enough to do the things that he has to do for however long as he has to do it. Those are really the questions.”

Altidore scored 11 goals and provided seven assists in 22 regular-season games this season as Toronto FC bounced back from a letdown 2018 campaign.

The injury will almost certainly rule Altidore out of USMNT duty as well, with Gregg Berhalter’s side set to take on Canada and Cuba in Nations League clashes in the days following MLS Cup.