TFC coach Greg Vanney confirmed Tuesday that Jozy Altidore will be unavailable for the match versus the Impact due to a lower-body injury, while fellow striker Sebastian Giovinco is questionable with a quad issue.
Both players sat out TFC’s road game against the LA Galaxy on the weekend, but they were hardly missed, as the Reds cruised to a 4-0 win.
Giovinco has 15 goals this season, while Altidore has 13.
“For us, we’re just taking our time with Jozy. … While things are progressing, we don’t feel like we have to push Jozy too fast. We’re taking our time and just trying to build him back to where he’s fully ready to go and he feels free again,” Vanney explained.
Giovinco is scheduled to have a scan on Tuesday afternoon. Whether the Italian will play against Montreal depends on the results of the scan, Vanney said.
“We’re in a position where we don’t have to rush anything. We don’t feel obligated to put him out in any scenario that isn’t safe for him. If the scan comes back in a very positive way, then he could play a factor [against Montreal]. It we see anything that says he needs a couple more days of anything like that, he won’t play,” Vanney stated.
Vanney didn’t rule out keeping Giovinco at home for Saturday’s road game against the New England Revolution if he doesn’t feature against the Impact.
“That’s a real possibility,” Vanney affirmed.
Victor Vazquez didn’t train on Tuesday due to a slight fever, but Vanney hinted that the Spanish playmaker should be available to play against Montreal.
“We feel good about where he’ll be,” Vanney offered.
Even if they’re missing both of their top strikers, the Reds would still have to be considered the favourite going into Wednesday’s contest.
Toronto (18-3-8, 62 points) has won six straight and is riding an 11-game unbeaten run (with seven wins). They’re also undefeated at home in 15 regular-season games (with 12 wins), a streak that dates back to last October.
While TFC looks a sure bet to finish the regular season in first place and have already clinched a post-season berth, the Impact are fighting for their playoff lives.
Montreal (10-12-6, 36 points) is seventh in the Eastern Conference, six points and one spot out of a playoff berth with six games remaining. The Impact are coming off a disappointing 3-2 loss at home to Minnesota United, and have lost their last three matches – this after winning four straight.
Another loss on Wednesday wouldn’t officially eliminate the Impact from playoff contention, but it would put a major dent in their post-season aspirations.
Despite the Impact’s poor form, Vanney believes they will pose a dangerous threat.
“They’ll come in fighting for their lives, so with all teams in that scenario they’re going play hard, [and] it’s going to be high intensity. … They’re going to fight for every ball and every inch on the field,” Vanney said.
Wednesday’s match at BMO Field is the second of three regular season meetings between TFC and the Impact. Toronto earned a 3-1 decision in Montreal on Aug. 27, and TFC also bested the Impact in the two-leg final of the Canadian Club Championship.
They’ll meet for the third and final time of the MLS campaign on Oct. 15 in Toronto during the penultimate week of the regular season.