Coach Greg Vanney didn’t come out and say it definitively, but he did drop a few hints that forwards Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore won’t see action in Saturday’s road game against the New England Revolution.
Giovinco (quad) and Altidore (hamstring) have both sat out the last two games after being subbed out of the Reds’ 4-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Sept. 9 at BMO Field.
The club has taken a cautious approach in not bringing back the forwards before they’re completely fit. With this in mind, and the fact that the Revolution play on artificial turf, it’s unlikely Giovinco will play in New England.
“He’s progressing. Obviously, we can take a little bit more time with a turf game this weekend, and [with] the tail end of the season coming up we’re going to be cautious there. He’s on a slightly different protocol that doesn’t necessarily involve Saturday. He’s got a little bit longer-term picture here,” Vanney told reporters after Thursday’s practice.
Vanney sounded more optimistic about Altidore, but reading between the lines, you have to think TFC’s coach won’t risk playing the American international on the turf at Gillette Stadium.
“Jozy is going through part of his prep for potentially being involved on Saturday,” Vanney told reporters.
Giovinco and Altidore have combined for 28 goals this season, but Toronto didn’t have any problem scoring in their last two games without the dynamic pair.
TFC earned a 4-0 road win over the LA Galaxy last weekend before suffering a shocking 5-3 home loss to the Montreal Impact on Wednesday night.
With 62 points and four games left in the regular season, the Reds can clinch first place in MLS with a win on Saturday and if New York City loses or draws at home to the Houston Dynamo. Finishing first comes with the benefit of winning the Supporters’ Shield trophy, and securing home-field advantage all the way through the playoffs, including in the MLS Cup final.
While TFC has already wrapped up a post-season berth, the Revs are fighting for their playoff lives. New England currently sits eighth in the Eastern Conference, two places and seven points out of a playoff spot. They’re coming off a pair of heavy losses, including a 7-0 defeat at the hands of Atlanta United FC. Just this week, they fired coach Jay Heaps.
New England, though, has been tough to beat at home this season. They’ve won 10 of 14 matches, including a 3-0 decision over Toronto on June 3.