TORONTO — The season is over for Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore, who is scheduled to undergo surgery to remove a bone fragment from his right ankle.
The U.S. international joins Victor Vazquez on the sidelines. The Spanish playmaker was shut down last week after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery as Toronto got a jump on preparing for next season.
With Toronto already eliminated from playoff contention, there is little at stake in Sunday's season finale at BMO Field against league-leading Atlanta United other than pride. With 69 points, Atlanta (21-6-6) has already tied the MLS record set by Toronto in its 2017 championship campaign.
But even if Toronto (9-18-6) denies Atlanta, the single-season points record could go to the New York Red Bulls (21-7-5). The Red Bulls enter the final weekend with 68 points ahead of Sunday's home game against lowly Orlando City (8-21-4).
Altidore underwent surgery on the same foot in May. He missed the next 16 league games, returning to action July 21 against Chicago.
The big man was missed. Toronto went 3-9-4 without him in the league and Sebastian Giovinco faced more attention with his burly strike partner missing in action.
There was more pain to come. Altidore left a Sept. 22 game against the New York Red Bulls early in the second half after injuring his ankle in a tackle. He returned the next week against New England but only lasted 18 minutes.
He played 32 minutes off the bench against Vancouver on Oct. 6, scoring from the penalty spot in a 2-1 loss but did not dress Sunday against Montreal.
Altidore, who has one year left on a contract that paid him US$5 million this season, turned heads after the Vancouver game by suggesting his time in Toronto may be over.
"It's not in my hands, man," he said when asked if his future lay elsewhere. "I think I've tried to show every night I've stepped on this field at BMO (Field) since 2015 when I arrived to give everything I could all the time. I've tried to play for the fans, for my family, for everybody who's followed this club from Day 1.
"I've done what I can at this point. If my future isn't here, then like I said before it's been nothing but a pleasure. And I want to thank all the fans for all the support throughout the years and all the best in the future and go from there."
Coach Greg Vanney subsequently downplayed those comments, saying he expected Altidore back next season.
In all Altidore played in just 13 league games this season, with seven goals and one assist in 877 minutes. He had 13 goals and three assists in 24 appearances in all competitions.
He missed two other league games via suspension.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press