U.S. international Jozy Altidore is expected to make his 2019 MLS debut Sunday night when Toronto FC hosts the New England Revolution at BMO Field.
The 29-year-old Altidore, who has scored 45 goals in his four seasons with Toronto, is back training after having ankle surgery prior to the end of last season. The 2017 MLS Cup MVP sat out the Reds' season-opening 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union on March 2 that featured two goals by midfielder Michael Bradley, a fellow U.S. international.
Altidore recently signed a three-year contract extension with Toronto FC that takes him through the 2022 season. He will be counted on to provide even more scoring after star striker Sebastian Giovinco bolted for Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal FC during training camp. Toronto FC's key offseason signing, Spanish attacking midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo from KRC Genk in Belgium, won't report until after the end of the Belgium regular season this weekend.
New England, which opened the season with a 1-1 draw at FC Dallas, is looking to rebound from a 2-0 loss to Columbus Crew SC in its home opener last Saturday in Foxborough, Mass.
"It's disappointing, the home opener in front of our fans, kind of letting them down," Revolution forward Teal Bunbury told revolutionsoccer.net. "We can say it's a long season and we still have many games, but we have to start correcting some of those things that were kind of lingering from last year."
Bradley told the Sudbury (Ontario) Star of the Revolution, "It's two games (into the season), nobody's desperate, but I think in other ways we will see a (New England) team that is a little bit frustrated, a little bit angry and looking to really use that in a positive, aggressive way. So we have to understand what the game will mean for them given that the last result was not what they would have hoped for. We'll have to be ready in all ways."
New England finished eighth in the Eastern Conference last season with 41 points while Toronto FC was ninth with 36 points. The home team has won the last six meetings, with Toronto FC winning the most recent contest, 4-1, on Sept. 29, 2018, at BMO Field.
The Revolution, who have allowed a total of just 15 shots in their first two games, will once again be without Andrew Farrell, the team's 2018 defender of the year who sustained a ruptured retina after getting hit directly on the left eye by a ball during a freak training ground accident in February that will likely keep him out of action until April.
New England coach Brad Friedel said that midfielder Luis Alberto Caicedo (ankle) is "close" and that forward Juan Fernando Caicedo (muscular injury) is day-to-day.
--Field Level Media