On the heels of disappointment in the Concacaf Champions League, Toronto FC is offering hope entering a new season in MLS.
The Reds have re-signed U.S. men's national team forward Jozy Altidore to a new contract through 2022–and are reportedly in the final stages of securing a Designated Player deal for Genk playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo–taking steps to fortify its attack on the eve of the 2019 campaign.
Altidore, whose 2018 campaign was cut short by an ankle injury, puts an end to the mystery surrounding his future by committing to Toronto for the long term. He was set to enter the last season of his deal with TFC and had hinted quite strongly at a move elsewhere, even expressing a desire to play in Mexico. He'll be staying in Canada, though, signing on for the next three years after scoring 60 goals and adding 20 assists in 114 matches across all competitions since 2015.
“This is my family, this club and this city,” the 29-year-old Altidore said in a statement. “The fans, from the first day, they accepted me, they gave me the right to show what I’m all about, and they took me in. We’ve built something great together and I’m really eager to see what’s to come.”
The re-signing of Altidore–and potential signing of Pozuelo–should help allay some fears among TFC faithful after the club sold Sebastian Giovinco to Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal following a contract dispute, though the pressure on both to perform will be immense. TFC followed its 2017 MLS Cup title by failing to make the playoffs in 2018, and it was bounced by CCL first-timer Independiente of Panama in embarrassing fashion in the round of 16 after making a run to the CCL final last spring.
“Jozy has been a big part of the organization and the new contract ensures that he will remain with the club for years to come. While it is important to make changes to your roster in different moments, continuity is also a critical component to successful organizations,” new Toronto general manager Ali Curtis said. “Jozy is an excellent player and he is capable of playing an enormous role in leading our club to success. On a professional level, I am looking forward to working with Jozy, but on personal level, I’m looking forward to getting to know him for the person that he has developed into.”