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Sarachan: Bradley, Altidore, others should be part of next cycle

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United States men’s national team coach Dave Sarachan is hoping to stay on with the team once a permanent manager is appointed, and hopes he’s not the only holdover from the previous set-up.

Bruce Arena’s former assistant is unbeaten as interim boss following a 3-0 defeat of Bolivia on Monday, one achieved with a very young team and goals from Tim Weah, Walker Zimmerman, and Josh Sargent.

[ USMNT-BOLIVIA: Player ratings | 3 things ]

The Yanks added Bobby Wood, DeAndre Yedlin, and five others for the next week’s matches in Europe. And those familiar names likely won’t be the only ones once a new cycle of World Cup qualifying resumes for the USMNT.

Here’s Sarachan, speaking to Yahoo before Monday’s friendly.

“Guys like Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, and I could name a few others, will absolutely still be in the mix,” he says. “They’ve been unfairly criticized. Leaving them out for these games is not a reflection of [whether] I feel they’re going to be a part of the next cycle.”

While both Bradley and Altidore have taken a lot of grief for the USMNT’s failure to qualify for Russia, some deserved, there should be little question their experience and expertise is more than enough to keep them in the picture.

It’s simply a matter of whether they can accept the idea of not being automatic starters if Josh Sargent, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, and Tim Weah continue to track as top young players.

As for Sarachan, he’s done an admirable job in a trying position so far. The only minor qualms with his work involve some missed opportunities to cap some called-up young players late in previous friendlies, but he had no problems achieving that objective on Monday.

Given how the players have reacted to him, it’d be wise to keep Sarachan involved in some capacity. Heck, you never know when you’ll need an interim boss again (I know, I know…).

Jozy Altidore sidelined four to six weeks following foot surgery

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Toronto FC’s difficult start to the 2018 MLS season has come as a result of several factors, but injuries continue to be a resounding contributor for the defending league champions.

[ MORE: D.C. United in “serious talks” with Wayne Rooney ]

On Tuesday, the club announced that striker Jozy Altidore will be sidelined four to six weeks after undergoing foot surgery to remove bone fragments from the afflicted area.

Altidore has scored twice in his three league appearances for TFC this season, while also helping the Canadian side reach the CONCACAF Champions League final — where Greg Vanney’s side fell to Chivas Guadalajara.

The U.S. Men’s National Team striker is coming off of his best MLS season in 2017, where Altidore recorded 17 goals and six assists as Toronto FC went on to win MLS Cup.

Given the current timetable for Altidore’s return, the 28-year-old could miss all three of the USMNT’s upcoming international friendlies with the injury setback.

The U.S. will face Bolivia on May 28 in Chester, PA before taking on Ireland and France on June 2 and June 9, respectively.

Toronto seeks strong home effort against Chivas in CCL final

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In nine days, an unprecedented feat could appear in the record books for Toronto FC, however, the MLS side needs to start strong in its first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final.

TFC will host Chivas de Guadalajara on Tuesday night (8:15 p.m. ET) at BMO Field in Toronto, which provides the Canadian side the opportunity to build momentum before the two clubs meet in Mexico the following week.

For MLS sides, it’s long been a struggle when it comes to facing teams from Liga MX, particularly for clubs that have to travel to Mexico.

Manager Greg Vanney and his side will aim to construct a similar formula to their efforts against Club America in the CCL semifinals. TFC went up 3-1 in the first leg at BMO, before settling for a 1-1 draw at the Estadio Azteca in the return leg.

TFC’s starting roster has been fully rested after sitting out for the weekend’s 2-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids in MLS play, and that extended layoff for the regulars should benefit the squad as it prepares for Chivas.

Jozy Altidore is expected to play on Tuesday, despite suffering a foot injury early in the second leg against America, while Justin Morrow, Chris Mavinga and Gregory van der Wiel could all play massive roles on the back line for TFC.

Meanwhile, Chivas’ road to the CCL final has been an intriguing one.

The Mexican side took out Dominican club Cibao in the quarterfinals with ease, before needing a comeback performance against the injury-depleted Seattle Sounders in the following round.

The semifinals saw a hard-fought and largely defensive setup from Chivas, who edged the New York Red Bulls to reach the title match. With the Liga MX club facing the likes of Sebastian Giovinco and Altidore twice in eight days, it’s not unlikely that Chivas will align itself in a similar fashion against Toronto.

CCL: Toronto FC takes 3-1 lead over Club America

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The CONCACAF Champions League delivered on the day’s UEFA predecessors, with Toronto FC and Club America providing thrills and outstanding goals on Tuesday.

The semifinal first leg saw Toronto FC seize a two-goal advantage at a cold, sloppy BMO Field, boasting a 3-1 win ahead of the April 10 second leg at Estadio Azteca.

[ RECAPS: Juve-Real | Sevilla-Bayern ]

Sebastian Giovinco had a goal and an assist, Marky Delgado had two assists, while Jozy Altidore and Ashtone Morgan also scored for the hosts.

TFC went ahead early, with Sebastian Giovinco earning and converting a penalty kick in the ninth minute, but saw momentum halted by a mazy dribble from Andres Ibarguen. The diminutive Colombian winger took Michael Bradley twice before belting this shot past Alex Bono to make it 1-1 in the 21st minute.

Yet two of Toronto’s outstanding DPs teamed up to restore the Reds’ lead heading into halftime. Look at this ball from Giovinco to Altidore.

Being a Toronto playoff game, the event couldn’t be complete without tunnel drama. Plenty of arbiters were needed to separate several America and TFC players heading into the locker rooms a la Kljestan v. Altidore 2017.

The 58th minute saw TFC pick up what will feel like a comfort to many Canadians: a third goal. Ashtone Morgan burst into the 18 to reach a ball that was set to just miss Altidore.

Those who regularly criticize MLS will do well to witness this team goal.

Toronto FC 2-1 Tigres: Reds punch back

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Jonathan Osorio and Jozy Altidore scored second half goals as Toronto FC came back to top UANL Tigres 2-1 in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal at BMO Field on Wednesday.

Eduardo Vargas gave UANL Tigres a 1-0 lead, but the Liga MX side was behind the 8-ball the rest of the night.

The second leg is at 11 p.m. ET Tuesday at the Estadio Universitario.

[ MORE: USWNT wins SheBelieves Cup ]

Chances were at a premium in the first half, and the match deservedly went to halftime at nil-nil.

Tigres swapped Enner Valencia for Andre-Pierre Gignac at hafltime, giving the Reds a tactical challenge in adjusting to two very different strikers.

A moment after Jozy Altidore was stymied by Jose Francisco Torres, the big TFC striker was livid with the referee’s decision to not award him a 49th minute penalty.

Vargas beat Alex Bono in the 53rd minute, the Chilean scoring in yet another big spot.

TFC should’ve been level two minutes later, but Osorio opted for using the outside of his right foot over the natural path of Altidore’s cross to his left. The shot zipped over the goal.

Giovinco won a free kick dribbling through traffic in the 57th minute, but couldn’t get his shot to dip under the bar.

Altidore put the Reds ahead when Marky Delgado one-touched the big striker in on goal, and Altidore slid the ball home to make it 1-1.

Gignac then nearly beat Bono with a similar volley to Vargas’ goal, but the ball bounded wide of the far post.

The tide had swung in Toronto’s favor, and Giovinco won another free kick — perhaps with embellishment — near the chalk of the 18. The wall served its purpose.

Michael Bradley was at his very best in producing what could’ve easily been a go-ahead goal, swooping in front of a Tigres pass and then making a nifty 1v1 move before delivering a world-class cross that Altidore bungled on the six.

Osorio got the winner in the 89th minute, backheeling Giovinco’s cross into the Tigres goal.

Chris Mavinga made an outstanding challenge to stop Ismael Sosa late.

Here’s the winner: